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Pope Francis will no longer impose the pallium on Archbishops...

A letter dated 12 January was sent out to all the nunciatures by Msgr. Guido Marini, the papal Master of Ceremonies.  HERE

Pope Francis has changed the way the pallium will be distributed to new Metropolitan Archbishops.

The pallium is a liturgical vestment comprised of strips of white wool embroidered with black crosses, held together with pins, worn over the shoulders at certain solemn events.  It symbolizes the close union of the archbishop, and his region, with the See of Peter.  For a long time, new Archbishops would travel to Rome to receive the pallium from the hands of the Roman Pontiff in St. Peter’s Basilica on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Before they receive the pallium, the archbishops take a public oath in Latin:

Ego… Archiepiscopus… beato Petro apostolo,  Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae, ac tibi, Summo Pontifici,  tuisque legitimis Successoribus  semper fidelis ero et oboediens.   Ita me Deus omnipotens adiuvet.

I… Archbishop of the _____ diocese (these are adjectives) will always be faithful and obedient to St. Peter the apostle, the Holy Roman Church, and to you, the Supreme Pontiff and to your legitimate Successors. So help me God Almighty.

No longer.

Now the pallium will be given to the Archbishops in their local churches.

I suppose that will give bishops of suffragan dioceses a chance to be present, as well as more people from the region.

Once upon a time, the pallium was simply sent out to those who were to receive it.  There is nothing new here, historically speaking.   Also, there is nothing magical about the pallium.  It doesn’t make an archbishop more of an archbishop.

However, …

Although the pallium will still probably be blessed by Pope Francis on 29 June, and although the pallium is still supposed to symbolize  the union of the archbishops with the Bishop of Rome, and although I imagine that the archbishops will still make the same oath, probably in the vernacular (since, after all, who uses Latin?), the sign value of the archbishop receiving it from the hands of the Successor of Peter will be lost.

Keep in mind that Pope Francis has as part of his project for his pontificate, to weaken the Roman Curia and decentralize the Church.  Whatever other value sending the pallium out to local churches might have, I see this move also as part of that project.


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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

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-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."