It’s nice to dream

It is nice to have dreams…

I have received a few e-mails today about the possible return of the Sedia Gestatoria.

If the Sedia was not revived for the end of the reign of the late Pope John Paul, I doubt that it will return during this Pontificate so long as His Holiness Pope Benedict is as clear ambulatory as he is… ad multos annos.

The Sedia is highly criticized by some, because – as they say – it smacked of the imperial, of secular power.

I think it was a gesture of humility on the part of the Pontiff, by which he was able to be seen more clearly by those who came, frankly, to see him.

In any event, a few people have written to me.  Apparently, John Sonnen of Orbis Catholicus has also mentioned something about this.

It would be great to see the Sedia return, but I am not going to hold my breath.

UPDATE 10 Sept 1552 GMT

Here is one piece of feedback with my emphases:


No, it would not be "nice" to see a return of the sedia gestatoria.  While its ostentation would no doubt tickle rubricist fancies, it would provide a powerful counterwitness to the Gospel’s humility. This is precisly why the Servant of God +John Paul II dispensed with it, following the lead of his predecessors in humbling the Church’s hierarchy, first with the Servant of God +Paul VI’s decision to not wear the triregnum after coronation and with the Servant of God +John Paul I’s refusal to have a coronation.
It’s not all about us, Fr Zuhlsdorf or especially [?] the traditionalists; it’s about the witness the Church gives to the world, and the studia gestatoria would be a poor witness to the Church’s solidarity with the oppressed and witness to "Christ in distressing disguise."


Leaving aside the condescending and sanctimonious tone, he makes some points.

Anyone care to respond?

Would the use of the Sedia be a "counterwitness" to the Christian message?

UPDATE 10 Sept 1727 GMT

Here is another piece from John Sonnen:

Rumors, yes, but common talk…

Finally, after thirty years it is coming back.  And why?
The decision is said [!] to be coming from the Secretary of State, not from the Pope.   [Oh yah?]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. TRAD60 says:

    Yes, it would be great to see the Sedia come out of storage, along with the papal tiara and, (I pray that this is in the far off future-may God bless and grant long life to BXVI) the traditional coronation of the next pope instead of the installation Mass.

  2. medievalist says:

    The Sedia can be viewed as a marked of humility in the same way that cardinal-deacons holding the Holy Father’s cope are…both require the Holy Father to go where others lead, relying upon their guidance.

    Did not Our Lord say to Peter himself: “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21.18)

    Being lead is humbling and requires trust.

  3. Gabriella says:

    Oh yes, he was able to be seen more clearly and the people had more personal contact with him but … would this be safe today?

  4. Melody says:

    I think the original purpose of the Sedia, as well as some other traditions regarding the Holy Father, was to emphasize that the authority of the Church is higher than any sovereign, and even great kings must respect the Pope. Think of how it was the Pope who crowned Charlemagne and made him emperor.

    A person cannot disobey the Church simply because his sovereign (or his government) asks him to do so. He is responsible to God and His Church first.

    While this idea of authority is still incredibly relevant and needed, it is not longer well served by the sedia. With the exception of those few countries with monarchies like Britain, such trappings of royalty are seen in an age of democracy as things we have grown beyond. And even then those royals who still exist are figureheads, mere symbols of the state with no real power. The Pope is certainly not analogous to these.
    Comparing the Holy Father to a king no longer brings the same acclamations to mind that it did in ages past. Instead, it brings many to think of the past scandals and abuses of some of the Popes, as well as the lies and exaggerations of Protestants, who revile us for supposedly believing the Pope is equal to God.

    I delight that the Church now more emphasizes the title “Servant of the Servants of God” for it highlights a beautiful reality of the papal office and offers a interesting parallel:

    In the times of kings, some noble, some cruel, the ceremonies proclaimed, “Here is your true steward who you should honor, holding the place of the king of kings.”

    In these times of elected officials, who ideally are to serve and protect the people, and who often fall to greed and corruption, the Church offers us the Pope, the Servant of the Servants of God. And amid so many lies and infidelities, we may look to the Pope for leadership and truth.

  5. mpm says:

    I really have a hard time comprehending what would be great about it. Just another target for secular humanists to take aim at, and make up lies about!

