I'm aware that black mozzettas are usually bestowed upon canon chapters. Most of them, however, will use at least ones with purple piping and buttons (some of them with crimson ones, or fully purple mozzettas like those of bishops). I wonder though - are fully black mozzettas used somewhere at all? Perhaps by some particularly modest canon chapter or some such? They're definitely sold from many places, so there must be some degree of demand for them.

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1 Answer 1


Fully black mozzettas?

What is the symbolism of the mozzetta?

Symbolism The mozzetta is a sign of authority. Priests ranked as monsignors who are also pastors may wear black cassocks with matching pellegrinae, not mozzettas, both trimmed with violet buttons and piping only in their own parishes, as having attained "a touch of the purple" pertaining to the episcopal rank. Bishops wear their mozzettas of violet watered silk or a plainer fabric, with violet buttons and piping or, with less formality, black with amaranth buttons and piping, in their own dioceses. Cardinals may wear scarlet mozzettas of watered silk anywhere in their roles as Princes of the Church. The pope also wears his mozzetta anywhere in the world, usually with a heavily embroidered red stole over it, as a sign of his universal sovereignty.


The color of the mozzetta, which is only worn over a cassock and sometimes other choral vestments, represents the hierarchical rank of the person wearing it. Cardinals wear a scarlet mozzetta, while bishops and those with equivalent jurisdiction (e.g., apostolic administrators, vicars apostolic, exarchs, prefects apostolic, territorial prelates, and territorial abbots, if not bishops) wear an amaranth mozzetta. Abbots, rectors of basilicas and some canons wear a black mozzetta with red piping and buttons. The black mozzetta may be worn by priests who are rectors of parishes. Some religious orders have a mozzetta as part of their religious habit: the Canons Regular of the Austrian Congregation wear a violet mozzetta; their confreres in the Congregation of St. Maurice wear a red mozzetta; the Congregation of Holy Cross, the Canons Regular of the Immaculate Conception and the Lateran Canons wear a black mozzetta.

Abbots May avail themselves of the privilege of wearing a mozzetta. Most abbots wear wear black habits.


Abbots in the place where they have jurisdiction wear a moz­ zetta, the color conforming to that of their religious habit. (Page 93)

I have been told that Anglican priests who convert and become Catholic priest may have the privilege of wearing a black mozzetta, but I am unable to locate a source to verify if that is in fact the case. Nevertheless, I believe this to be accurate.

The Catholic Encyclopedia on it’s article on the mozzetta states that a cardinal's mozzetta is generally red; the colour is rose on Gaudete and Laetare Sundays, and violet in penitential seasons and for mourning. I find this quite interesting!

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  • Thanks for the answer! Yes, it does seem cardinals switch to purple mozzettas while in mourning, I've seen a picture of that somewhere. Anyway, thanks for giving me examples of who can wear a fully black one!
    – spiffles
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 14:41

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