by Anura Guruge
1/ Cardinal Angelo Scola’s ‘Promotion’ To Milan Bolsters His Papabile Standing — June 28, 2011 post.
Cardinal Scola receiving his Milan pallium from the pope. From the Milan diocese Web site, www.chiesadimilano.it
On Wednesday, September 21, 2001, on the eve of his 4 day trip to Germany, Benedict XVI (#266) took time off to confer a new pallium on the recently appointed Archbishop of Milan (Europe’s largest diocese), his close friend, and my #4 papabile, Cardinal Angelo Scola — at Castel Gandolfo.
Per ‘recent’ norms this was an exception. In ‘modern’ times, the pope confers palliums on all of the recently appointed Archbishops on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, which fall on June 29. On June 29, 2011, Cardinal Scola had not been installed as Archbishop of Milan — he was still the Patriarch of Venice, and palliums are not transferable.
Louis Epstein, our frequent contributor, was the first to point out the possible significance of this ‘out-of-cycle’ pallium conference. He did so with this Comment on Sept. 21:
“Today’s Vatican news bulletin has a batch of appointments and a remarkable note that the Pope has imposed the pallium for Milan on Cardinal Scola at Castel Gandolfo,rather than making him wait for the worldwide ceremony at the Vatican next June. (It’s a curious practice that a pallium is neither handed on between holders of a metropolitan see,nor kept when a metropolitan archbishop moves from one see to another,but a new one is procured from the wool of those blessed-then-slaughtered-and-eaten lambs each time man or office changes). Rocco Palmo is “Whispering” (well,Tweeting, he hasn’t blogged) that this marks Scola as B XVI’s chosen successor,but there are no sure things).”
Then last night, David Destefanis sent me a nice e-mail suggesting that I really should do a post about Scola’s new pallium. He also sent me this article. That article points out that September 21, 2011, happened to be the 20th anniversary of Angelo Scola’s ordination as a bishop.
I am hesitant to read too much into this incident.
I have a feeling that people are equating the conference of this Milan pallium to Cardinal Scola to what Albino Luciani (i.e. John Paul I (#264)) said in his first Angelus about Paul VI placing a STOLE on his shoulders on a footbridge in St. Mark’s Sqaure in Venice, when Luciani was the Patriarch there. Yes, I will agree that the symbolism is the same. But, I even checked the original Italian. Paul VI placed his STOLE on Luciani, not a pallium.
When getting to Rome was not as easy as it is now, palliums used to be conferred to new Archbishops on their first visit to Rome. So, there was no fixed day as is the case now. If the pope was not in town, the cardinal protodeacon would confer the pallium or palliums. So, one could say that, given that it was the cardinal’s 20th anniversary as a bishop, this was just a small ceremony by the pope for one of his closest friends.
The pope did not have to present a pallium to the cardinal for us to know that the pope thinks very highly of Scola. That is well known and no secret. Hence, why he is my #4 papabile, up one place from my 2009 list. I still think Scola is too young.
Since around the ninth century, the wearing of palliums had become the exclusive prerogative of popes and metropolitans.
Then John Paul II (#265) bent the rules a bit — without in any way saying that this should be the new norm. When his friend, Joseph Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) became the Dean of the College of Cardinals in 2002, he presented Ratzinger with a pallium though Ratzinger was not a metropolitan! When Ratzinger became pope he conferred a pallium to the new Dean, Cardinal Sodano — though as yet there is no documentation that this is to be a new custom.
Prior to Benedict XVI’s papacy, palliums were about three fingers wide, mainly white, with six black crosses. Made from wool, some say that it is meant to symbolize a lamb being carried on the shoulders of a shepherd. Thus, it was worn in a loop-like manner across the shoulders and chest, with two tails – front and back, each ending in a black pendant. The tails and the loops created a ‘Y’ shape both forward and aft. Four of the crosses were on the loop, with one cross each on the tails.
Ahead of the 2005 election, the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, aware that the new pope would most likely continue with the pallium tradition at the inauguration started by John Paul I in 1978, issued new guidelines for its design. They harked back to its style in ancient times. Consequently, it was to be broader, more loosely draped, with the tails, now longer, hanging on the left (rather than the center). The one worn by the pope would have five red crosses, three pierced by pins to denote the five wounds and three nails of Christ’s Crucifixion. The pins, typically jeweled, will be used to keep the pallium in place.
Per custom, the wool used to make palliums, whether for the pope or metropolitans, comes mainly from two lambs. These lambs are specifically blessed each year on the feast day of St. Agnes (i.e., January 21), usually by the pope, and kept at Sant’Agnese fuori la mura (Saint Agnes Outside-the-Wall), one of Rome’s minor basilicas. Cloistered, white-habited Benedictine nuns of St. Cecilia, living in a convent adjacent to Rome’s Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, weave the actual palliums. Once woven, they are placed until needed in a golden casket above the tomb of St. Peter at the Vatican. The palliums now worn by popes, the successors of St. Peter, contain wool from both lambs and sheep, since in John 21, Jesus tells ‘Simon Peter,’ both to ‘feed my lambs’ and ‘feed my sheep.’
Palliums from page 201 of 'The Next Pope 2011' by Anura Guruge
Click to play video of the pallium ceremony from the Archdiocese of Milan.
Click to play video.