    I don’t think I am alone among Catholics in seeing a certain providential hand in the Pope’s loss of much of the temporalities, especially since the Concordat with Italy has given the office back what it needs to fulfill its duties.

  6. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Just about anything would have been better at Pope Benedict’s inaugural mass than for him to stand in the back of a jeep.

  7. NLucas says:

    How much is the Sedia Gestatoria an intregal part of the traditional Solemn Papal Mass? Should, God willing, the Holy Father decide to celebrate the traditional Solemn Papal Mass, how much would he be beholden to the practices such as this that (at least to me) allude to the function and presence of the papal court?

    In Christ,

  8. maynardus says:

    “Just about anything would have been better at Pope Benedict’s inaugural mass than for him to stand in the back of a jeep.”

    Well, I’d be pretty happy if he arrived in the Popemobile… to celebrate a Traditional Mass! I wonder which would raise more hackles amongst the “spirit-of-the-council” crowd (and the MSM)? i.e. Popemobile+TLM or Sedia+NOM-in-the-“B16 Style”?

    Of course I do look forward to the day when the fullness of the Papal liturgy is restored, as others have noted it both the authority and the humility of the papacy.

  9. Mitchell NY says:

    I think the Sedia being used once in a while is no more harmful than the full liberation of the Tridentine Mass. I mean, we would only see it but a few times a year, and our Pope is of years now, perhaps it would be better to let him be seen in this way once in a while, rather than walking across slippery surfaces. And I am sure there are many, many volunteers who would be honored to be porter. This Pope is a good one to remove stigmas attached to things from the past and perhaps can free them (the Sedia, Flabellum) from their frozen stationary positions. If it is part of our tradition, should we think we will never, ever see a Pope use it again?

  10. RichR says:

    I delight that the Church now more emphasizes the title “Servant of the Servants of God”

    Father Z, this may be an interesting time to discuss this. In the book, Iota Unum, Fr. Amerio makes the claim that Servant of Servants (servus servorum) is akin to Heaven of Heavens (caelis caelorum) or Virgin of Virgins (virgo virginum). They are Hebraic superlatives. He says that “servant of the servants of God” is twisted nowadays to imply that the Pope is submissive to the other servants of God (ie., bishops, priests, deacons, and lay). But what the term really means is that he is the first servant of God amongst them all. It is a title of pre-eminence, not a title of submission (to others).

    Since it is a Latin topic, I wonder if you might expound (maybe on another post).

  11. twherge says:

    I have always had to chuckle when told that the sedia, if used today, would give an impression of being “high and exalted.” The only types of people one is typically familiar with being carried around are rockstars and victorious sports players. In a similar vein I heard it said that if the typical means of getting movie tickets was to kneel at a rail and wait for it, then communion at a rail might need to be re-thought. but as it is, movie tickets are bought standing in a line. So the cultural implication of the sedia, as Melody pointed out, are different now. The question then, would be whether the new associations are appropriate.

  12. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I always thought the Sedia looked like something out of Cleopatra.

    I get enough grief from non-Catholics about the “imperial papacy” without the Sedia. Bringing it back would just be raw meat for those folks.

  13. Mitchell NY says:

    Non-Catholics have no business talking about it. That is how we got in so much trouble in the first place, by allowing 6 Protestant observers to partake in the liturgical discussions over Mass…And that is what you should tell them.

  14. There is, by the way, still a Confraternity of porters, bearers, of the sedia. Their HQ is in Rome in charming little church by the Tiber.

  15. BTW… I knew an old portatore of the sedia back when.  This old feller has some great stories!

    One in particular I remember.

    They were toting the enormous John XXIII – who disliked the sedia – and they dropped him, if I recall, on the Scala Regia.

    They were naturally mortified.

    As the old Pontiff, rather walrus-like, hauled himself and was being hauled up by solicitous hands he said,

    “Sorry, boys! I had a big lunch today!”

    See also this:

  16. ljc says:

    Does the beauty and grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica provide “a powerful counterwitness to the Gospel’s humility?” What about all of the other beautiful Churches throughout the world? What about the beautiful vestments used in Mass? The statues, paintings and decorum in the Vatican? Or are all these things fine, but just the Sedia Gestatoria that will undermine Gospel humility?

