Expert Answer Forum
headgear of cardinals QUESTION from jozef hes December 22, 1999 why does the pope and why do the cardinals wear skullcaps ?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on December 27, 1999 Dear Doctor:
The pileolus (latin for Skull Cap) is worn by bishops (purple), cardinals (red), and the Pope (white).
In the old days, priests were tonsured. Tonsure is shaving a part of the hair on the head. It was a sign of their consecration and symbolizes Christ's crown of thorns. The shaved part is a round space of a half-crown at the crown of the head.
The skull cap evolved in the middle ages from a tight fitting cap with flaps that was worn to keep the ears and the shaved part of the head warm.
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