Depending on their rank, Catholic clergy wear different traditional vestments. The pope, as supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church, is entitled to wear all of those vestments, as well as some others specific to his office.
This the pope's uniform during his normal day-to-day activities. His skullcap is called a zuchetto; only popes wear white zuchettos, while cardinals wear red, bishops wear purple and priests wear black. He wears a white mozetta (a short, hooded cape), a gold pectoral cross and red papal shoes.
When the pope attends a religious ceremony but is not the celebrant, he wears choir dress. This includes a red mozetta and a red-and-gold embroidered fascia, or stole, with fringes.
All popes since at least the thirteenth century have worn a gold Fisherman's Ring, in honor of St. Peter, the first pope and a fisherman by trade. The ring has a bas-relief of Peter, with the pope's Latin name. It is destroyed after each pope's death. It is customary to kneel and kiss the ring during a papal audience.
The pallium is a vestment unique to the pope. It is worn over liturgical dress. It is a woolen sash that makes a circle around the neck and hangs down in the front and back. It is embroidered with six black crosses, though a new version instituted by Pope Benedict XVI has red crosses.
The tailor to the popes since the late eighteenth century is Gammarelli in Rome. When a pope dies and conclave is in session to select the new pope, Gammarelli makes a set of papal vestments in various sizes, so whoever the new pope is, he will be able to wear them right away no matter his size.
Denise M. Covert is a registered nurse, writer and editor from Florida. She has been a journalist for more than 15 years and holds degrees in journalism, music and nursing. After working for daily newspapers for years, she now serves as a nurse on a cardiac floor at a major hospital.