  17. Jono says:

    While normally agreeing with Fr. Z, in this case, I believe that it would be best to retain the present practice. Primarily, I see the sedia as an exaltation of the individual. While I may be wrong in the historical roots of the practice, I believe this is the interpretation that will be made by those in the world. the Holy Father has done his best to make sure that it is God, rather than the priests or bishops, who is exalted, for instance with the Benedictine arrangement (everyone focuses on the Cross) as a transition toward celebration ad orientem. Likewise, the rejection of coronation (a symbol of secular power) draws more attention to investiture with the pallium and fisherman’s ring, which are properly ecclesial symbols.

  18. I cannot see how Paul VI’s simplification of papal ceremonies has actually helped the Church. It seems to me that it has only produced a duller world. Be it pope, bishop, or priest, the humility need to be about the person not the office. This is one of the reasons clerical vestments and garb are so important, they downplay the person and exalt the glory of the office.

  19. AndyMo says:

    it would provide a powerful counterwitness to the Gospel’s humility.

    Like riding into Jerusalem, greeted like royalty, and having people prostrate themselves and lay palm branches on your path. I’m not comparing the Holy Father to Jesus himself or anything, but let’s not pretend that even Christ himself was bashful about being seen.

  20. medievalist says:

    Re: Counterwitness and UPDATE 10 Sept 1552 GMT.

    I accept the general thrust of this commenter’s argument, and the comments on coronation echo mpm’s (06.38) thought-provoking comments. We should never swerve towards either extreme.

    And here is my problem with the comments that appear to link automatically pomp and oppression in some sort of zero-sum dichotomy. Just because the pope is exalted does not mean that we are oppressed. Holy Church has always had room for both humility and exaltation, most beautifully expressed in the liturgical cycle of festal and penitential seasons.
    I would also point the commenter to my own comments about interpretations of humility (03.40), where the sedia can indicate the pope’s limitations and guidance by others. The pope is servant and protector to Holy Church, which, therefore, is not a position of power and control but of obedience. Might we not, then, help the pope by carrying him and his heavy burdens, both physically and in our prayers?

    How does this affect our witness to the world? Along with the more humble actions of the regular parish priests throughout the world, the use of such pomp witnesses to the world that Holy Church encompasses the full range of human experience and sensibility. It is the Holy Catholic Church, from which neither rich nor poor are turned away. It expresses the love we have for our Holy Father and our support for that day (quod Deus avertat) when he, pastor of a billion souls, will face his Father with the most terrible, awesome burden any mortal can bear. It is not oppressive to carry Peter (for we honour Peter, not Joseph Ratzinger), but an honour, just as it is an honour to glorify Our Lord or Our Lady in procession. Such processions, especially of the Blessed Sacrament, tell the world why, and from Whom, all our more humble and pastoral actions flow.

  21. Gus says:

    I echo the comments of Mitchell NY and ljc.
    Trying to make the world understand and accept the Chrch is at best futile and far more often suicidal as is evidence by the widespread lack of devotion to the Holy Father, the Virgin, and the Blessed Sacrament and the loss of Catholic identity.
    If the Pope is crowned and carried on a throne is not because of the man but because of the office to which God has raised the man: the very Vicar of Christ on Earth; the representative of the One who is the King of the Universe.

    Pax et Bonum

  22. pjsandstrom says:

    I remember reading at the time that Pope John XXIII said that each time he was expected to use the sedia gestatoria he had to take ‘sea-sickness’ pills — the swaying ride was very hard on his equilibrium and his stomach. Besides being carried around like an Egyptian pharaoh, with the flabella and the retinue in accompaniment etc. is a vision from another age — not ageless, but very tied with a particular moment in time and place.

  23. Supertradmom says:

    Why do people always refer to the poor and down-trodden when discussing liturgical or historical practices? Being generous and charitable has nothing to do with the Marxist view of the supposed equality of all people and the denial of the right of the hierarchical Church. I get suspicious with critics of the sedia, or other Papal customs, seeing these critics as not understanding the place of the Holy Father as Christ’s Vicar on Earth, or worse, wanting to minimize this fact. To state that Christ was not carried around in a sedia is off the point. He created the Church and it rightly developed into something we can see, feel, touch and love.

