Monday, June 27, 2011

What a Pallium Looks Like

The most sacred of all vestments. Pope John Paul should have been buried in this. It does not belong in a museum. And Pope Benedict ought to still be using the original one he received from the hands of the pope in 1977.


  1. Blessed JPII probably had a few pallia and sets of pins over the years - i seem to recall he was vested in one on the bier for his obsequies and buried in one. The then Cardinal Ratzinger wasn't entitled to wear the pallium after leaving his diocese to become a curial official - and he's been through two designs as Pope and left one at the tomb of one his predecessors (the one who abdicated).
    Archbishops who are translated to another see don't wear the pallium in their new see until a new one has been granted by the Pontiff.
    Archbishop Nichols of Westminster - 2 metropolitan sees and two pallia so far - quipped that tradition states that his pallia would be placed as a pillow under his head in his coffin when the time came.

  2. I really don't think that you should be telling us what the Holy Father "ought" to do or wear. It is hardly your place.

    As for the pallium he received in 1977, that was specifically for the Metropolitan Archdiocese of which he was then Ordinary. The pallium belongs to an Archbishop as the occupant of a particular See - so if he is transferred to another Metropolitan see he must petition the Holy Father for a new pallium as the old can no longer be worn.

    I am pretty sure Pope John Paul II was buried in a pallium - after all, I bet he had more than. After 27 years of almost daily use it may have become a little worn.

    A little more understanding of such things may be appropriate before making such statements.

  3. When a bishop is named a metropolitan of more than one metropolitan church (as in the case of both popes you mention) he MUST receive and use a different pallium for his second metropolitan See. He should, however, be buried with all the pallia he used in life; the most recent one being worn and the other(s) placed under his head.

    In the case of Pope Benedict it is impossible for him to still wear the pallium he was given in 1977 by Pope Paul VI. That was for his office as metropolitan archbishop of München und Freising. He is not allowed to wear that one anymore because he no longer holds that office. When he became pope (and metropolitan archbishop of the Roman province) he received another pallium which he now wears. When he dies he will be buried wearing the papal pallium and with the München und Freising pallium under his head.

  4. I think it is okay that he wears the palium with red crosses. He doesn't have a tiara on his coat of arms so it's okay for him to have at least some liturgical thing to distinct him from other bishops.

  5. Mr. Sonnen, I agree that this pallium belongs with its owner. It's my
    understanding that even if a man were given several pallia over the
    course of his episcopal career, by custom all of them would be interred
    with him at his death. It does seem wrong that this one is put on
    display like a mere memento, when it should be with the man for
    whom it was made.

    However, I think that there is good reason that the present Holy
    Father doesn't use the pallium he received from Paul VI. It's my
    understanding that each pallia is particular to the archdiocese for
    which it is given, and that if a man is moved from one archdiocese
    to another, he is given a new pallium for his new jurisdiction. That
    is how it is possible for an Archbishop to have more than one over
    the course of his life. Giving a new pallium with a new archdiocese
    underscores the particularity of the vestment-- it is tied to its
    jurisdiction. (I also believe that an Archbishop may only wear his
    pallium inside the borders of his archdiocese-- only the Pope may
    wear his pallium everywhere, his jurisdiction being universal).

    So, since the Holy Father was given his first pallium in 1977 when
    he was made Archbishop of Munich, that particular pallium would
    be tied to that Archdiocese, and upon his election to the papacy,
    the new Pope would need a new pallium to indicate his new juris-

    When our present Pope is called to his reward (after many, many
    healthy years, please God), I hope that the old custom of interring
    all pallia is respected.

  6. The pallium of a deceased prelate, who wore it in life, is placed beneath his head as he lies in state - his jurisdiction having ceased. If he received additional pallia in his lifetime, these, also, are placed beneath his head. Only the Pope is buried wearing a pallium. It would be interesting to research if Popes are buried with their old pallia, from former metropolitan assignments, resting with them.

  7. A metropolitan archbishop receives a new pallium from the Holy Father each time he is assigned to a new metropolitan archdiocese, so Pope Benedict received one in 1977 when he became archbishop of München und Freising but it was only proper that he received a new one when he became the bishop of Rome, it being a new see.

