Thursday, July 31, 2008

The holy tiara and those who never understood it...


"The gift of the Tiara occured on 13th November 1964, shortly before the Holy Father's departure for Bombay. The pope concelebrated Mass in St. Peter's according to the Byzantine rite together with the Melchite Patriarch. At the end of the liturgy the Secretary General of the Council publicly recalled that according to Jesus Christ's example, the Church had always been the mother of the poor, and that accordingly, the pope was donating his tiara to them.

The Holy Father himself, among the acclamations of the crowd, approached the altar and laid the tiara upon it. The gesture aroused a great surprise, for not all approved of it; it meant that his succesors had to renounce it too. [bonk!] With this gesture the pope was giving a new view of the very papal ministry. But it was not an impulsive action. The pope intended to live in poverty according to the teachings of Christ and of the Council, which was making use of the expression "Church of the poor."

...And the poor, as he had remarked in Milan years earlier, are always with us, as Christ taught. On one occasion, at the end of the meeting of the St. Vincent Society in Milan, a collection was made. The Archbishop, who never carried money with him, deposited his Episcopal ring in the box.

The last reason for the gift of the tiara was not poverty, but ecumenism. He wanted to avoid by all means anything that might have emphasised distances, misunderstandings, and disagreement between the Catholic Church and the other Christian Churches."

-Paul VI The Man and His Message by Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, English translation 2007.

16 comments:

Iosephus said...

Thank goodness that Benedict XVI has started to recover some of the symbolic trappings of office that were carelessly laid aside by his predecessors.

humboldt said...

Without trying to offend the memory of Paul VI I believe that this was an empty gesture because I don't believe that Jesus wanted us to live always poor. In addition the gesture by Paul VI, which was more theatrical than of substance did not accomplish anything because what defiles a persons comes from the inside not from the outside. There a countless poor people that have a lust for power that is more sinful than the lust for money. I believe that Paul VI made a mistake, although in the ambiance of those years it may had seemed correct. I believe that the Pope should restore the use of the tiara, as this is a liturgical symbol and not a symbol of the Pope's secular power, which I believe the Pope should not have.

humboldt said...

In addition, the doctrinal basis for this gesture by Paul VI has to do more with ideology than with Christian values.

PeterHWright said...

Splendid !

This is a salutary reminder that the primary mission of the Catholic Church is not the relief of poverty, but the salvation of souls.

I honestly do wonder how many more souls have been saved as a result of the abandonment of the papal tiara.

Anonymous said...

As I hahve always believed, the man was totally unfit to be Pope. His agenda and minset were not even Catholic.
Pius XII mistrusted hm after 1953, sending him in exile to Milan without the Cardinals's hat.
Better he had been sent to Iran...just like Bugnini. Then would have never heard from Giovanni Battista Montini again.

(Question, I read something quite scandelous (and probably untrue), last week that there are rumors and even evidence...that Paul VI (as Fr. Giovanni Battista Montini), was gay. If true, it answers alot about his extreme departure from Catholic tradition, embrace of the inprovisational Mass and liturgies, and soft approach to his role as Pope and guide of the Catholic Church.

Hieromonk Gregory said...

As an Orthodox Christian, I am appalled that these judgements against Paul VI are made. How could any of us know what was in his heart, or how he was atoning in Christ for the sins of his life? Remember what the Lord says: I desire mercy and not sacrifice." The Tiara is a rather small matter compared to the assults on the one's personhood.

humboldt said...

Anonymous you are wrong. Pius XII did not Montini to Milan as punishment but as a reward after Montini did not accepte the cardinal hat. I believe that Montini was a very weak man that did not have the strenght to go against what at that time it seemed like the future: communism. In addition I think that he played out politics with the faith, in the false hope that this would ensure the survival of the Catholic Church in a world domninated by the socialist world. And for this he compromised even the application of the II Vatican Council. As for poverty, what matter is the poverty of soul not the exterior poverty. The greatest evils have hidden behind a poor face.

AdamZ said...

Anonymous,
I am troubled by you description of events, which seem to suggest that the Servant of God, Pius XII was a petty minded man who deliberately withheld the red hat from Montini. The facts appear otherwise. Pius XII held his last consistory on 12 January, 1953. Montini was appointed to Milan on 1 November, 1954. It is widely acknowledged that Pius had neglected in his final years, when he was not in the best of health, to fill vacancies in the College of cardinals. Is one to assume, from your account, that he did not hold a consistory to fill those vacancies simply to avoid giving the red hat to Montini?

Just a historical diversion, Francis Bourne was appointed Archbishop of Westminster by St Pius X in September, 1903. He was passed over at four successive consistories, before he eventually received the red hat in 1911. Is one to surmise that Bourne was somehow out of favour with the saintly pope?

