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CORONATION, PAPAL

Liturgical action by which the newly elected Pope had the tiara solemnly placed on his head by the senior cardinal-deacon. His pontificate officially began on this date, although he possesses jurisdiction from the monument he accepts the election by the cardinals. Pope John Paul I changed the custom of papal coronation with the tiara. when assuming office on September 3, 1978, he was formally invested with the pallium instead of the traditional papal tiara at a Mass he concelebrated with members of the college of cardinals. The simplicity of the ceremony symbolized the Pope's sensitivity to the pastoral needs of the Church and the world. Pope John Paul II followed the same practice when he was invested the following month, on October 22, 1978. Referring to the crowning with the tiara, he said on that occasion, "This is not the time to return to a ceremony and an object considered--perhaps wrongly--to be a symbol of the temporal power of the popes. Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us, to gaze on the Lord and to immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself."

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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