Thursday 28 February 2013

Benedict XVI : 23

In July 2008, Pope Benedict visited Australia for World Youth Day. During that visit, he celebrated Mass in Saint Mary's Cathedral Sydney for seminarians and religious. An oversized marble altar, of unfortunate design, was also consecrated by the Pope on that occasion.

The Saint Bede Studio was commissioned to make the vestments worn by Pope Benedict (including his mitre) and the deacons-assistant at that Mass. The vestments are now held in the sacristy of Saint Peter's Rome. More about those vestments can be read here and here.

Here are some photographs, which may be enlarged by clicking on them.

Benedict XVI : vestments
During the Procession to the Altar.

Benedict XVI vestments
An Address of Welcome.

Benedict XVI vestments
Greeted by a Seminarian.

Benedict XVI vestments
During the Gospel.

Benedict XVI vestments
The Litany of the Saints.

Benedict XVI vestments
Aspersing the new Altar.

Benedict XVI vestments
Aspersing the Faithful.

Benedict XVI vestments
Leaving the Sanctuary.

Benedict XVI vestments
Leaving the Sanctuary.

Benedict XVI vestments
Returning to the Sacristy.

Benedict XVI : 22

Benedict XVI vestments
Advent 2011.
These are last few posts in the Saint Bede Studio's Retrospective of some of the vestments worn during the Pontificate of our beloved Pope Benedict.

The copes shewn in this post were used for Solemn celebrations of Vespers during Advent and Lent. These two purple copes are very different from each other but both made specifically for Pope Benedict.

The first cope, with a mitre evidently made to match it, although the fabric is not very ornate, is nevertheless highly-ornamented with goldwork, very tastefully arranged and proportionate.  Indeed, the ornament is most splendid and fitting for a Pope.

The second cope (see below) was made from a most splendid English silk damask of deep purple and gold.  As can be seen, the design woven into the damask is on a very large scale.  Unfortunately, the orphrey, formed from two parallel lines of gold braid, is disproportionately wide.

Benedict XVI vestments

Benedict XVI vestments
Advent 2009.

Benedict XVI vestments
Lent 2008.

Benedict XVI : Miscellany 5

Josef Ratzinger and Karol Wotylja met during the Second Vatican Council, never suspecting the interconnected future that lay before them.  In a previous post, some photos of the two were shewn, but here is one other, taken in an aircraft on one of the many trips of Pope John Paul.  And then we see Cardinal Ratzinger, Dean of the Sacred College, sprinkling the coffin of John Paul II, before entombment in the crypt of Saint Peter's.  Lastly, now as Benedict XVI, Ratzinger prays at the tomb of his friend and predecessor.

Cardinal Ratzinger sprinkling the casket of John Paul II.

Praying at the tomb of John Paul II.

Benedict XVI : Final Address

A group of the Faithful estimated at almost 200,000 has greeted Pope Benedict for the final General Audience and public appearance of his Pontificate.  Although the text of the address is readily available, the following extracts show us clearly the mind of Pope Benedict.

Thank you for coming in such large numbers to this last General Audience of my pontificate. [I am so moved by your presence – when I see you, I see the living church.]

At this time, I have within myself a great trust [in God], because I know – all of us know – that the Gospel’s word of truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life.

When, almost eight years ago, I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry, I held steadfast in this certainty, which has always accompanied me. [These years] have been a stretch of the Church’s pilgrim way, which has seen moments joy and light, but also difficult moments. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His - and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so.

At this point I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many people throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this [truth] again in a way so great as to touch my very heart. The Pope belongs to everyone, and so many people feel very close to him. I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the Church.

In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God with insistence in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me take the right decision – not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its seriousness and also its novelty, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own.


The “always” is also a “forever” - there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not abandon the Cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord. I no longer wield the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St. Peter’s bounds.

Dear friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love. Thank you!

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Benedict XVI : Miscellany 4

A short series of miscellaneous photographs. At the beginning of a holiday in July 2009, Pope Benedict  had the misfortune to fall and break his wrist.  This would not ordinarily be the subject of a post, except  for two photographs, one being such a charming casual portrait of the Pope and the other sporting the famous beret.

As Cardinal Ratzinger, he would often be seen and photographed in Rome with the black beret; it was often wondered whether he would make the change to a white beret once he became Pope.  It seems he did...

