Palliumania, Part 1

palliaToday’s feast of Peter and Paul is a big thing in Rome. And for the world’s newest archbishops. There’s a change in procedure on the docket for this year. The pallium, that woolen badge of an archbishop’s office, was blessed in Rome today. The conferral of it will be conducted in the home diocese of the archbishop. A good explanation is here.

It is the responsibility of the Nuncio to determine with the Metropolitan Archbishops the most opportune date, circumstances and manner to publicly and officially invest him with the pallium by mandate of the Holy Father, and with the participation of the Suffragan Bishops of that particular Province (ecclesiastically geographic area).

The pallium ceremony will continue to symbolize communion between the See of Peter and the Successor of the Apostle and those who are chosen to carry out the episcopal ministry as Metropolitan Archbishop of an Ecclesiastical Province, and it will encourage the participation of the local Church in an important moment of its life and history.

Seems like a good development to me. What do you think would be the best way to carry that out in the archdiocese? Is the Eucharist a given? Evening Prayer? Some special feast of the archdiocese, perhaps its patron? Any readers hear of any plans for part two in your archdiocese?


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Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to Palliumania, Part 1

  1. David Annable says:

    The Ceremonial of Bishops does have rubrics for the bestowal of the pallium. In the case of an Archbishop was has already been ordained, it suggests that the bestowal be part of his taking possession of the cathedral.

    In that scenario the Pallium is bestowed as part of the opening rites of mass. The pallium is carried in the opening procession by a deacon, then the Apostolic Mandate is read, the new archbishop makes the Profession of Faith and oath and then the presiding bishop (I would assume typically the nuncio) would invest the new Archbishop was his pallium. The investment is accompanied by a prayer (given in the Ceremonial of Bishops, paragraph 1154). Mass then continues with the penitential rite being omitted and the new Archbishop is directed to begin the Gloria. The mass continues in “the usual way.”

    Although not clearly mentioned in the section on the imposition of the Pallium, I assume the new Archbishop would still recieve the greetings from the diocese an clergy and faithful (modern form of old act of obedience). It seems like that would follow the imposition of the Pallium but be before the Gloria.

    I, personally, like the arrangement of bestowing the pallium at the time the archbishop takes possession of the cathedral, but it seems like from what I have read about the new system, it seems like the pallium will come later creating another service.

    The tradition of going to Rome to recieve the Pallium directly from the pope isn’t very old, it only dates to St. John Paul II. Prior to the change (which was several years into his pontificate), the pallium was often received from the nuncio in a quiet private ceremony without much fanfare. Whatever happens, I think Pope Francis has found a happy medium, ceremony and celebration but local in the archdiocese.

  2. And two final notes, the Ceremonial does seem to envision the possible investiture of the miter after the archbishop has already already taken possession of the cathedral. In that case the ritual,would still take place during mass and the Apostolic Mandate would, of course, be omitted, but the ritual seems to still assume some sort of profession of faith and oath. Otherwise it follows the ritual I discussed in last comment.

    If the archbishop is being newly ordained as a bishop, the Ceremonial directs the bishop to be invested with the pallium during the ordination mass following his reception of the ring but before receiving the miter. It’s a logical place in some ways, but it does seem odd, that the pallium that is directly connected to his particular office (even Emertius Metropolitan Archbishops do not wear it) is mixed in between the ring and miter that are directly related to be a being a bishop in general regardless of any particular office.

  3. Todd says:

    Thanks, David. I’ve never had a chance to get my paws on the actual book. And since I’m not heading to a cathedral, or very near one, it’s probably not on my new parish’s bookshelf. Thanks for the comments.

  4. Katherine says:

    I’m afraid I don’t see this new approach as a happy medium, but rather more of a muddle.

    As noted, having the pope confer the pallia on all the new archbishops every year in Rome on June 29 is a recent thing. As a sign of unity of archbishops with the pope (and each other) it made a degree of ritual/visual sense. But going to Rome just to be handed the pallium in a box, not even in the sight of the congregation at Mass, seems a bit silly. If nothing else, concern for carbon footprint (Laudato Si!) would suggest that Pope Francis just bless the pallia on June 29, and send them out for the nuncios deliver. That would spare all those new archbishops the expense of a trip to Rome during tourist high season.

    But if I were thinking this thing through, from a practical, historical, and ritual standpoint, I would suggest that if the pope isn’t going to confer the pallium himself, he send it with the nuncio when a new archbishop is installed. The nuncio is already bringing the papal mandate; the pallium would reinforce that symbolism of unity and highlight the archbishop’s new status. (As David points out, the CB has the rubrics for this.) That way, the nuncio only has to make one trip to wherever (eg Chicago), instead of two, the archbishop doesn’t have to make a special trip to Rome. The pope could still bless the pallia on June 29, and then just have them kept securely somewhere and sent as needed.

    In the middle ages, at least, EITHER a new archbishop went to the pope to promise obedience and receive the pallium, OR a papal legate was sent to deliver the pallium and receive the promise of obedience. (That was done in some kind of public, ritual context.) The original practical reason for the pallium being conferred separately, was that the archbishop was being chosen by someone other than the Holy See, and the pallium was granted/sent in response. That is no longer standard operating procedure in most of the church. (I could see where it might be used as a way to signal acceptance, say, in China, but that would be exactly why the government wouldn’t allow it!)

    • Liam says:

      Good analysis. It might evolve further that way given that it’s currently in flux anyway… The turning of the pallium into the occasion for a metropolitan-special ad limina visit was odd.

    • David Annable says:

      Excellent thoughts. I agree that to make it makes much more sense to just invest the new Metropolitan as part of their installation. That seems to be what the CB seems to envision, even if that was most likely never have been done.

      Making it part of the installation makes sense. The only real exception that makes sense to me is the case of when a Coadjutor Archbishop take over, as there isn’t an installation mass in those situations. But, in that case that Pallium investment would fill that void nicely.

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