Clerical Clothing

I have some wired and silly questions to ask , so please forgive me because they are little silly. :

  1. What is Cappa Magna? Who uses these? Is it still in use ? Were the Popes before 2nd Vatican council wore it and in which colour ? Can a normal priest wear it ? What length?

2 . I was told that there were 2 types of Fascia : Tufted Fascia , Fringed Fascia before 2nd Vatican council. But now we see our priest , bishops , cardinals wearing Fringed Fascia.
Can someone tell what was the reason why they are not using the other type of Fascia ( Tufted Fascia). Can someone till use those ?

  1. Was there something like the Eastern Exorason so called outer cassock for priest and bishops in Western Chruch as I have seen many priests and Patriarch wearing it…

  2. What is Train Choir Cassock? Is it Cappa Magna mix in Cassock. For what purpose it was used and on which occasions it used to worn ? Why we dont see them anymore ?

The Cappa Magna is worn by the Bishop at a Traditional Pontifical High Mass. It represents the burden of worldly care with which the Bishop enters; he then casts it off with obvious symbolism before the Mass begins.

Here is a video from Washington national shrine ten years ago:

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Thanks for answering but I wanted to know that were the Popes used these before 2nd Vatican council and where those capes white or gold in colour…

To answer your questions:

  1. The Cappa Magna was a version of the modern cope which may be used by any priest or bishop. The cappa magna, however, has a jurisdictional requirement to it. Only a cardinal, ordinary (primary bishop of a diocese), or a special jurisdiction entrusted to an individual monsignor) may wear it within his own jurisdiction. As such, the Pope was able to wear one only within the Papal States. Usually, the cappa magna of the Popes were red velvet trimmed in white ermine fur. This designated not only his position as head of the Church (red) but also as the temporal ruler of the Papal States (before Pope Pius IX). The Cardinals would simply use the red version without the ermine to denote their fealty to the Pope. Normal priests are forbidden to wear the cappa magna because it designates an ordinary’s jurisdiction.
  2. The use of tufted fascia was abolished in 1969 with the instruction, Ut sine sollicite, by the Vatican Secretariate of State to standardize usage. Only canons were allowed to continue to use tufted fascia to denote their irregular status amongst the clergy.
  3. The Exorason is somewhat unique to Eastern clergy. The equivalent is generally the cope which is worn with the Western cassock. It is primarily just an outdoor element to a cassock to protect the clothing underneath and protect the wearer from the elements.
  4. The Train Choir Cassock was a form of cassock worn by those with the jurisdiction to wear the Cappa Magna. It was a way to denote jurisdiction in the same way as the Cappa Magna without adding the extra layers (and extra heat). It was worn under the surplice rather than over and could not be devested of before liturgy. Generally, we don’t see them anymore because the interior cassock was replaced by clerical blacks in many regions. Instead of donning a cassock and surplice, generally the priest puts on an amice and alb. This practice more closely resembles the vesting of the Early Church in which priests would put a dalmatia (alb-like garment worn by members of the Imperial court) to designate their official recognition by the Emperor before donning a chasuble-like outter vestment to celebrate mass.

Thanks for answering

Hi, 3335!

  1. A Cappa Magna is a ceremonial cloak worn by cardinals, bishops, and other dignitaries. Yes, it is still in use and Pope Pius XII wore it. I don’t think that a priest can wear it unless they are a bishop, cardinal, or pope. The length of the train varies, it could be 9-20 feet long or more.

His Holiness, Pope Pius XII wearing the Cappa Magna

  1. The Tufted Fascia was still in use, but most of the time, it is used by cardinals, bishops, and popes during a ceremony. We can rarely see this kind of fascia outside Vatican City, though they are usually used with a traditional surplice.

  1. Those are cassocks too but I observed that Eastern cassock was wider; Western cassock was narrow.

  2. It was used for ceremonies but the train, longer than 9 feet was banned in the early '50s by Pope Pius XII. Trains longer than 9 feet, let’s say 12 feet was only to be allowed to be worn again during the Pontificate of Pope John XXIII. One of the notable modern wearers of that long train is Cardinal Burke. We can see him wearing traditional attires most of the time.

In the end, it seems traditional and can be unideal for modern bishops because of its length and weight but it’s still a part of our Church’s tradition that we can be proud of.

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