Zucchetto colour for a Basilica Rector


My parish was just declared a Basilica. Basilica rectors can use red piping on their cassocks like monsignors – but what about their zucchetto? Are they also entitled to use red piping on it?

I was wondering because I’d like to give one as a present to the rector.


I’ve never heard of rectors being entitled to colored piping on their cassocks—could you show where you found that?

It is custom, however, that the rectors of basilicas wear a black mozzetta with red piping and buttons over their choir dress, but only in their own basilica. This is not often done, but it’s not unheard of.

All clergy who are not bishops wear black zucchetti. You sometimes find black zucchetti with red or purple stitching and stems for monsignori, but it isn’t specifically prescribed.


What I wrote was that Basilica Rectors can use it, not just rectors in general.


I understand that, and I meant the same thing. But I still am not aware of any provision which allows the rectors of minor basilicas to use cassocks with red or purple piping. Can you show me where you found that?


The reason I ask is because the only document that I know, which currently addresses the privileges given to the rectors of minor basilicas is De Titulo Basilicæ Minoris [Norms for Granting of the Title of Minor Basilica], which states:

  1. The rector of the basilica or the person in charge of it may wear in the exercise of his office — over the cassock or the religious habit and the surplice — a black mozetta [cape] with red piping, buttons, and button holes.

There is nothing mentioned in this document about the rectors of minor basilicas being granted the use of a cassock with colored piping.


Interestingly, this page asserts that a blogger witnessed a rector of a minor basilica with a scarlet-piped zuchetto, citing the same document; however, its identification or propriety as such is contested by a visitor to the blog. There is no proof in the blog post that it is normative. I am given to understand, however, that piping is not a matter of liceity but of custom or personal preference.


Were I a basilica rector, I might take my cue from Pope Francis and concern myself with things besides piping and colored buttons.


Interesting how there’s so often at least one sanctimonious and judgmental person who feels the need to post, eh?

There are those of us who also take our cues from Pope Benedict who loved liturgical customs too.

Also note that the whole point of this thread was not vanity but that I wanted to give a present to a priest – something Jesus praised when we do something nice for those working for God.


Given the ambiguity of the use of colored piping on the cassock, I would recommend sticking with a mozzetta. It might be cheaper to buy one stateside. You could try contacting R.J. Toomey’s (Worcester, MA: (508) 852-8985); Renzetti Magnarelli (Philadelphia, PA: (888) 439-0164); House of Hansen (Chicago, IL: (773) 736-5858).

You could also ask if there are any furnishings that are customary for a basilica (the umbraculum, the tintinnabulum, or the coats of arms place on the façade of the church) that are still unpaid for, and help defray those costs as a gift.


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