The Tablet Blog
The Pope and his tiaraRobert Mickens in Erfurt
24 September 2011, 9:00
Pope Benedict XVI and his closest liturgical aides -- Mgr Guido Marini, the master of ceremonies, and Mgr Georg Gaenswein, his personal secretary -- pay careful attention to what type of vestments he wears and for which occasions.
So it was interesting to note that on Friday, during an ecumenical prayer service in the former Augustinian church (now Protestant) where Martin Luther was ordained and celebrated his first Mass, the Pope wore a stole that depicted his personal coat of arms topped by the triple-crown tiara. Talk about sending a message! If there is anyone who railed against the imperial papacy, it was surely Luther.
You might remember that much was made of the fact that, upon his election, Benedict XVI was the first pope ever to relinquish the tiara for his coat of arms and replace it with a bishop's mitre. But since Mgr G. Marini was hired he he has worn any number of vestments that include his arms topped with the triple-crown. And, of course, the Pope publicly received a tiara that was given to him as a gift and once hung a tapestry below his window overlooking St Peter's Square showing his papal shield with the tiara.
Aides justify all this is as being part of that 'hermeneutic of continuity'. But sometimes there is a good reason to throw things out or put them on the shelf for good. Not everything that was deemed necessary in the past is good for the present - or helpful in moving into the future.
20 October 2011 22:11 (16 of 16)
The latest news is that a new contraption is used to wheel B16 up to the altar. Might not some one whisper in his ear that he's past it. His predecessor scandalised us all by hanging on when he was obviously gaga. He's getting infallibility a bad name!
29 September 2011 19:35 (15 of 16)
Re: film 'The shoes of the Fisherman'. The Pope elected addressed the crowd in St.Peter's Square: 'Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose Vicar I am, was crowned with thorns. I stand before you bareheaded because I am your servant.' The Church needs to abolish the pomp dating from Constantine's time and would win many converts as a result. Christ was always dressed simply in spite of being the King of kings.
28 September 2011 17:31 (14 of 16)
It is surely very clear that Mr Murphy is speaking on behalf of a more numerous 'us', but perhaps he is using a 'Royal we', like monarchs and popes used to use, but not adopted by Benedict XVI. I agree with you when you say that sometimes people need to hear a message they do not want to hear. However, I would prefer to trust in the teaching of the Pope, who is only reaffirming existing teaching, than in the opinions of Messrs Mickens or Murphy or - with all due respect - yourself. The reformed tradition exists to cater for that approach.
28 September 2011 16:40 (13 of 16)
I do not think that J Murphy is claiming to speak on behalf of anyone else when he says Robert Mickens is doing us a service in drawing our attention to the Pope's use of the symbol of the triple-crown. Even if every other Catholic in the world shared the reaction of Donal Lowry it would not mean that Mr Murphy is wrong. Very often the message people need to hear is not the one they want.
27 September 2011 14:30 (12 of 16)
Who is the 'us' on whose behalf you claim to speak, Mr Murphy? Where is your mandate? It certainly isn't me, nor most of the Catholics I know, whose reaction varies from 'don't care' to 'glad to hear it'.Neither does it represent the millions who have turned out to greet the Holy Father across the world, from 'anti-clerical' Madrid, to post-Protestant England, to Reformation Germany, to Australia. Do you represent more than these people? I think not.
27 September 2011 10:55 (11 of 16)
As you say Robert - these symbols are not placed by accident. You're doing us all a service by drawing attention to them. Expressions of power and imperialism are weighing very heavily on us at the moment. Not the Good News we live in hope of.
27 September 2011 7:27 (10 of 16)
Definitely a case of 'a stitch in time'..
26 September 2011 19:54 (9 of 16)
Mr. Drake: Does Christ need a 'Vicar' on earth? My understanding of Catholic teaching is that He is very much with us until then end...every Eucharist....and always. Another title Pope Benedict could well eliminate...along with the monarchical robes! Forget the 'restoration'... let's move on!
26 September 2011 12:25 (8 of 16)
Profound Robert - with everything that was going on in Germany and all that the Pope said in his various addresses, you really hit the nub of the matter and distilled down to what really matters. Others might focus on his insightful comments on faith and reason, but when looking to criticise, you manage to look a fine needlepoint. Good work?
26 September 2011 1:03 (7 of 16)
Some of you are beginning to sound like the windbags here in the U.S. ANY criticism of US policy for example is met with 'Why do you hate America?' Conservative Catholics who seem to relish exercises of papal and episcopal power practically stand up and cheer boisterously any time Rome or a bishop acts to 'silence' someone. This does no one any good and only deepens antipathy within the church.
25 September 2011 20:13 (6 of 16)
There seems to be a certain striving to take offence going on here...
25 September 2011 17:18 (5 of 16)
Excellent news! That Robert Mickens is disappointed is not surprising: he is always wheeled out by the BBC as their favourite dissident Catholic. For his own sake, he'd better get used to it, for the permanent revolution of the past 40 years is at an end.
25 September 2011 1:45 (4 of 16)
> But sometimes there is a good reason to throw things out or put them on the shelf for good.
In your enthusiasm to criticize the Pope and Msgr. Marini, you seem to have forgotten to tell us what you feel the good reason is.
25 September 2011 0:39 (3 of 16)
Why do you folks hate Christ so much as to attack his Vicar?
25 September 2011 0:11 (2 of 16)
Are you serious? You really have a problem with an embroidered papal tiara? A four-inch-tall embroidered papal tiara? My goodness, you must have a hard time with life in general.
24 September 2011 20:54 (1 of 16)
Not everything. But this IS good. He IS the pope, the successor to Peter, Christ's vicar on earth!