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The mozzetta is a symbol of power and authority. In their own dioceses, bishops wear mozzettas of violet watered silk or a plainer fabric with violet buttons and piping or black with violet buttons and piping for a less formal look. Cardinals, as Princes of the Church, may wear crimson mozzettas of watered silk everywhere. As a symbol of his worldwide sovereignty, the Pope wears his mozzetta wherever in the globe, generally with a richly embroidered scarlet stole over it.

What is a mozetta?

The mozzetta is a short, elbow-length formal vestment that conceals the shoulders and is buttoned over the chest region. Some Catholic Church clergy, including the Pope, cardinals, bishops, abbots, canons, and religious superiors, wear it over the rochet or cotta as part of choir dress. There used to be a little hood on the rear of the mozzetta of bishops and cardinals, but Pope Paul VI abolished it. However, the hood was kept in the mozzette of select canons and abbots and the Pope's, which was typically adorned in satin, silk, or velvet material.

The color of the mozzetta

The color of the mozzetta, which is exclusively worn over a cassock and sometimes other choral vestments, reflects the wearer's hierarchical standing. Cardinals wear a scarlet mozzetta, whereas bishops and others with similar authority wear an amaranth mozzetta. Abbots, basilica rectors, and certain canons dress in a black mozzetta with crimson piping and buttons. Priests who are rectors of parishes may also wear the black mozzetta.

The Pope's mozzettas

The Pope has five variants of the mozzetta:

  • The summer mozzetta, which is made of red satin.
  • The winter mozzetta, which is made of red velvet and styled with white velvet fur.
  • The red serge mozzetta, which is worn during Masses for the Deceased.
  • The red-clothed mozzetta, which is worn during the Lenten and Advent seasons.
  • The Paschal mozzetta, which is made of white damask silk and trimmed with white fur.

The Paschal mozzetta is exclusively worn during Easter week.

Mozzettas in religious settings

The Canons Regular of the Austrian Congregation wear a purple mozzetta; their confreres in the Congregation of St. Maurice wear a red mozzetta; and the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception, and the Lateran Canons use a black mozzetta.

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