Religion: Sober Life, Sober Vestments

The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church have traditionally dressed as befits their princely rank. A cardinal's minimum ceremonial wardrobe, including ermine-tipped cape and watered-silk robes in purple and scarlet, costs at least $3,000. Last week, on the heels of his appointment of 24 new cardinals (TIME, Dec. 8), Pope Pius XII ordered members of the Sacred College to scale down on the splendor. The world situation, said a papal decree, enjoins "a sober tenor of life upon all and a measured and austere one, particularly upon the clergy."

Although many cardinals inherit robes from their predecessors, the new official change will...

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