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Pope changes another tradition: each new archbishop will receive pallium in his own archdiocese

January 28, 2015

Pope Francis has decided that each newly appointed metropolitan archbishop should be formally vested with the pallium at a ceremony in his own archdiocese, rather than the ceremony traditionally held at the Vatican basilica each year on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The pallium is a white woolen strip, worn around the neck in liturgical functions, symbolizing the union between a metropolitan archbishop and the Bishop of Rome. For years, each new archbishop has received his pallium directly from the Pontiff, during Mass on the patronal feast of the Church of Rome, on June 29.

However, Pope Francis has said that each archbishop should receive the pallium in his own archdiocese, from the apostolic nuncio, the Pope’s representative in the country. Msgr. Guido Marini, the master of liturgical ceremonies, explained in a letter to new archbishops that Pope Francis thought this ceremony would “greatly favor the participation of the local Church.”

The local ceremony, highlighting the role of the metropolitan archbishop, will also help to reinforce the understanding of synodality in the government of the universal Church, the Pope suggested.

Despite the change, Pope Francis has invited each of the new archbishops to join him in Rome on June 29, and concelebrate Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Pope will bless each pallium, and if the archbishop is present he will present the vestment to him privately after the Mass. But the formal installation will take place in the archdiocese.


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  • Posted by: koinonia - Jan. 29, 2015 1:05 PM ET USA

    The Church is an enduring institution with traditions that reflect truths and bear witness to reality before men. These teach by example. The Holy Father matters. Rome matters. The papacy matters. Authority matters. Even today's turbulent times men look to Rome and to Peter. The "marginalized" look to Peter. "Lefebvrists" look to Peter. Simon asked, "Lord, to whom should we go?" Humility notwithstanding, we look to Rome and to her vital bishop as our shepherd and our authority.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Jan. 28, 2015 11:21 PM ET USA

    I wonder if he is mainly bothered prelates come to Rome and are wined and dined with elaborate parties on such occasions. He'd rather something like receiving the Pallium was associated with a loving relationship of the bishop with his flock rather than being exalted in the centers of power.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 28, 2015 8:41 PM ET USA

    One of the growing problems in the Church is growing archdiocesan bureaucracies, which causes the Ordinary's authority and his responsibilities to be watered down as they tend to be constantly delegated to someone else. Receiving the pallium in a local ceremony will serve as an important reminder to all of who is in charge and who is responsible for the local Church.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 28, 2015 8:27 PM ET USA

    I think this will strengthen the image of the Metropolitan Archbishop and allow the Province to see the relationship among the bishops of the province and how synodality is not an abstraction but a functioning reality in the Latin Rite. It also saves $$$ on a trip to Rome.