  8. Our bishop was buried in his pallium.


  10. Since the Pope is the Supreme Legislator he can decide whatever he wants to do with his pallium. I wonder if the new creation of Msgr Guido Marini was placed in the niche of the pallia under the Papal altar at St. Peter's as tradition dictates. Obviously if the Holy Father wanted to replace the one he had received at his installation as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff with the new round version nobody could tell him not to!

  11. Actually, Benedict has another pallium which he recieved as Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, by virtue of his appointment as Dean of the Sacred College. I think John was referring to the design of the pallium, not the actual vestment Benedict recieved in 1977...

  12. It should also be noted that Pope Benedict has had three pallia. One as Metropolitan Archbishop of Munchen und Freising; another as Dean of the College of Cardinals (because John Paul II chose to confer one on him in that capacity and Benedict XVI likewise conferred one on Cardinal Sodano in that same office); and the other as Pope (of which, of course, there have been two designs).

  13. The pallium received by Cardinal Ratzinger in 1977 was received by him in his capacity as Archbishop of Munich.

    When an Archbishop leaves a Metropolitan See he stops using the pallium; and even when an Archbishop is transferred from one Metropolitan Archdiocese directly to another, even still he does not continue to wear the same pallium; instead, he petitions for a new one, and receives it either in Rome from the hands of the Pope or in his own Archdiocese from the hands of a representative of the Holy See.

    So, Ratzinger stopped using his Munich pallium when he resigned the government of that See in 1982; and even if, instead of being appointed CDF Prefect, he were simply transferred to a new See, he would need a new Pallium.

    Therefore, all Popes, even those who upon election were Metropolitan Archbishops (such as was the case with bl. John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II), receive a new pallium when they are Crowned or installed in the See of Rome.

    Also, the 1977 pallium was not the only pallium that was received by Ratzinger prior to his election as Pope. He also received a Pallium in 2003 after his appointment as Dean of the Sacred College.

    According to the Apostolic Letter Inter eximia of Pope Paul VI governing the use of the pallium in the Latin Church, the Pallium is also to be worn by the Dean of the College of Cardinals on one specific occasion only: when bestowing sacred orders upon the elected Roman Pontiff, in the event that the Pope elect is not yet a Bishop.

    Should the Dean not be in a postition to act as the Principal Consacrator, then the other Cardinal to whom the laws regulating the election of the Roman Pontiff comit the charge of ordaining the Pope elect would also have use of the Pallium (the vice-dean or the senior cardinal present according to the order of precedence of the Sacred College).

    Due to the fact that the laws of the Church prescribe the use of the pallium by the Dean at least in one situation, new Deans of the Sacred College also receive pallia after their appointment.

    After the confirmation of his election to that office in December 2002 and his concomitant appointment as Cardinal Bishop of Ostia (the title proper to the Dean), Cardinal Ratzinger received his pallium from Pope Jonh Paul II in the Redemptoris Mater chapel.

    After the election of Sodano as Dean, he received the Pallium from Benedict XVI as well. The Pope opted to hand the pallium to Sodano on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, 2005, and accordinly Sodano received his pallium together with a class of Metropolitan Archbishops.

    As for Pope John Paul II, he probably had more than one pallium during his long pontificate, and was surely buried using one, as the pictures show.

  14. Actually, I believe that when a metropolitan archbishop dies while in office, he is buried vested in his (current) pallium.

    When a metropolitan archbishop retires and that retirement is accepted, he cannot wear the pallium from that moment forward. Same if he's transferred; he cannot wear his pallium from the moment said transfer is announced. In both cases, once the change is announced, he is technically no longer the metropolitan-archbishop of said place, but strictly an administrator (and in some cases, completely retired and separated from the office).

  15. The Pope's don't need your advice.
    Don't quit your day job.

  16. Anonymous(1:01pm)
    Wow- pretty harsh. John can say whatever he pleases on HIS blog. So much for Christian charity. BTW John: Congratulations on your Wedding. Ad Multos Annos!
    Semper Fi!