    The Church is the visible sign of the Kingdom of God, not “invisible”, as many would have it.

  24. Pete Morrell says:

    Yes, yes! By all means bring back the sedia. This tradition, along with others now neglected, was a powerful symbol of the authority of the Pope and the Church. It was an important symbol of the Church’s rejection of the Gallican and Americanist heresies – a rejection of a rigid separation of Church and State. It is a proclamation of Christ the King. A reassertion that “the secular power is not subject to the spiritual power universally and from every point of view…but if anything in temporal affairs constitutes an obstacle to the eternal salvation of his subjects, the bishop who intervenes by a command or a prohibition…acts by his own rightfully divinely constituted authority. Where the salvation of men is at stake, all secular powers are subject to the spiritual power.”

    Humility is proper to the man – NOT the office.
    Denouncing the sedia and tiara is a false humility.

  25. Is the Popemobile really so different from the Sedia?

    A sedan chair is a vehicle, albeit carried by bearers instead of wheels.

    A Popemobile is also a vehicle. It makes the Pope visible and is used in processions. It’s the same thing.

    And when did the Popemobiles come into use? About the same time the Sedia was abandoned, with a bit of trying different vehicles, and an overlap of cars and trains and so forth. Clearly, one is a development of the other.

    We should be pushing instead for the new Sedia, the Popemobile, to be more fittingly decorated. I think some nice lowkey golden designs symbolic of Peter’s office would look pretty sweet against the white. And yes, the Portatores ought to be involved in Popemobile activities.

  26. StevenDunn says:

    I completely agree with Suburbanbanshee. The popemobile should be made more dignified (and given a more dignified name) and treated as the proper continuation and extension into modernity of the sedia. I think the Vatican would do well to have a special car designed just for the purpose, one completely fitting to the papal office.

  27. Ceile De says:

    His Holiness is 82 years of age and has had a bad fall this year. Why would anybody want to expose him to the risk and the discomfort?

  28. Mitchell NY says:

    But you can not drive the Popemobile through the Vatican or inside any Church procession. The virulence with which people oppose this thing is incredible, I mean let the Pope rest once in a while. If people have incorrect interpretations then that can be straightened out with an explanation from the Pope himself or his representatives. If we choose to continue to stay on the opposing side based on how “we” feel then it is against reason and logic given to us by the Vicar of Christ. I certainly would not want to debate it face to face with the Holy Father. If he chooses to use it, I do not think he does so to exhault himself, and with proper explanation we should all understand this. If for the only reason that more people would see him. That is why he is televised all the time isn’t it? Do you want to see him or not?

  29. Clinton says:

    The Popemobile, like an enema, gets the job done but it lacks ‘la bella figura’.

    There are practical considerations in favor of the sedia. As Fr. Z. pointed out in his original post, it lets more of the people see the Pope,
    and it enables an older or infirm Pope process more easily. We can all recall seeing the slow-motion martyrdom of John Paul II trying to
    walk up the aisle of St. Peter’s during the final years of that pontificate. Please let no one think to solve that problem by putting a Pope
    on a white and gold Segway.

    ‘medievalist’ has some very worthy reflections on the sedia above.

    Too often we see priests who resist being called ‘Father’, Bishops who discourage those who would kiss their ring, and folks who insist
    we must strip the papacy of all the trappings we moderns have outgrown. Of course, we moderns have no monopoly on wisdom —
    we’ve just witnessed the bloodiest century in human history and live in a society that has a quiet slaughter going on all around us.
    If we’d just listen, I think the generations that came before us could tell us a thing or two about respect, humility, and beauty.

  30. lacrossecath says:

    The office is the most important office in this world. Why shouldn’t we celebrate it? Should the president of the USA no longer be sworn into office publicly? Or Miss America no longer be crowned and no roses and long walk of victory down the stage? We have no secular leaders to celebrate, they have taken our kings and queens and churches and relics. We have this one office until the end of time and it will not fall. Let us celebrate it grandly!

