The Pope: Retiring the Papal Wardrobe

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Nobody dresses quite like the pope. For Benedict XVI retirement means giving up his public life and the regalia that goes with it. The pope’s resignation is unprecedented, raising the question of which symbols of the papal office are most significant.

While the Vatican has determined that he will keep his name and title, his ornate papal wardrobe must go.

Historically the pope has always worn a white robe and shoulder-length cape known as a “mozetta.” Many have also have noticed Benedict XVI’s ruby-red papal shoes.

As a symbol of his changing status, the pope will retire the mozetta and the red shoes. He will also give his ring to the College of Cardinals to be broken, according to the Catholic News Service (CNS).

The Pope’s ring, knows as the “ring of the fisherman,” is placed on the finger of a newly elected Pope. At his death the ring is returned and destroyed.

According to Reuters, Benedict XVI had “a fondness for reviving costumes unseen for generations.” During his eight years as pope his sense of style has earned him much media attention.

In his retirement, the Pope Benedict XVI will wear a simple white robe, brown shoes, and the ring he wore as a cardinal.

According to The Boston Pilot, [unprecidented]  : “Decisions about how the pope would be addressed and what he would wear were made in consultation with Pope Benedict and with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the chamberlain of the church.”

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