Restoration of Papal Tiara?


He didn t. This was a personal letter to a friend.
He has never done so…


I understand your point of view and also get where you are coming from, and also agree to a certain extent but a person needs to live up to his office as well especially when you represent something much bigger than yourself. Pope St Pius X came from much humbler backgrounds than any of the recent Popes and if you were to check his history you would realize it was no bed of roses for him… yet when we was elected Pope (much against his wishes) he lived up to his office but did not live a over pompous life… he kept a balance of humility and power as he represented something much superior than himself. No one can accuse him of being a hypocrite or a person out of place for his office.
I am reminded of a example of St Peter Damian, a monk and cardinal. a younger monk who assisted him once made a comment in passing about the opulence and luxurious life and clothes that the Saint wore as a important cardinal. St Peter did not say a word but after mass after taking off the vestments he suddenly began taking off his cardinals robe. To the surprise of the young monk St Peter still wore the thick rough habit of the monk under the rich vestments and also practiced physical mortifications… this is a perfect example of a man knowing his place and knowing his office and keeping a perfect balance :slight_smile:


What a great story!

In one of my hobbies, we have about 30,000 paid members and about 60,000 participants, worldwide. The different regions of various countries are split into territories, and each territory has a King and a Queen for a period of time.

I ended up being Queen at one point, and had, I don’t know, 2,000? 3,000? people pretending I was their Queen, in addition to the 27k-57k other people around the world who would have acknowledged me as a Queen, if by some chance they happened to bump into me. :stuck_out_tongue:

And in the process of being Queen, during that period, you suddenly realize that out of your predecessors and your successors, different ones had different ideas about what it meant to be Queen, or how to go about doing it. And there was a Queen that would appeal to everyone— but no one Queen ever was the “ideal” queen who everyone would love. Each of them had different priorities. Each of them made decisions in their own way, flavored by their own experiences. Each of them frustrated people, or made poor political decisions that hurt feelings in one way or another, or moved when they should have remained still, or was still when they should have taken action, even if that action was difficult. Or there would be a tradition that everyone took for granted, but a Queen was ignorant of it, or didn’t value it, and stepped all over it, or did it wrong, or got it all twisted up and weird, and people would get upset. But time would pass-- and another Queen would step up, and the old Queen would go back to life until circumstances placed her back on the throne again.

So, I know being Pope is way different than being Queen in some game. But it does give me sympathy— people have expectations, people have learning curves, people get good advice, people ignore their advisors. And with everything being under a microscope these days…!

We all know the anecdote–

The French emperor Napoleon was swallowing up countries in Europe with his armies bent on total world domination. He then said to Cardinal Consalvi, “I will destroy your Church.” “Je detruirai votre eglise!” The Cardinal said, “No you won’t.” Napoleon said, “Je detruirai votre eglise!” The Cardinal said with confidence, “No you won’t. Not even we have succeeded in doing that!”

So, if the worst that people can pick on is wearing black pants under a white pellegrina, or not approving of his taste in chasuble-- yeah, I think we can survive. :slight_smile:


Nice story… & yeah the Pope is very different from being a queen especially a imaginary queen… And that’s where putting oneself behind so that a ideal may always be upheld comes into place… as uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility”… one should be flexible and not let his own likes & dislikes take priority over his duty and role… anyways what’s happened has happened and it cant be undone… now only time can set things in place :slight_smile:


Having lived through the era, I am so grateful for the simplifications – not to say jetisoning – which began under the Blessed Paul VI, continued under Venerable John Paul I, accelerated under Saint John Paul II, continued again under Pope Benedict XVI, and now sees a great acceleration under Pope Francis. There is yet much progress to be made.


I think Pope Francis is the greatest gift to the Church since the election of Saint John XXIII.


In a different thread friend…I’m pretty sure.


Are you referring specifically to simplifications in regards to vestments and clerical garb? If you believe progress is still required, what would you see the Church moving towards in decades to come?
Or are we talking specifically about the external accoutrements of the papacy?


My comment was actually much much broader, TWF.

There is so much that happened at the time of the Council, which is captured in the Council’s documents. There was so much that happened apart from the documents, in the interaction of all the Catholic bishops of the world being gathered together in the same place across the sessions of the Council. And that was transformative. It has been transformative for the Papacy. For the College of Bishops and, consequently, for the Church.

The attitude of engaging the modern world changed…the foundation may be Gaudium et Spes but there were many developments subsequent to that, and these continue

Our attitude of engaging non-Catholic Christians changed. The foundation for that may be Unitatis Redintegratio but there were many developments subsequent to that, and these continue

Our attitude of engaging non-Christians changed. The foundation for that may be Nostra Aetate but there were many developments subsequent to that, and these continue

Blessed Paul VI was the first Pope to go to address the United Nations in person. His successors, except John Paul I who lived only 33 days as Pope, have done likewise.

The Popes since Saint John XXIII have been much more engaged with the Universal Church in its far flung parts through travel and through events such as World Youth Day and through regional gatherings of the Bishops, such as CELAM, which was the occasion of Saint John Paul II’s first major trip three months after he was elected Pope, when he went to Mexico. This will certainly continue to evolve.

Blessed Paul VI retired the papal tiara, happily and memorably. But that was only one small part of the transformation of the Petrine Office that he began and which his successors have continued as they have encouraged the theological community – Catholic and non-Catholic – to weigh-in on how the Petrine Office should change for the Church of today and the Church of the future. And this has been happening now for years, at the appropriate level.