As to the calumnies about Paul VI, why bother to repeat them if you cannot trust the sources. It seems that Pope Benedict, now gloriously reigning, does not share this contempt for Montini, whom he recently referred to as "My Predecessor of venerable memory, the Servant of God Paul VI". So it seems that the Holy Father publicly acknowledges that Montini is still on the path to canonisation - why else would he say "Servant of God"?

This week's edition of the Catholic Herald (a UK publication which is hardly noted for liberalism) carries a more balanced article on Montini free from fanciful calumnies.

AdamZ said...

Moreover, popes John Paul I and II referred to Paul VI as "grande papa" on various occasions.

JSarto said...

We cannot judge the subjective intentions that Pope Paul VI had in his time. Nevertheless, from an objective point of view his pontificate was one of the worst in the entire history of Church and implied an enormous amount of suffering to faithful catholics.

Anonymous said...

I have heard reports (covered up for decades), that Paul VI was secretely gay. And in his youth as a priest, it was supposedly more than just an inclination.
How horrible if true. Even worse for the Church if it becomes common knowledge.

However, it actually would bring down the whole of the Vatican II Church, which was a creation of this man and his agenda.

Anonymous said...

Pius XII apparently was not at all pleased with Montini, and sent him to Milan as an exile, not a reward.
Apparently, in the early 1950's, Pius XII was extremely concerned about the Church under communism, and the faithful persecuated by Stalin and others. He refused to negotiate with them, or their associates, or to listen to other council other than to condemn them, whcih he did. He also said that any Catholic voting Communist would be authmatically excommunicated.
Right under his nose however, Montini was engaging in secrete dialogs with Communists, not only in Italy, but elsewhere (supposed in an attempt to soften Pius' condemnations so no retribution would be dealt to Catholics behind the Iron Curtain). Other members of the court and Curia of Pius XII found out about this, and informed Pius XII who was not pleased. Montini was sent packing to Milan in 1954.....after the famous episode where both Msgrs. Montini and Tardini refused the Cardinals red hat offered to both of them by Pius XII for the Consistory of 1953. Montini was still in good grace with Pius in 1953....but the revelation of his dealings with the Communists happened in 1954, and he was exiled to Milan shortly thereafter.
Perhaps Pius XII had every intention of making Montini a Cardinal in the next consistory, but he died in 1958.
I do agree with what HUmbolt said about Paul VI manipulating Vatican II to accompdate the secular world, and this was a disasterous blunder and miscalculation. I also think at the beginning, that Paul VI genuinly did not have any concern about throwing out the entire Catholic liturgical tradition in order to favor the modern world and ecumenism with Protestants. THis was even more a grave error.
That in the end of his life, Paul VI basically worried himself to death over the state of the Church (as was said in an article in the Italian Magazine "Famiglia Christiana" last year, and is evidence that Paul VI knew it had been a mistake.
At the VERY end of his life (within 2 weeks), He spoke to an old friend, Jean Guitton, a French philosopher who was at Vatican II, and who had been a friend for 40 years, and commented privatly to him that the reforms, and the agenda he pursued early on in his reign had been a huge mistake....but he didn't know how to fix it.
This was about 10 days before Paul unexpectedly became ill and died.
Guitton repeated it afew years later on French TV.

Adamz said...

Anonymous,
Surely, to suggest that Milan is a place of exile for someone who has fallen out of favour with the pope is an insult to the good people of Milan?

If a simple priest cannot be trusted to serve the Holy Father, why raise him to the episcopate, and to a major diocese like Milan? Moreover, is it appropriate to think of episcopal appointments as a form of "reward". It's more like a crown of thorns, iin my opinion.

Terry Nelson said...

Donating the tiara was largely a symbolic act, yet the Holy Father never decreed that the coronation of a reigning Pontiff should be abolished, in fact he decreed it should continue, his successors simply opted for a more plain ceremony of installation.

As for the rumors of Paul VI's sexual orientation, they are false and originated because of his friendship with an actor - I believe in Milan. Paul VI decried the rumors publicly.

Anonymous said...

Where has gone that tiara? they tried to sell them "for the poor", but the embarassing result was that nobody cared to buy it.Finally some american bought it. Selling the tiara, what an absurdity: it was a symbol, rich of meaning, and a symbol has no price.It's like selling the wedding ring.

Adanz said...

Anonymous,
Why do you compare the tiara with a wedding ring?

During the Angelus, 3 August 2008, the Pope has again spoken of his predecessor, the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, in very positive terms.
"..... As we thank God for the gift of this great Pope [Montini], let us commit ourselves to treasure his teachings."