Shouldn’t the pope dress simply, like Jesus did?

Full Question

Why does the pope wear decorated robes and ornate headwear? If he is a Christian, he should be Christ-like. Jesus never dressed that way. He was very humble in his dress.


Jesus never wore a top hat and tuxedo. If you wear these things on formal occasions, does that mean that you are not acting in a Christ-like manner and that it would be appropriate to question your Christian commitment? Our Christian commitment is not demonstrated by wearing exactly the clothes that Jesus would have worn but by imitating his example of holiness.

In the pope’s case, he ordinarily wears a simple robe called a cassock and a cap called a zucchetto. For special occasions, such as when he celebrates Mass, he wears a formal robe called a chasuble and a headdress called a miter. These clothes signify his status as Christ’s vicar and honor the occasions on which he wears them, much as our clothing signifies our state in life and honors the occasions on which we wear them. If it is okay for ordinary Christians to wear clothing for such reasons, it is okay for the pope to do so.


  1. Noel David Reply

    It is not just the Pope but every cardinal, archbishop, bishop, priest, nun (and even the rich and famous Catholics/Christians) need to wear simple clothes on all occasions and live a simple life….. When millions of sheep (our fellow brothers and sisters – both believers and unbelievers live in utter poverty the world over) suffer from great want of all basic amenities – it does not behoove the leaders to go in for extravagance of any kind….. And even the places of worship (church as we call it – whereas the TRUE CHURCH is the one built of spirit, flesh, blood and bones of every Christian/Catholics – many of whom live in utter poverty…) and residence of the bishops, priests and nuns etc. etc. ought to be a simple abode with simple vehices for their conveyance etc. etc. WHOEVER (ruler, religious ruler, businessman, employer, celebrity etc. etc.) fills his/her belly fully and stashes up or piles up wealth excessively – when millions of citizens/devotees/customers/workers/viewers suffer from sickness and great want – can never ever be considered to be a just and kind-hearted person (leader) in any manner……

    1. Visuca Reply

      Who does the Pope and his cohort represent?… Have you read the dress requirements for High Priests in the Old Testament?…

  2. sarah cutter Reply

    So wat way are u dressing and living ur life that makes u think that u hav the right 2 critise the pope or anyone else 4 that matter jesus looks into the soul and not wat a person is wearing when he looks into urs will he find u wanting ? Remember his words judge not and u shall not b judjed

    1. Visuca Reply

      Nice, Sarah! Thank you.

    2. Rosemary k Carroll Reply

      Sarah, thank you. It is not what we wear it is our love of God and each other that matters.

  3. lovemyboys Reply

    I understand how easy it is to see the sin of others….I fall prey to this myself. However, if you are truly interested in humility, as all Christians are called to be, you should add a caveat that you, also, struggle to live as simply and humbly as Jesus. Perhaps you dress simply enough to feel that you are entitled to slap the hands of others who do not meet your standards, but beware the log in your own eye and the sin of pride. I also suggest re-reading the Bible passage regarding the woman who washed and then anointed Jesus with costly oil. Judas had a sharp rebuke for her lack of simplicity as well. Re-read Jesus’ words to Judas. We are all sinners and we all need to acknowledge that before we tell others how much they sin.

    1. Linda Reply

      lovely reply Lovemyboys..

  4. Visuca Reply

    Thank you for answering, and for all your reminders of what we all should be. If we go out today dressed as Jesus I think we would cause a bit of ‘a stare’: is Noel an attention seeker?

  5. Bette Reply

    Cassocks look pretty simple to me. Very plain and uncomplicated. Modest and the cassock fits all occasions other than liturgy. Cassocks go from breakfast to dinner to bed without thought of what will I wear next? Now that is simple.

  6. Rem Reply

    It is not just “OK” it’s necessary for the office holds. He is the Stuart of The Kingdom of God. We as Catholic should be reminded of our destination in EVERY way possible. We await to be a part of the Kingdom of Christ. A Catholic might have suffering s in life down here but look at papa n be reminded of the promise of our Lord.

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