At the Italian blog Messa in Latino we receive news about the Canons of St. Peter’s Basilica that was in Il Messaggero.
What, who are canons?
There are all sorts of canons. “Canon” is applied to the list of books of Scripture, the individual laws in a collection called the Code, and to certain persons.
In the Roman, Latin Church among the things that canon can mean is a members of a group called a chapter (capitulum) or college. Historically they would live together. Today, not so much. Cathedrals and great churches had chapters which saw to the financial and material issues of the buildings, holdings, etc. They had also a liturgical role to sing the office and to be present at liturgical functions. Canons had particular dress and their living from the chapter.
In Europe there are still chapters, but these structures have disappeared in these USA.
The major basilicas of Rome have chapters of canons, including St. Peter’s. The 24 main canons (there are other “honorary canons”, clerics who need some income) have been an important component of the whole life of this important basilica. They have for centuries been present for papal functions. They have participated in the administration of the goods, holdings and buildings associated with the basilica. They have their own chapel in St. Peter’s and a sacristy.
For centuries, indeed a millennium, since at least the 10th century, canons have been central to the life of St. Peter’s, old and new.
Messa in Latino reports something from Il Messaggero:
The Pope forbids Canons to enter St. Peter’s
1 May 2021 by Franca Giansoldati
Vatican City – “Forbidden to enter St. Peter’s. Today the canons of the Basilica cannot enter. Orders from Superiors.” This is the phrase uttered by an embarrassed worker at the Basilica, delivered to the disconcerted Canons of St. Peter’s who today had desired to participate in the Rosary with Pope Francis.
For some time now, however, the canons – there are about thirty of them – seem to be in Pope Francis’ crosshairs. It is probably one of those sectors in which he would like to bring some order. A few years ago the Pope, seeing two canons during a solemn function serving behind the Cardinals in their usual fuchsia-colored garb, it is said that the dumbfounded Pope asked who were “those two priests dressed in technicolor”.
After the Suppression of individual Masses in St. Peter’s, and now this, one wonders what we might read in the near future.
“St. Peter’s converted to museum. Residual liturgies moved to Paul VI Audience Hall.”