  31. lacrossecath says:

    “The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.” – Orthodoxy, GK Chesterton

  32. Jason Keener says:

    Unfortunately, much of the outward pomp surrounding the Catholic Faith and the papacy was stripped away after the Council. I think we should again begin using the sedia gestatoria and the papal tiara. The portable throne and tiara are beautiful outward signs that direct people to give the papacy and the Catholic Faith the respect and honor they deserve. Human beings, who are not angels, depend on such outward signs to inspire correct inward dispositions. Many of those who would criticize the throne and papal tiara are already in a camp that is firmly set against the Church. Nothing we do will ever please them, so let’s just get on with it and let the dead bury their dead.

    Also, feeding the poor and having the Roman Pontiff use the portable throne are not mutually exclusive. The Church can at the same time feed the poor and edify mankind through beautiful ceremonies. We cannot forget that God is beauty. The ceremonies of God’s Church must reflect that beauty and majesty.

    Pope Paul VI wrote in 1965: “The world needs beauty in order to not sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the human heart, and resists the wear and tear of time.”

    May Pope Benedict’s reign be long and glorious. Ad multos annos!

  33. I think it was a good thing, a wise and prudential move, that JPII humbly rejected the Sedia. Otherwise a cult of personality might have arisen around him, which wuld have been the last thing he, or anyone else, would have wanted.

  34. Theodorus says:

    So, if according to some people, the use of sedia gestatoria is against humility, then were popes like Bl. Pius IX, St. Pius X, Pius XII, Bl. John XXIII and even Paul VI all egomaniacs?

  35. JFrater says:

    Those of you mentioning the media and the impression the Sedia would give to the secular world: have you considered that many in that secular world would see the Sedia and be overwhelmed by its beauty and long history and want to learn more about the Church? It was the beauty of our music which brought St Augustine to us – perhaps the beauty of the full pomp of the papal office would do the same for our next great saint – the saint who might be the one to destroy modernism once and for all.

    Instead of looking at the negatives, consider the positives. The Holy Ghost had a reason to allow the institution of the sedia in the first place, and if the Pope is considering restoring it, we should presume the Holy Ghost has a hand in that too.

  36. mpm says:

    Whew! An awful lot of folks seem to be teeing off with their Sunday drivers here about the sedilia, and it’s many benefits for the Church and the human race! Did someone compare the dignity of the Pope to that of “Miss America”? Really?

    “Paeans and panegyrics ain’t in it!”

    I appreciate that Pope Benedict is of a certain age (though he seems a bit spryer than I feel), but from watching the video Fr. Z. linked in here, riding that thing must be like riding a horse, or a camel. Do they make seat belts for it? What if they “drop” Pope Benedict like they did Pope John? I’m not speaking about the “indignity” of it, I’m thinking of the possibility of bodily harm!

    Not meaning to offend anyone, just bringing it back down to earth.

    Whatever the Pope approves with respect to transportation is fine by me. Just in case he was worried!

  37. William says:

    That ancient clip of John XXIII’s coronation only lacked color and the Grand March from Aida blaring in the background. Yep, bring back the Sedia Gestatoria! And bring back the coronation, too!

  38. Fr_Sotelo says:


    You stated, “The Popemobile, like an enema, gets the job done but it lacks ‘la bella figura’.”

    LOL. I don’t know if Popemobile and enema should be in the same sentence, but if we want “bella figura” why not trot out those beautiful horses the Renaissance cardinals would ride around on, covered by the cappa magna and other frills? The horse can navigate Vatican stairs easily (someone, of course, would have to follow with a huge pooper scooper).

    For the techno aficionados, there’s the possibility of the Segway vehicles, which soon will be even more advanced to carry someone sitting down. And this too could be adorned nicely, making for a nice episode of that MTV series “Pimp My Ride.”

  39. thereseb says:

    I am appalled that any good Marxist environ-mentalist could fail to appreciate the forward-thinking gesture that the return of the Sedia would signal. It ticks so many contemporary boxes.
    1. More environmentally friendly than the Popemobile, in that it is made of recyclable materials, and does not use up dwindling oil reserves.
    2. Creates new employment opportunities for bearers in a world recession, and for those employed in the soft furnishings and bespoke tailoring industry.
    3. Makes the Pope more “accessible” to those in the cheap seats at the back of the Basilica thus promoting equality and diversity.
    4. Makes it much easier to check whether the Pope is indeed wearing designer shoes, giving opportunities to under-employed freelance journalists to sell snarky articles to the Bitter Pill about the return of the Church to a medieval mentality.

