HURRAY! A return to an older style papal pallium!

I remember my reaction when I attended the press conference before Pope Benedict’s inaugural Mass and then saw the pallium Archbishop Piero Marini put on the Pope.

Now, thank God, the Pope is changing the style of the pallium back.  No, really…back back.

Again, what he is doing is picking the transitional form of pallium.  Folks, these moves really do mean something.

I must go over to Mass right now, but our friends at NLM have a first look at this from an article in the new issue of L’Osservatore Romano.

There will be more on this.  L’Osservatore has a couple articles.  YAY!

A new form of the papal pallium, seen to the right, will be introduced on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. I had seen rumours about this as early as the middle of May, but now it is confirmed in tomorrow’s edition of the Osservatore Romano. Msgr. Guido Marini, the papal MC, explains the change in an interview with Gianluca Biccini. Here is the relevant part in an NLM translation:

"This is the development of the Latin form of the pallium used up to John Paul II," explains the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, explaining historical and liturgical reasons for the new insignia in this interview to "L’Osservatore Romano."

What are the elements of continuity and innovation compared to the past?

In light of careful studies, regarding the development of the pallium over the centuries, it seems that we can say that the long pallium crossed over the left shoulder was not worn in the West as from the 9th century onwards. Indeed, the painting in the Sacred Cave of Subiaco, dating back to ca. 1219 and representing Pope Innocent III with this type of pallium, seems to be a deliberate archaism. In this sense the use of the new pallium intends to meet two requirements: first of all to emphasize more strongly the continuous [organic] development which in an arch of more than twelve centuries this liturgical vestment has continued to have; in second place the practical [requirement], because the pallium used by Benedict XVI since the beginning of his pontificate and has led to several annoying problems from this point of view.

There remain differences between the papal pallium and the one which the Pontiff imposes on the archbishops?

The difference remains even in the current pallium. What will be worn by Benedict XVI from the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul onwards takes the form of the pallium used up to John Paul II, albeit in a larger and longer cut, and with the color red for the crosses. The different form of the papal pallium vis-à-vis the one of the metropolitans highlights the diversity of jurisdiction which is signified by the pallium.

The other older, pre-Piero pallium was a bit smaller and had black crosses:

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  1. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Would be interested in a fuller account of the “annoying problems” encountered.

  2. Joseph says:

    Well, that’s nice.

    I really think that this is a good move. The Holy Father’s continuous emphasis on organic development is resulting in great changes worldwide, and I cannot wait to see even little changes this will have. Will they be heavy? Probably not. But even the little changes have resulted in better liturgy worldwide, at least in my diocese or Lubbock (praise God). We’ll see what this does soon enough.


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  4. Will says:

    I wonder if one of those “annoying problems” included the Holy Father stumbling on Pentecost Sunday.

    Regardless, I think this change is for the better. Personally, the “new” pallium simply looks nicer, is more managable, and will be less accident-prone.

    I wonder what Archbp. Piero Marini is thinking at this moment. If I recall correctly, he was particularly proud of his pallium.

  5. The problem might have been purely aesthetick. If you’re wearing Baroque vestments, then a thick, cumbersome and rather inelegant strip of wool wrapped around your neck might just look silly. On the other hand I think that it might be good to note that developments in vestments paralleled each other, for obvious reasons, and the pope’s most recent style, e.g. vestments of Leo X, don’t really work practically with the way the present pallium sets. Frankly, though a lot of people have emphasised that the use of the Eastern pallium was an oecumenical gesture, I think it was probably a result of Marini’s toying with things that needn’t be toyed with and by Marini, I mean the first edition.

  6. Fr. A says:

    I was very, very happy to see this news today! :-) I really never liked the one he has been using. Also, this one will look MUCH better with those Roman style chasubles he wears from time to time. Anyway, I think it’s great!

  7. Prof. Basto says:

    And will this new pallium be simply assumed by the Pope or will it be imposed on him by the Cardinal Protodeacon?

  8. Paul Stokell says:

    As has been mentioned elsewhere in Catholic Blogdom, what the Holy Father has been wearing is closer to a Greek omophorion than a Latin pallium. I had thought he was making a gesture toward the Orthodox east by wearing such a thing.

  9. John Enright says:

    Paul Stokell,
    The Pope’s use of the Eastern style pallium was widely reported as a gesture to the East. See Vintage Vestments: The Philosophical Threads Woven Into Papal Garments by the Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein.

  10. dominic1962 says:

    I had wondered if the offset pallium was one of Marini I’s things. True, it is fashioned after really old palliums, but to me it seemed kind of like one of those things pulled out of the Early Church because it was from the Early Church (contra Mediator Dei).

