The Holy Father’s new Ferula

You may have seen that the Holy Father has a new ferula, in place of the older one from the time of Bl. Pius IX.

Pope Benedict began his pontificate using the staff of the late John Paul II.  Then he changed to the more traditional ferula.  Now he has his own ferula.

He is a shot from 1st Vespers of the 1st Sunday of Advent in the Vatican Basilica.

OH!  And nice mitre there, too!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Looks very good, there is nothing like a “tailored” to fit ferula.

  2. medievalist says:

    Pope Benedict is only the second Holy Father I have ever known, being born during the long pontificate of John Paul II. I really only started paying attention to the late pope during his later, frail years. To see the current Holy Father looking so “papal”, using worthy vestments and mitres, and commissioning a new ferula is a great blessing. While John Paul’s ailments and death taught us an important lesson about suffering (and I loved him for it), his inability to carry off such liturgical events may have perpetuated the current state of liturgical affairs. Benedict reminds us that Peter is among us.

  3. dferraro says:

    May GOD Grant HIM Many More Years, Viva Il Papa!

  4. JosephMary says:

    Did you happen to notice the beautiful miter and the image of Our Lady?

  5. antanas says:

    The Holy Father’s new ferula has on the four points of the Cross the images of Saint Augustine, Saint Ambrose, Saint Athanasius and Saint John Chrysostom.
    They are Doctors of the Church who “support” the Chair of St Peter at St Peter’s Basilica.
    It’s also known that many Anglicans will be “responding” to the Holy Father’s Apostolic Constitution next February 22th.
    Things to pray for…

  6. P.McGrath says:

    This is strictly a guess on my part, but let me put it out here:

    The new ferula that we see here is based on one he’s been carrying recently, which was used by Blessed Pope Pius IX. We’ve seen the pics of it here on WDTPRS and on other blogs.

    My guess is that the older ferula may have been a bit heavy for Papa Benny. So he commissioned an artist to create a new, lighter-weight ferula.

    Am I making sense here?

    Also, a commenter notes on NLM here that the precious miter is from Pius IX. So he traded a ferula from Pius IX for a miter. Good trade.

  7. prsuth33 says:

    I, like Medievalist, have known two popes. I must say that I sincerely love Pope Benedict XVI and his liturgical vision for the Church. Save the liturgy, save the world, indeed! With that being said, others with whom I associate aren’t as enthusiastic. Take a guess why. Long live Pope Benedict XVI, a true blessing during these tumultuous times! Great picture, isn’t it?

  8. Mitchell NY says:

    I love the new Ferula, seems to fit perfectly the Benedictine “style”. I would like to see him use the triple bar cross the Pope John Paul II used once. That harks back to tradition in a very telling and symbolic way. I am curious about the triple bar. Has anyone besides John Paul II used it in recent decades? Perhaps Paul VI in an undocumented or unphotographed moment? Who originally created this one? How many Ferula exist to choose from? The Holy Father looked good during Vespers yesterday. His hand seems healed and he looks rested after his time in Castel Gandolpho this summer. I wish many, many more years for this wonderful Pope. Viva Il Papa !

  9. Geoffrey says:

    Am I the only one who misses the staff used by John Paul the Great and Paul VI? I remember the feeling of comfort I felt when Pope Benedict XVI used that staff for the first time. To me, and probably to many, it signified continuity with the only Pope we had known. Granted, I like the new one, but why not alternate occasionally?

  10. I am delighted by the idea that we have at long last put behind us the days in which newly commissioned liturgical objects had to look like melting globs more or less squeezed into a recognizable shape.

  11. Sacristymaiden says:

    I totally agree with you Fr. Z! I absolutely HATE it when you see objects that look like melted candles-meets-modern art, and after a minute you figure out that it is supposed to be a cross or crucifix.

  12. edwardo3 says:

    I think the new Ferula is the epitome of noble simplicity called for by the Council Fathers and which is consistant with Catholic thought on the use of the arts. It is beautifully designed, masterfully executed, fits both the Holy Father and St. Peter’s, and finally the symbolism is truly incredible, especially when we are seeking a re-union with our orthodox brethren. It’s high time true noble simplicity replace the simply ugly of the past forty odd years.

  13. kenoshacath says:

    The Holy Father’s Mitre reminds us that we have to continue to pray fervently to end the atrocity of abortion.

    Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for us and all the unborn!

  14. Kimberly says:

    There is something very regal about it.

  15. irishgirl says:

    That’s a nice picture of Papa Benedict with his ‘new’ ferula.

    I also like the miter he’s wearing-it has Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception on it!

    Long live our German Shepherd!

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    The mitre is said to be one from Pope Pius IX, circa 1854.

  17. KAS says:

    Everything Pope Benedict XVI is wearing and carrying in this picture is stunning and filled with symbolism and meaning–I LOVE it!!

    I loved the way Pope John Paul II dressed and the ferula he carried too. Pope John Paul II’s style was a beautiful simplicity. Pope Benedict XVI’s style is a beautiful complexity. It is wonderful!

  18. That’s a beautiful mitre. But I still say:


  19. Titus says:

    Re: the triple-barred papal staff

    I’m not sure that such a staff has actually been carried by modern (and I mean modern in a historical sense, including the 19th century) popes, at least not with any frequency. My understanding was that this staff is a largely artistic device used to represent the papacy, rather than a common accoutrement in real life.

    That being said, I could be mistaken and would love for someone to prove me wrong.

  20. ssoldie says:

    My, the beauty, solemnity, and mystery of tradition.

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