Pope Francis looking very Roman

Many have been noting how Pope Francis has emphasized from day one his role as the Bishop of ROME. Another storyline has focused on his preference for simpler vestments and regalia, and this has been seen as a break with tradition.

But the photo captured here, during his recent trip to Lampedusa, shows that Francis may be going for the most traditional Roman look of all -- that of an ancient Roman pontifex. When he pulls his pellegrina up over his head like that, presumably to block the sun, the classicist in me sees an ancient Roman priest (e.g., click gallery below for a photo of the Augusto di via Labicana statue).

Thanks to the BBC for a great photo.

Michael Peppard is associate professor of theology at Fordham University and on the staff of its Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. He is the author of The World's Oldest Church and The Son of God in the Roman World, and on Twitter @MichaelPeppard. He is a contributing editor to Commonweal.

Please email comments to letters@commonwealmagazine.org and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

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