Blessed Paul VI also greatly simplified the papal court, abolishing aspects of it and reforming other aspects of it, so that it would have less the trappings of a monarch. Neither Pope John Paul I or Pope John Paul II used the tiara – and it was Pope Benedict who even eliminated it from being in the papal coat of arms.

Pope John Paul I wanted to abolish the sedia gestatoria and Pope Saint John Paul II, in fact, did. Even when he and Pope Benedict had mobility issues, they improvised a mobile platform to spare them needless walking when they could not walk long distances – rather than bring back the sedia gestatoria. The Popes following Blessed Paul VI, did away with the royal “We” in their speeches and remarks. So many step-by-step incremental changes that have had a tremendous cumulative effect.

Since October 1958, there had been a continuous move ahead into modernisation.

So many things…our relations with non-Catholic Christians, for example…can be traced to the personal initiatives of two saints of God, Saint John XXIII and Blessed Paul VI, which have extended into entire movements.

Pope Francis and his witness today continues the trajectory to modernisation. And what he does has a direct impact on how bishops conduct themselves as they too forsake the palaces and trappings that belong to bygone eras…not the 21st century.

So, I expect the decades ahead will carry forward this trajectory of the 59 years, and accelerate it


No. In this thread. The posting I was responding to has however been removed.


At the risk of over-simplifying, here’s how I think of Pope Francis. In his previous roles in the Church, he was a bit if a rebel, someone who bucked the rules, like a Robin Hood persona. But what happens when the rebel become s the ultimate authority of the organization? That’s where the dissonance in many areas occurs.


Good insight. I agree. His black pants (which cost no less than the white pants of past popes) don’t help things either.


You have no idea why he won’t wear it… To presume to say bluntly that his motive is to “show off” is judging the Pope.

Certainly you cannot mean that everyone who is given an expensive gift they never asked for is forced by ettiquette and the demands of true humility to wear it. That’s ridiculous. We all know that Pope Francis did not ask to have a tiara made for him. We don’t even know if those who made it for him had any expectation whatsoever that he’d ever have it on his head. They may have meant it only to be a symbol of his tenure as the head of state of the Vatican.

I don’t think the princes of either the Eastern or the Western Church spend any time mentally criticizing the customs or costumes of their brethren in the Apostolic line. They might prefer their own, but I don’t think this occupies them much.


The white robes of the Pope are a carry-over from Pope St. Pius V, a Dominican who continued to wear his religious garb after he was elected Pope. The Dominicans wear street clothes under their white habits. Wearing black pants instead of white is not incorrect. It is actually correct, should the Pope feel inclined to dress that way.

I once jokingly asked the vicar of clergy for our diocese how it was fielding complaints about the priests who wore the wrong color of shoes. His response was along the lines of: “If you only knew how many complaints like that I actually get, you’d be appalled.”

The Pope, however, cannot “break the rules” of papal dress, because he has 100% authority to make those rules!

It reminds me of the line from the end of Shakespeare’s Henry V:
O Kate, nice customs curtsy to great kings. Dear Kate, you and I cannot be confined within the weak list of a country’s fashion. We are the makers of manners, Kate, and the liberty that follows our places stops the mouth of all find- faults… (Henry V, Act V, Scene 2)

So, while we’re speaking of humility, let’s remember that no one has the office of finding fault with the Pope’s manner of dress. What he wears is his decision. Our role is to humbly accept it and to give no thought to what our preferences would have been in his place.


It looks tacky and there is no cost savings.


I fail to see how it is tacky for the Pope to wear black trousers and shoes with a Dominican habit. It is obviously not tacky when typical diocesan priests wear black trousers and shoes with a white alb. That is pretty much the worldwide standard at every Sunday and Holy Day Mass. It looks fine.

My point stands, however: He’s the Pope, he gets to dress himself, and it does us no harm to decide not to concern ourselves with his clothing choices. If we didn’t like the way Pope Benedict dressed, it did not hurt us to keep our mouths shut and let him exercise his authority to decide how the Pope ought to dress without broadcasting our opinion about the cost. Likewise, it does us no harm to simply submit to Pope Francis and his papal authority to decide what the dress code for the Pope shall be. We can like it or not like it, but there is no profit in becoming a critic.


I said nothing about the shoes. I could see how a man would be reticent about wearing red shoes. In the case of Saint JPII we found that he wore simple scuffed/worn brown loafers once he passed away. In the case of Francis we were treated to a news report complete with video telling us of how he refused to wear the red shoes as past popes have done for generations. Whatever, harmless enough I suppose, although his comments certainly didn’t reflect well on his predecessor.

The black pants on the other hand look objectively hideous in this application. They show through the pope’s white simar and it looks objectively tacky. (Once has to wonder if Pope Francis is purchasing simars made from extra sheer material to accentuate this effect?) There’s also no piety to be gained by wearing black pants. It’s not as if black pants wear longer or they’re cheaper. They’re not. The news reports (again with video) on this matter were also a calculated attempt to sell Pope Francis as a “regular guy” – which is not necessarily a bad PR move. I would say it worked OK, possibly even good with the shoes. It clearly failed with the black pants and it continues to have a negative impact simply because it looks bad.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit