Vatican may bring forward conclave for next pope

Breaking news from the BBC’s website:-

Finally, a dose of logic about the whole thing. Rules are easy enough to change…and there is simply no good reason to start the conclave any later than the fourth.

Although when the AP was reporting this, it contained some language that might leave a lot to be desired for those of us desiring a return to the coronation. I’ve read that one of the reasons B16 was not crowned was because the Vatican told him there wasn’t time to prepare a ceremony of that nature. How quickly after election does the Pope need to be installed?

I want a coronation! I’ve never seen one, and want to see one!

This was in the AP article, or elsewhere? It would surprise me if this were the case, as Benedict chose not to use the crown in his coat of arms.

Coat of arms for John Paul II

Coat of arms for Benedict XVI

In fact, the latter link discusses the coronation:

It was Benedict XII in 1342 who added a third crown to symbolize the Pope’s moral authority over all secular monarchs, and reaffirmed the possession of Avignon.

With time, although it lost its temporal meaning, the silver tiara with three gold crowns came to represent the three powers of the Supreme Pontiff: Sacred Orders, Jurisdiction and Magisterium.

In past centuries, Popes wore the tiara at solemn official celebrations and especially on the day of the “coronation” at the beginning of their Pontificate. Paul VI used for this purpose a precious tiara which the Archdiocese of Milan had presented to him, just as it had given one to Pius XI; but afterwards, Paul VI donated it to a charity and introduced the current use of a simple “mitre”, although these mitres were sometimes embellished with ornaments or gems. But he left the “tiara” and the crossed keys as the emblem of the Apostolic See.

Today, the ceremony that begins a Pontificate is no longer called a “coronation”. The Pope’s full jurisdiction begins the moment he accepts his election by the Cardinals in the Conclave and not with coronation as for secular monarchs. This ceremony, therefore, is simply called the solemn inauguration of his Petrine Ministry, as it was for Benedict XVI on 24 April.

The Holy Father Benedict XVI decided not to include the tiara in his official personal coat of arms. He replaced it with a simple mitre which is not, therefore, surmounted by a small globe and cross as was the tiara.

It would surprise me if this were the case, as Benedict chose not to use the crown in his coat of arms.

Oh, no. It was elsewhere that I read it. In fact I also read (in yet another location) that the Mitre used by Benedict is a specific reference to a Mitre he was given by Paul VI - or something like that. I will have to dig it up, but I don’t think the goal of the coat of arms was to further provide a death knell to the Tiara.


Here is the quote that I noticed from the AP article:

The date of the conclave’s start is important because Holy Week begins March 24, with Palm Sunday Mass followed by Easter Sunday on March 31. In order to have a new pope in place in time for the most solemn liturgical period on the church calendar, he would need to be installed as pope by Sunday, March 17. Given the tight time-frame, speculation has mounted that some sort of arrangement would be made to start the conclave earlier than a strict reading of the law would allow.

Meaning…what, exactly?

A coronation confers temporal power on a person so that they become a king. It is an almost sacramental action since it “changes” the person. Thus, Queen Elizabeth is seen as different in kind from all other Britons. She’s not just some rich chick with a more expensive hat - she “is” Britain.

The Pope becomes Pope the moment he is elected. There is no 3rd party which needs to confer power on him. It is not a change in his ordination - he already has the fulness of orders as a Bishop. In fact as Pope he is the Bishop of Rome, and is the first among equals.

The Pope has very little temporal power any more, and does not require that sovereigns bow to him.

There is no need for a tiara, a crown or a coronation.

Meaning they wouldn’t have the 15 day waiting period necessary on the death of a Pope, since everyone has already had fair warning to make their travel arrangements.

“There is no need for a tiara, a crown or a coronation.”

I disagree - as do a good number of Catholics. The abandonment of the Tiara and Coronation ceremony, in my view, has given the improper outward appearance of reducing the Pope to little more than another Clergyman.

If a Coronation incorrectly equates the Pope to be a King, then I would argue an inauguration mass incorrectly equates him to be another secular head of state, like Obama. Between the two options, the former is far more appropriate.

I also think it would do well to remember what Pope John Paul II said, in opting not to be crowned:

“The last Pope to be crowned was Paul VI in 1963, but after the solemn coronation ceremony he never used the tiara again and left his Successors free to decide in this regard. Pope John Paul I, whose memory is so vivid in our hearts, did not wish to have the tiara; nor does his Successor wish it today. This is not the time to return to a ceremony and an object considered, 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 immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ himself.”

Emphasis as indicated. First, I think it rather debunks your claim about it being all about temporal power. Second, that statement seems to suggest to me that JPII did forsee, and perhaps even desire, a time when the Tiara would be restored. Those times of which JPII spoke have changed. No longer is the church locked in a struggle against a Communist world which seeks to exploit supposed hypocrisy of well-dressed Ministers against the poor of the world who needed the Atheist state to protect them. Today our challenge is against the casualness that has developed within our own faith, and in the loss of proper respect and regard for the authority of those who proclaim the Word of God.

Its time to crown the Pope.

“Meaning they wouldn’t have the 15 day waiting period necessary on the death of a Pope, since everyone has already had fair warning to make their travel arrangements.”

My question was in reference to the bolded section of that quote only.

I was at Benedict’s. It was fantastic! I was near the front as well. What a blessing. I was a body guard for a head of state so I had to look all somber but inside my heart was jumping!

I was at Benedict’s. It was fantastic!

Actually, you were at his inauguration - there hasn’t been a coronation since 1963. And if you think what Benedict had was fantastic, you should see the images from Paul VI’s coronation (with the ugliest Tiara, albeit):

A good number, meaning a tiny minority?

We’ve moved on from the Church triumphal.

Let’s be the Church militant for a while.

Hiya Jharek,

This bringing forward might be a good idea.

I have heard very liberal Cardinals - who are not eligible to vote - are still intending to go to Rome, to try to influence the election. So has said Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor of England, for example.

Maybe a quick election is intended to minimise the effect of such interference?

Who do you hope is elected (if anyone)?

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for me!


So true! His Holiness should have used the Palatine Tiara that John XXIII used. It’s so beautiful!

Would that necessarily ensure an “on-time” decision? After all, Benedict’s election took place under JP II’s revised rules (no more 2/3 + 1 majority), whereas this election will take place under Benedict’s restoration of that majority…

This makes sense to me since this was the result of a resignation, not a death. However, it seems to me that moving it up doesn’t necessarily mean the next Pope will be chosen in time for Holy Week.

Isn’t that timing God’s (the Holy Spirit’s) timing?

What has been the longest amount of time for a selection to be made once the conclave began?

I think anything that adds a little dignity to the Successor of Peter, I think is all to the good. ALSO… I think Paul VI donated that thing to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. So, I don’t think our new pontiff, or anyone else will wear it again. I liked John XXIII’s. :slight_smile:

Hmm… but, exactly how influential would they be? They wouldn’t be permitted to be present during the deliberations or the voting, so… they’d have exactly the same access as the rest of the world: none! :hmmm: :confused:

What tiara would a fisherman or a carpenter wear?

It would take away from their natural dignity.

So were all the popes before Paul VI set down his triregnum less in dignity?

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