Staff breaks? Staff it out!

So… Pope goes to Sarajevo.  He was to use the Paul VI style pastoral staff/crucifix along with his most favoritest vestments, which are by now so very very familiar.  Via Vatican Insider.

Problem: the Paul VI staff broke!

Oh dear… what a shame!

Thinking fast, Msgr. Guido Marini, head of the Pope’s liturgy staff, working against the clock, fixed it the staff with … I’m not making this up… adhesive tape.

One of my friends from Rome tweeted: “Even Paul VI must have thought, ‘I don’t want my ferula to be part of this.”

I dunno… which would be better.  Enter without a staff, or enter with a staff fixed with sticky tape?

Pope Francis arrives to lead the mass at the stadium in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 6, 2015.    REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Francis arrives to lead the mass at the stadium in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Max Rossi

“Taaape up the Croooss….”

In another post, HERE, I mentioned that when I travel, I always take some gaffers tape.

The story says that when Pius IX’s ferula used by Benedict XVI was damaged, a copy was made and no noticed the difference.

I think they noticed this time.


Msgr. Guido Marini, papal MC, is pretty unflappable.

And dig the dramatic music!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I’m thinking…
    Gandalf 1
    Francis 0

  2. pseudomodo says:

    Holy DUCT TAPE, Batman!!

    Of course I’m using the batman term in the military sense. (A batman (or batwoman) is a soldier or airman assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal servant. Before the advent of motorized transport, an officer’s batman was also in charge of the officer’s “bat-horse” that carried the pack saddle with his officer’s kit during a campaign.)

    Go Guido Magyver Marini!!

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    I think that’s endearing. That’s what normal people do when something breaks. Even his favoritest vestments sort of grow on me. They’re the kind of thing my pastor would wear.

  4. Warren says:

    Red Green would be proud!

  5. Emilio says:

    Well kudos to Msgr. Marini, can any one of us doubt that a man of his experience and responsibility did the best that he could in that particular situation? I chuckled at pseudomodo’s comment above, because every competent liturgical MC is a kind of “MacGuyver” in his own right, and I speak as former lay MC of five years for my old home parish. You learn to think fast and work with what you have, and with what different situations and (especially) people, throw your way, all the while serving in the role with great discretion and decorum. The pressures of such a job are indescribable and love of God, of the Sacred Liturgy and of the community enable you to get through. The most satisfying compliments for my efforts were hearing others say: “that was such a beautiful Mass,” without ever mentioning me at all. And yes, I kept a roll of duct tape and some “super glue” hidden in the sacristy, they are great in a pinch.. But sadly my work never involved Papal Pastoral Staffs!

  6. pj_houston says:

    Broken staff, how indicative of this pontificate.

  7. Robbie says:

    I’m not sure I find using a broken ferula or wearing the vestments of Paul VI to be endearing, but maybe that’s because I’m one of those neopalagian legalists!

    All kidding aside, I understand the message the Pope wants to demonstrate (a poor Church for the poor), but this is the papacy. Wearing a frayed white cassock and using a staff held together with duct tape seems a bit beneath the dignity of the papacy.

    Would the Pope’s message be any less well received if he wore the vestments of Benedict XVI or even John XXIII?

  8. historyb says:

    Duct tape fixes lots of things and works :)

  9. Dennis Martin says:

    It even works on ducts.

  10. drohan says:

    I give the good monsignor credit. He was able to effect a temporary fix. It might seem a little tacky, but I prefer to see him with the staff than without it. Sometimes even the Holy Father has to make do from time to time.

  11. w0343009 says:

    Maybe we have finally seen the last of it?

  12. Latin Mass Type says:

    My favorite Msgr. Guido Marini video–


  13. Max says:

    Duct tape use #1753: fixes liturgical mishaps. ;)

    We always carry 100 mph duct tape. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the military: until now. “You should never find yourself abroad without a roll of 100 mph tape in your pocket. Never.”

  14. Dialogos says:

    I for one would not be sorry to see that staff and its copies put out to pasture: it is hideously ugly (and yes, I suppose one could point out that crucifixion itself is brutally ugly) but why not move beyond the bad artwork days of the Spirit of Vatican II?

  15. ? “Tape up your cross…” ?

    [I kick myself for not getting that one in first. Low hanging fruit. Well done!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  16. organistjason says:

    The picture of this Bishop of Rome, with a broken crozier, is a picture that gives many of us a visual image to describe the state of the Church at this point in time. Broken…..Perhaps he could start using the Crozier used by Benedict XVI now……..well….one can hope.

  17. Stephen Matthew says:

    Perhaps Pope Francis will commission a new one, or even better some aspiring artist (God willing one with both real artistic skill and true devotion to Christ and His Church) may hear of this and send one as a gift.

  18. snoozie says:

    I can think of a couple other things to do with that duct tape.

  19. Norah says:

    The media will love this. First frayed cuffs and now Paul VI staff mended with duct tape.

  20. Bea says:

    Maybe God doesn’t like the image on this particular cross.
    I notice it broke right below the image.

    I agree.
    I’m afraid duct tape won’t work here, unless used in the proximity below the nose/above the chin.

  21. Latin Mass Type says:

    I’m seeing the frayed cuff juxtaposed with the cappa magna worn by Cardinal Burke over at Crustx. (They have a badly captioned photo spread and article with lots of disparaging combox comments. No surprise.)

    I’m hearing lots of chatter about how St. Francis hated all that finery and would have sold it and bought food for the poor or used the money to fight global warming…or something.