    Now – if you want your rubrics tickled – reinstate the flabelli (assuming that ostriches are not an endangered species). A much more eco-friendly form of air-conditioning!

  40. Leonius says:

    It is humility to graciously accept the actions of those who wish to give you honour in recognition of your dignity, Christ did not stop the lady from washing His feet with precious oils but instead rebuked Judas for suggesting that Christ should not be honoured in such a way. Likewise Christ did not stop those laying palms before Him on His way to Jerusalem.

    On the other hand it is utterly rude, arrogant and ungrateful to respond to honours offered to you with disdain and rejection as if you are above the best gifts mere men could offer you.

    If we wish to honour the Pope by such outward signs the Pope should have the humility to acquiesce to our wishes knowing that by allowing us to honour him he allows us to also give glory to God by glorifying Gods Church through God’s chosen Pope.

  41. Thomas S says:

    “Finally, after thirty years it is coming back. And why?
    The decision is said to be coming from the Secretary of State, not from the Pope.”

    You are Tarcisio, and upon this car I will build my Church, and Peter shall not prevail against you.

  42. Bring the sedia back, I’m all for it…

  43. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    What Non-Catholics would never see is how honored I, or any good Catholic man would be to be able to bear the Holy Father on their shoulders. For me, it would be one of those “I’m never washing this part of my body again” moments.

    It is seen by secular eyes as a symbol of humiliation for those who bear it, but it is exactly the opposite, it is an honor.

    It is seen by secular eyes as a symbol of pretentiousness on the part of the Pope, but it is a sign of humility. Very few people, and I can only assume Pontiffs are not among then, like being caddied around when they are perfectly able. To do so is a resignation to let others take control over you.

    It is seen by Catholic eyes as an honor bestowed on the one whom God the Holy Spirit has anointed to lead Christ’s Church.

    It is seen by Catholic eyes as a way to say, we know that this man is Your servant, and by honoring him, we wish to honor You.

  44. Re: seasickness

    Always a serious problem with sedan chairs, palanquins, etc. If the sedia gestatoria is brought back, some sort of technology similar to that of the Steadicam should be utilized for a smoother ride.

    Re: portatores

    Salvatore brings up a good point. To be a ceremonial bearer of a man’s weight is an honor of a peculiarly manly kind. Pallbearers who actually carry the coffin have to put a lot of themselves into it, and the position of trust they are given makes mistakes very visible.

    Re: organic development

    If the Popemobile isn’t small and dignified enough to go into Mass or down the Vatican corridors, surely something could be invented that would be.

    Re: horses in the Vatican corridors

    Without even worrying about the horse’s extreme nonchalance about going to the bathroom in great volume at any time in any place, or the way horses startle easily, or any other horse characteristic, one must mention that horses don’t like walking on marble or tile, and that the wear and tear of hooves on priceless marble would be considerable.

  45. NLucas says:

    I think the idea of the Sedia Gestatoria as a “counterwitness to the Gospel’s humility” takes the use of the Sedia out of context and out of how it fits into all of the vestments and insignia of the papal office.

    This struck me when I remembered my manual for inferior ministers in the TLM, which pointed out the principle of “prior to vesting for Mass, the celebrant goes first, after vesting for Mass, he goes last.”

    That makes a lot of sense. Traditionally, the Holy Father processes in the Sedia Gestatoria prior to a Solemn Papal Mass, vested in the Mantum and full papal regalia. In a liturgical sense, this corresponds to Christ’s entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, with the focus on the dignity of the office, not the man. The Holy Father then reaches Saint Andrew’s altar, says the office of Terce and vests for Holy Mass (removing the Mantum and donning the Fanon and Chasubles, among other things). From that point on, the Holy Father is led–by the assisting priests (even though he may have the ceremony memorized) and physically by the hands of the Cardinal-Deacons. Note the contrast–the Holy Father moves from the Sedia on a litugical Palm Sunday to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on a liturgical Good Friday–being led to the place of Sacrifice like a lamb.

    I realize moderns have lost the sense of this, and would not be inclined to even pick up the difference between the time before vesting for Mass and afterward. This would require a lot of good catechesis, but I think it points to a radical humility.