    It also seems that if the Pope is going back to the more “Roman” pallium, that this was the case with the offset pallium. It might also be that if he’s going to wear more fiddleback/baroque style vestments that the more Roman pallium would be more appropriate aesthetically speaking.

    Next thing, I wonder if he’s going to use the papal fannon as well?

  11. Bp. Basil says:

    I liked this “new” form, as it helps show the connection with the Eastern churches, which wear a similar form of pallium (omophorion).

  12. Clayton says:

    Fiddlesticks….I mean, fiddlebacks…

    I actually liked Pope Benedict’s pallium. It almost demands full conical Gothic vestments, or earlier, much like I do. Especially if they are as ornate as before.

  13. Tobias says:

    Great news — why should a Latin Rite bishop wear gear from the Eastern Rite?
    Even Eastern vestments have developed somewhat since the Patristic era. And
    that omophorion-like pallium almost always looked inelegant and hazard-prone.
    The photage from Ash Wednesday 2008 showed how mismatched Renaissance and
    Baroque chasubles look with an omophorion-like pallium.

  14. Hung Doan says:

    So the Holy Father will wear this ‘new’ Red-crossed pallium and will bestow on the new Metropolitans the same style of pallia that he has given in the past (black crosses, a little more perpendicular…etc) correct? Sorry for my confusion…

  15. Shane says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but this looks like the pallium worn by John Paul II, even when I pulled up some photos of him to verify. How is it different, precisely?

  16. CatholicGandhian says:

    It’s nice, and a vast improvement over the antiquarian monstrosity our Holy Father has been wearing, but it does make me wonder, why couldn’t he have just worn the same pallium as the Metropolitans, or just changed the crosses to red? Was it really necessary to make an entirely new style of pallium? Why can’t the Holy Father just resurrect old things and just leave them as they were? First, it was the 1962 Missal. In mere months they altered the Good Friday prayer. Then, the Easter mozzetta. It was worn throughout Eastertide instead of just during the Octave. Now, the Pallium. Can’t we just let things lay for a while before we change them?

  17. Ioannes Andreades says:

    I recall hearing or reading that in the very early church, the pallium was worn in lieu of the stole by those privileged to wear it. If he kept that long pallium, he should have been entitled not to use another stole. Seems to me that in the hot Roman climate there is only so much wool and silk that one octogenarian should have to wear.

    I’m not sure how much ecumenical good the new 2005-2008 pallium was going to do if the pope was going to be the only metropolitain to wear it.

  18. Sacramento Mom says:

    Is it me, or do I detect somewhat of a tone in Ms. Boorstein’s report on the Holy Father’s vestments?

    Moving on, I like the older style which, in my opinion is more aestecially pleasing to the eye, to say the least.

  19. David O'Rourke says:

    One can’t help but observe that the only time the Holy Faher has worn a “fiddleback” chasuble was on Good Friday when the Pallium is not worn. This revised pallium fits in with the tradition and will go well with any style vestments. It has been hard to really see what the renaissance chasubles have been like because they were obscured by the Pallium.

  20. Atlanta says:

    Interesting. It would be intriguing to see when the pallium and the omophorion parted ways, yes?

  21. Damien says:

    I’m not sure that the adoption of the eastern style of pallium at the beginning of Pope Benedict’s Papacy would have been simply the will of Archbishop Marini just as I’m sure the adoption this latest one isn’t simply the will of Monsignor Marini. Archbishop Marini gets a lot of flack but I really think that a lot of the negative comments made against him are unfair. He is often portrayed as some sort of ogre who tricked the Pope into doing and wearing things against his will. Give him a break, he was doing his best just as Monsignors Magee, Noe, Bugnini and Dante did before him and indeed as the current Monsignor Marini is now doing.

  22. Casey says:

    I rather like the 2008 pallium, but I wasn’t truly opposed to the 2005 one. You may remember JP2 wearing a long extended pallium once (in 1999), I believe. JP2 got rid of the longer one because of fears of tripping, His Holiness could be doing the same thing.

    Let us also remember that, as noted in many comments above, the 2005 pallium is rather Greek. Perhaps just for image-sake, Benedict XVI has decided to take a more Roman look, especially since he will be co-preaching and giving the final blessing with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Maybe this is just a show of Roman Authority vs. Eastern authority.

    Finally, let us remember that with this new pallium it seems easier for the Pontiff to return to the fanon. However, the purpose of the fanon was to prevent the pins holding the pallium down from damaging the elegant chasuble.

    Let’s pray that gauntlets, the fanon, and maybe even the flambella make an appearance soon!

  23. Garry says:

    and will he start wearing the dalmatic under the chasuble as well? If the ‘eastern’ style pallium was a gesture, it was possibly because by wearing something that made him more like an eastern Bishop, he was making the point that it is precisely as Bishop of Rome that he is Pope of the Ecumenical Church.

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