  22. Lutgardis says:

    I’m not going over to Crux to see the St. Francis chatter myself, but I hope someone has set commentators straight about his actual view on proper liturgy. Crisis had a good article just a few days ago:

    “So what are some aspects of Saint Francis’s life detailed in Thompson’s book that will surprise many? One is that although he sought radical detachment from the world, Francis believed that he and his followers should engage in manual labor in order to procure necessities like food. Begging was always a secondary alternative (29). Another is that Francis thought that the Church’s sacramental life required careful preparation, use of the finest sacred vessels (32), and proper vestments (62). This is consistent with Francis’s conviction that one’s most direct contact with God was in the Mass, “not in nature or even in service to the poor” (61). While Francis is rightly called a peacemaker and one who loved the poor, Thompson stresses the saint’s “absolute lack of any program of legal or social reforms” (37). The word “poverty” itself appears rarely in Francis’s own writing (246). It seems Francis also thought that it was absolute rather than relative poverty which “always had a claim on compassion” (40).”

  23. Hank Igitur says:

    Surely s sign from Heaven?

  24. marcelus says:

    Goes hand in hand with the Pope’s frayed cassock.

    Two different churches.

  25. gramma10 says:

    Frankly I find it very refreshing. Natural normal quick fix at the last minute!
    The Pope is a human being just like us all. He knows it and acts it.
    I personally love it!

  26. VexillaRegis says:

    You do what you have to do:-)

    I will cling to the old rugged cross
    and exchange it one day for a crown.

    Vexilla regis prodeunt,
    fulget crucis mysterium,
    quo carne carnis conditor
    suspensus est patibulo.

    The banners of the king issue forth,
    the mystery of the cross does gleam,
    where the creator of flesh, in the flesh,
    by the cross-bar is hung.

  27. Mike Morrow says:

    I suspect that there is a perfectly sound and intact shaft under all that tape.

  28. Phil_NL says:

    Forgot to pack a back-up staff for His Holiness on a foreign trip? Big fail!

    Using duck-tape to patch up the broken one? Well, depends on the circumstances. If all else fails, it might be best. Also, the Pope isn’t a young man. He might use it for support as well.

    But now for the major question: was blessed duck tape used? And which formula is appropriate to bless duct tape? Now those are the deep questions in this story…

  29. Mariana2 says:

    Maybe special yellow and white Vatican duct tape should be commissioned for Msgr Marini’s kit?

    Make shift mantillas from duct tape?

  30. Mariana2 says:


  31. Prayerful says:

    Well as someone has well said, the Pope has decided to tape up his cross. I think it takes humility a little too far. I’d have thought his staff would have duplicates or replacements of certain keys things. I also dislike the Paul VI cross, with a sort of demotic Jansenist look to it, although Pope Francis in emphasising God’s mercy over His justice, rather than the reverse, is decidedly not Jansenist.

  32. Latin Mass Type says:


    Thanks for the reminder that I need to buy Fr. Thompson’s book! (Doesn’t he frequent this blog?)

  33. papaefidelis says:

    Now that the duct tape has been applied, it has become traditional for the Scorzeli Cruci-monster to bear the “duct tape bulge”! Conspiracy theorist will doubt the validity of any future pope whose Papal ferula does not bear the duct tape bulge. It now represents the office of successor to St. Peter, whose hand hold together the Church amidst a broken world. Some will argue that the duct tape is just another sign of the Church’s opulence and suggest that the tape be removed, auctioned on eBay (or its successor), and the proceeds distributed to the poor. Others will note that it serves a practical purpose, as a handle for the pope to hold. If this were the late 19th century, Pio IX would have established the Office of the Ducttapist of the Papal Ferula, with appropriate vesture to the office and gold scissors inscribed with the papal coat-of-arms. But, alas!

  34. Skeinster says:

    Duct tape is currently a big craft item, especially among tween girls. It comes in all colors, including the metallics. Maybe they should stock up on those.
    The fix doesn’t bother me particularly- I’d rather a repaired one than none at all.

  35. Mojoron says:

    East fix, Go to their equal to Lowes and pick up some pewter colored spray paint and spray the tape.

  36. a man and his duct tape. no further comment.

  37. Broken staff, how indicative of this pontificate.

    we are all broken and in need of some good duct tape.

  38. asperges says:

    I had hoped we had seen the last of this ghastly cross when Benedict changed it for something more fitting. it’s a pity the ever-watchful and patient Mgr Marini had the tape with him; he could have simply just written it off . Perhaps he could work on the tawdry vestments next. Little by little.

  39. DonL says:

    Maybe if we just have nations (re)distribute the wealth, we can avoid the cross entirely? Hmmm, how symbolic that broken crucifix is of todays ruptured Church.

  40. LarryW2LJ says:

    If something is broken and either duct tape or WD-40 won’t effect a repair ….. then it’s time to toss in the towel.

  41. Actually…duck tape is like the force: it has a light side and a dark side and holds the universe together.

    In this case, the Paul VI ferula.

    When I was working as an engineer for ABC (the US network, not Aussie), our go-kits always had a full roll of gaffer/duck tape in the box. Handy for taping over cables on the floor at press conferences, lashing your mic to someone else’s (as long as you asked), taping batteries together, using as a sign to mark your spot on the press bus, or thinking of how it would look across the mouth of some droning politician giving speech #13 (out of the 25 canned speeches they had) for the umpteenth time during a campaign.

    Props to Marini for repairing the staff; I would have used some JB Weld and a sleeve of clear shrink tubing myself before resorting to that. But, that’s just me.

  42. CradleRevert says:

    With that ferula…I think it would have been better to just enter without a staff.

  43. cl00bie says:

    You do what you have to. Well done, Holy Father!

  44. While respectful of Msgr. G. Marini’s efforts, not a fan of that crucifix. Not only is Christ’s posture indecent, this style of Jansenist Crucifix was condemned, as all unworthy art and music once was. Duct tape…its gonna take more than that LOL.

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