The Hungarian Tiara given to Pope John Paul II in 1981

Fr. Blake has an interesting story he picked up from Hallowed Ground who picked it up from Traditional Catholicism, who posted one of my photos…. whew… about the fact that in 1981 Hungarians gave a papal tiara to Pope John Paul II.

Interesting, no?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mark says:

    Whoah! I really like it–it could be the light in the photo, but I like the colours. Pity no-one’s wearing it, eh? ;-)

  2. Bernard says:

    Interesting yes. Pity John Paul I refused to be crowned, setting a precedent. Otherwise we may have seen JPII actually wearing this tiara.

  3. Ottaviani says:

    The final death blow for the tiara was when Pope Benedict XVI removed it from his coat of arms. Sadly I do not think the tiara will come back again.

    Sad that small things like these are discarded into oblivion. Some people seem to confuse dignity of the office with dignity of the person.

  4. Geoffrey says:

    The real reason His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI removed the Papal Tiara from his coat of arms is revealed by Mr. James-Charles Noonan, a specialist in Ecclesial Heraldry and author of “The Church Visible”, in an article in “Inside the Vatican.” I’ll try to dig it out of my archives and quote it here in a bit!

  5. LCB says:

    Fr. Z.,

    A friend recently sent me this article

    Your views? It seems an air tight case that veils ought to still be worn… unless one considers the new missal to be a totally different rite?

  6. Geoffrey says:

    After searching my “archives,” I found it! Below are excerpts from the third and final part of a series of articles that appeared in Inside the Vatican Magazine (November 2005) concerning Ecclesial Heraldry. This article was written by Mr. James Noon himself, whereas parts one and two were interviews with him. He says:

    “Although Pope Benedict’s heraldic design certainly diverts from the millennium-old formula in papal armorial, none of the criticism of the new Pope’s arms accurately addresses the specific purpose for the deliberate changes in papal heraldic tradition. It should be stated once and for all that Pope Benedict’s heraldic design was purposefully intended to publicly honor his mentor, Paul VI. In fact, the mitre artistically adapted for the new papal coat-of-arms was one actually worn by Pope Paul at the close of the Second Vatican Council (thereafter known as the ‘Conciliar Mitre”) and which is now believed to be in the personal possession of Benedict XVI.”


    “When Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) elevated Joseph Ratzinger to the Sacred College of Cardinals in public consistory in 1977, a unique bond of friendship quickly developed between two churchmen that few outside the Roman Curia realized existed. It was the last year of Paul’s life and thereafter Ratzinger never ceased to honor the Pope who had elevated him to high office. For his own part, Paul VI illustrated his esteem for Ratzinger by bequeathing to him a number of his own papal mitres when he died the following year. And so, when Joseph Ratzinger was elected to the papacy a few months ago, he offered one final tribute to the man who had promoted him to greatness.”

    Mr. Noonan also adds:

    “And although Pope Benedict is the first Pope to abandon these time-honored emblems for himself (and once more one must be reminded that he has done so specifically in honor of Paul VI) it is not his intention to permanently overturn more than 800 years of Church tradition.

    In fact, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano has affirmed that the tiara and keys remain both the symbol of the Petrine Ministry and of the Roman Curia, thus assuring a proper return to this time-honored formula in future pontificates.”

  7. Florestan says:

    Not very satisfying, this explanation of mr. Noonan:

    “Benedict decided to drop a millenium-old tradition in honour of the worst Pope for the last thousand years.”

    Oh, now I see…

  8. Fr Ray Blake says:

    Dear and Reverend Father,
    My sincere appologies for my failure to tip my saturno to such a superlative photographer of such an ugly piece of headgear. I couldn’t find a reference to it on Traditional Catholic.
    Where is it kept?

  9. Fr. A says:

    Without getting into the opinion of Mr. Noonan, while the Holy Father is free to have what he likes on his coat of arms, the external symbols are not something that should have been changed. Thankfully, many artists have ignored the mitre (that makes the arms look like those of an Anglican bishop) and have emblazed his arms with the tiara and without the pallium.

    As to the actual subject of Fr. Z’s post, I like this tiara. It is much nicer than the ugly, modern tiara of Pope Paul VI at the National Shrine in D.C.

  10. Actually, I got this picture from a Milanese friend who sent it to me about a week ago.

    There is no mention of it on my blog. I figured, as I told a friend, if the Pope never wore it…

    I just sent it to Ken over at because the topic came up on his blog.

    Anyway, I would think (and my Milanese friend thinks so, too – but we’re not at all sure) that this Tiara is kept where the other Tiaras are kept (possibly the Papal Sacristy?).

    I am not sure whether this Tiara made it to the exhibits of the other Tiaras a few months ago. I would assume that it did not because no one (as far as I know) talked about it.

    I agree that this Tiara looks much better than the one worn by Paul VI. However, it does not come close to the one given to Pius IX by the queen of Spain.

    Nevertheless, the Hungarians did do a very Catholic thing in giving this Tiara to the Pope… Too bad the Pope did not reciprocate the gesture in the best Catholic manner in which he could have done it: by wearing it!

  11. Ottaviani says:

    So Pope Benedict is honouring a Pope that is partially responsible for the mess he has to clean up?! Paul VI – the grand ultramontane demolisher of all things traditional?!

  12. Sean says:

    I like it. Not too plain and not too ornate. It looks both modern and traditional.

  13. Fr. Blake: You, Reverend and Dear Father, owe nary a saturno tip to me.

    The fellow at the end of the link trail had posted a shot I took of the Vatican Basilica with a crescent moon setting beside it. I didn’t take the photo of the Hungarian tiara. I don’t know who did. It looks as if it is in some book.


  14. Father Bartoloma says:

    I blame smiling Pope John Paul I for the whole tiara extinction. Paul VI made a big show about laying aside the tiara that was given to him at the time of his coronation but it would not have been as much of a shock if JP1 had a coronation instead of an ‘inauguration’ ceremony. JP1 also went out of his way to not use the papal ‘we’ when speaking, something that Paul VI had continued to employ. After JP1 died so suddenly and JP2 was elected pope, the memory of smiling Papa Luciani, not using that big bad tiara or speaking in the ‘royal we’ was too fresh (especially in the press) for his successor to do otherwise. Alas though, JP1 did use the sedia gestatoria and also used a beautiful precious mitre that JP2 could have easily incorporated. Oh well…Waddayagonnado

  15. Malta says:

    That tiara looks like layers of those crowns they used to give to kids at burger king around a giant bullet

  16. Prof. Basto says:

    Someone should give Pope Benedict XVI a Papal Tiara.

  17. Jacob says:

    I don’t like that one. It’s too silvery and slender. I like the rounded one better than those triple tiaras that remind one of the Coneheads…

  18. Fr. Z,

    Oh, that’s the picture you’re talking about. I thought you were talking about the picture of the Tiara.

    That picture of St. Peter’s and the moon: If you go to google images and type Catholic Church (or something like that), that’s one of the images you will get. That’s how I got that picture… did not konw you had taken it!

  19. latinmass: Just havin’ a little fun wichy’all.

  20. Bernard says:

    Father Bartoloma, John Paul I also insisted he was “Supreme Pastor” not Supreme Pontiff.
    Yet some claim he was traditionalist at heart. Fail to see that myself though, I think the clue is in the name he chose.

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