|It's not the size, ladies. It's the view. Papal etiquette does not countenance decollete gowns in the Pope's presence.|
The Pope and Decollete Gowns
It is not generally known that Papal etiquette does not countenance decollete gowns in the Pope's presence. Moreover, his Holiness holds them in great abhorrence. This is rather awkward for those who are not aware that it is considered a breach of etiquette to appear at a Papal reception in ordinary Court dress.
For instance, a short-time since some American women who were visiting Rome wishing to attend one of his receptions made their appearance in ordinary Court dress, having availed themselves to the fullest extent of the decolletage. His Holiness was horrified when he noticed them, but at the time refrained from taking any personal notice. Nevertheless, he determined to take steps for its prevention in future.
A certain well-known Cardinal was instructed by him to inform the ladies, of their breach of etiquette. The Cardinal was a man of the world, and realized that the matter must be approached with the utmost tact and delicacy.
After due consideration he approached the ladies and addressing them said: "The Pope is old-fashioned and does not like decollete; but," he continued, waving his hand lightly in the air, "for me, I am quite accustomed to them, you know; I have been so much among savages that I do not mind them." — Chicago Times-Herald, 1900
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