    In Christ,

  46. edwardo3 says:

    Isn’t it time for us to stop worrying about what the media and secular world has to say about the Church and for us to really celebrate being Catholic and our heratige? Maybe our separated brethren actually seeing us living, and celebrating our faith rather than hiding so much of it would be far more ecumical than trying to convince them that we aren’t so different after all.

    Regarding humility, I did a major project on the vesture of Cardinals for my B.A. Degree in Art History and one of the most important books on vesture of the 19th century made it very clear that the duty of a prelate was to utilize every proper insignia of his dignity so that the faithful may fulfill their duty of paying proper respect to the mind of the Church, and that anyone who refused to utilize his insignia was engaged in a false humility and was to be corrected as soon as possible.

  47. TNCath says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. While I understand and actually like the sedia, I think the Popemobile works just as well. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be carried around like that.

  48. Brian K says:

    The decision is said to be coming from the Secretary of State, not from the Pope.

    Having just read Antonio Socci’s “The Fourth Secret of Fatima,” I get nervous about anything the Secretary of State might recommend…

  49. While normally agreeing with Fr. Z, in this case, I believe that it would be best to retain the present practice. Primarily, I see the sedia as an exaltation of the individual. While I may be wrong in the historical roots of the practice, I believe this is the interpretation that will be made by those in the world. the Holy Father has done his best to make sure that it is God, rather than the priests or bishops, who is exalted, for instance with the Benedictine arrangement (everyone focuses on the Cross) as a transition toward celebration ad orientem. Likewise, the rejection of coronation (a symbol of secular power) draws more attention to investiture with the pallium and fisherman’s ring, which are properly ecclesial symbols.

    I actually get weary with the idea that we must accommodate ignorance, instead of doing what we can to liberate people from it. The truth is out there for the world to find — it’s not hidden. If they don’t want to see it, that’s on them.

    I say bring back the sedia gestatoria and the triregnum. They should return for all the reasons previously stated. Plus: in this age of rampant disobedience, I want to see the papacy actively commanding respect in every way that it reasonably can. I think it was very wrong, especially, to give up the triregnum, because that gave the impression that there was nothing so special, after all, about the Successor of Peter. When I look at the picture of Paul VI laying it aside (and wearing the really huge mitre that seems to me far more ostentatious than the thing he was then refusing to wear again) it seems to me less an act of humility than a symptom of the moral uncertainty and hesitancy that seems to have pervaded the Church at that time.

    And another thing. With humility, you humble yourself. I don’t see how it can be humility to humble someone or something other than yourself. If you take away from the honor that had previously been paid to an office — and one established by Christ Himself, at that — I don’t see where that constitutes humility. All of the honor that is given to the Pope as Pope, or to the hierarchy, or to an altar or a church, ultimately goes to Jesus Christ, Who is the Author of it all. He humbled Himself, but it is not for us to humble Him.

  50. mpm says:

    Comment by Salvatore_Giuseppe — 10 September 2009 @ 6:41 pm

    I appreciate the views of Salvatore_Giuseppe, and due to the 1600 hundred years old special relationship between the Catholic people of Rome, and their bishop, if THEY wanted to reinstate some of these ancient customs, it would warm the cockles of my heart.

    I just don’t think noi altri have the same rights.

  51. irishgirl says:

    I’d like to see some more ‘pomp and circumstance’ in Church ceremonies-such as the Sedia Gestatoria. I’m rather tired of the complaints by non-Catholics and the secular media, always whining ‘what about the poor’.

    Didn’t Our Lord say, ‘The poor you will always have with you’, when He was anointed at Bethany?

    But on a practical level-I’d be concerned about making the Holy Father a ‘moving target’ !

  52. Leonius says:

    “Personally, I wouldn’t want to be carried around like that.” TNCath

    Neither did many of the Popes, but you see it wasn’t about what the Pope wanted because the Pope does not belong to himself. The people carrying him wanted to carry him and so he humbly allowed them to.

  53. “I really have a hard time comprehending what would be great about it. Just another target for secular humanists to take aim at…”

    Not to mention potential assassins, thus sufficient reason to eschew the custom in favor of a more secure Popemobile. Too bad, really, but a sign of our unfortunate times.

Comments are closed.