Monday, 8 April 2013

The Schtick

It was something of a blast from the past to see this pastoral staff, which I thought had been relegated to some store-room in the Vatican. It belonged first to Pope Paul VI. and was used by his successors until Pope Benedict changed it for another. Historically, Popes never carried croziers, and only occasionally a triple-barred cross; no doubt Paul VI felt the lack of something in his hand. Neither the cross of Paul VI nor that of Benedict were historical: I'd prefer if both were quietly dropped.
The occasion for this cross's sudden reappearance was the dedication of a large slab of the square outside the basilica of St John Lateran to the memory of Papa Wojtyla; no doubt its use suggested itself to Papa Bergoglio as being appropriate for the occasion.

9 comments:

Jon said...

Where would you get the idea that historically popes didn't carry a ferula?

Benedict's was made for Pius IX.

Fr Ray Blake said...

No Father, the blessing occurred before His Holiness entered the Basillica and vested for Mass

Patricius said...

I have the impression that Pope Francis is something of a puritan. A pity he couldn't find some nicer looking vestments for Eastertide!

Victor said...

@Jon: No, Father is right. The popes had a ferula, but they never used it - instead, it was carried before them, much like a processional cross. Using it as a crozier was an innovation of Paul VI.

The Saint Bede Studio said...

Victor: this is untrue.

The ferula was used at the Solemn Papal Masses for the Blessing and was also used at the Openings of the Holy Door. Photographs exist of Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII using the ferula of Pius IX, as in, HOLDING it.

This is quite different from the Processional Crosses which were borne before the Pope.

See my Blog for further details.

The commotion surrounding the reappearance of the Paul VI papal staff is quite tedious.

Pastor in Valle said...

Okay, perhaps I should have been clearer. My point was that no Pope before Paul VI used a crozier or used a cross as a crozier. I am well aware of the ferula and its use when opening holy doors.
In Rome no bishop carried a crozier, except, I believe those being consecrated bishops at the ceremony itself.
Paul VIs cross was a sort of cross between two things; though a crucifix (for the first time, I think; formerly the cross had been without figure), it was slightly bent over at the top to convey the idea of a crozier.

Fr William R. Young said...

Art-work of this kind, much imitated in cheap emulations, all of which now look cheap and tawdry, were, I believe, all originally solid silver, and so very expensive. So as to look "poor" they were oxidised to give them that grey, unsplendid look that divides opinions so effectively. Nevertheless, like the tarnished silver coins which were also currency in the 60s, it is worth its weight in silver. There is the one, obvious reason I am reluctant to suggest that it be sold and the money given to the poor, so perhaps it should be copied in iron, and the original be put in a museum of mid-twentieth century art.

Chris said...

In Rome no bishop carried a crozier, except, I believe those being consecrated bishops at the ceremony itself.

And, presumably, at the occasional ceremonies where it is essential - the dedication of a church is one such, IIRC.

Presumably the major basilicas, at least, would have been consecrated by the Pope himself - the new St Peter's under a liturgical dispensation very similar to the immediately pre-conciliar. I wonder, would he have taken a crozier for the writing on the floor, or used the ferula?

Roseanne Therese Sullivan said...

I've seen a lot of hatred of this cross by traditional Catholics. The truth is that it was modeled on a drawing St. John of the Cross did of a vision that he had of Christ crucified. No it's not a Satanic symbol. Salvador Dali painted "The Cross of St. John of the Cross." Pope John Paul II almost became a Carmelite contemplative, which may be one reason why he liked this staff, since St. John of the Cross is one of the great Carmelite saints. Taylor Marshall has a good writeup about the source of the design. http://www.taylormarshall.com/2007/12/papal-pastoral-staff-or-crosier.html