PF has welcomed the fact that trainee Jesuits no longer wear a cassock when visiting their General or the Pope.
Presumably PF was actually wearing a cassock himself when he made these remarks!?!
I find it hard to understand how any human being can be pompous and so full of himself that he is unable to recognise such a comical paradox!
I am reminded of a Principal who liked to wear his MA gown when addressing the students, but disliked seeing his colleagues in gowns. He wanted the gown to be the signifier of his own unique uniqueness.
The papal white cassock, although it dates from before the twentieth century, became in that century much more of a central visible feature in the papal personality cult which, particularly since the election of Pius XII, grew so greatly and so unhealthily. S John Paul, when hiking through mountains, was always photographed doing so while wearing his cassock! As clergy of all ranks tended during this period to wear their cassock less and less, the papal cassock, naturally, stuck out more and more as a statement, an assertion of status, than it had done in the happy but far off days when even the simplest cleric wore one daily.
Don't get me the wrong way round. It's not the cassock, but the cult, that I see as so damaging to the Church. It is not the fact that PF dresses (at least partially) as befits his office that I object to, but that he discourages others from doing the same.