Benedict XVI : 21

Pope Benedict vestments
After Monsignor Guido Marini became Papal Master of Ceremonies in 2007, there was an increased use by Pope Benedict of historic chasubles, copes and mitres from the Papal Treasury. In this post, we feature a famous cope, which made for Pope John XXIII.

The Papal Cope was formerly a very long garment, trailing upon the ground.  It was called the mantum. The mantum of John XXIII was worn at the Solemn Opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962.  It was also used during the early years of the reign of Pope Paul VI.

The cope is made of white silk interwoven with threads of spun gold.  It is also embroidered with gold bullion.  The photographs clearly shew the coat of arms of John XXIII. It appears that the mantum of John XXIII has been shortened to fit Pope Benedict.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Benedict XVI : Miscellany 3

A short series of miscellaneous photographs. Often we see photographs of the Pope greeting the Faithful from the central loggia of Saint Peter's. In this post, we look at a scenes which we rarely see, but which those on the balcony do.

Christmas Day 2010.

Christmas Day 2010.

After Josef Ratzinger's first Greeting to the World as Pope Benedict XVI: April 2005.

Benedict XV1 : 20

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
We have illustrated this cope in a previous post.  On this occasion, your attention is drawn to the beautiful dalmatic which was used with the cope, although it does not exactly match it.  This dalmatic is  ample and, although modern in appearance, is decorated according tradition.  It is very dignifed.

A number of similar dalmatic in different colours were made in the last years of the reign of John Paul II.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Benedict XVI : Miscellany 2

A short series of miscellaneous photographs. In this post, we find Pope Benedict meeting lion clubs during two separate General Audiences, most recently in January.  Pope Benedict is a well-known lover of cats and we hope he might have one to keep him company in retirement.  Probably not one this size, though.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Benedict XVI : 19

Epiphany 2010:
This is the chasuble in which John XXIII & Paul VI
were crowned as Pope.
A feature of the tenure of Monsignor Guido Marini as Papal Master of Ceremonies, which has been referred to in a previous post, has been the use for Papal Ceremonies of historic vestments. This has ranged from Apostolic stoles, to copes and mitres. But today we treat of historic chasubles.

Unfortunately we are unable to verify in each case which Popes these chasubles belonged to, but they are not earlier than the reign of Pope Leo XIII.

On a man of the stature and build of Pope Benedict, these chasubles, cut in the 18th century style, have usually looked dignified and rich.

On one unhappy occasion, a completely new set of green vestments in the 18th century style was made for the Pope used during his visit to an Italian city. Please God, these will never be seen again.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
The Veneration of the Cross, Good Friday 2011.
Note how very dignified such chasubles can look when worn with plain albes.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
Easter Day 2010.

At the throne of the Basilica of S' Paul's-without-the- Walls
June 2010.  The chasuble belonged to Paul VI.

Benedict XVI : Miscellany 1

A short series of miscellaneous photographs. In this post, we find Pope Benedict in the pulpit of the Lutheran Church in Rome, March 2010. Photographs of any Pope preaching from a pulpit would appear to be extremely rare.

Benedict XVI : 18

Coat of Arms of Pope Benedict XVI.

From the beginning of his Pontificate, the decision of Pope Benedict to replace the triple tiara on the Papal Coat of Arms with an unusually-decorated mitre has excited much discussion.

The photograph above shews the Coat of Arms which is on the wall of the aula in the Pope's own Summer residence, Castelgandolfo. What it is made from, I cannot say, although I might guess that it is of bronze.

Being three-dimensional, there was an opportunity for the artist to make the headgear look like a mitre. But it is not presented as a mitre, but rather as a highly-stylised version of the triple tiara. There will be a further post on this matter during the Interregnum.

Benedict XVI : 17

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
On the occasion of his visit to the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino in May 2009, Pope Benedict was presented with sets of vestments which were, in the view of the writer of this Blog, the most magnificent of any used by the Pope throughout his Pontificate. The presentation consisted of a chasuble, mitre, cope and matching dalmatics. In their ornamentation, these vestments are very much in the character of the style of vestments used in Italy in the 13th century, although the cut of the chasuble is Borromeon.

Concerning the mitre, it is made from a white silk damask and its orphrey (properly called the circulus and titulus) is also formed from hand-embroidered gold silk. Quite unlike the excess of the baroque mitres, the ornament of this mitre is confined to its orphrey. Here we find, in geometrical patterns, precious stones of differing sizes and colours, arranged in a restrained and tasteful manner. The shape and height of the mitre are very well proportioned, according to the manner of the early mediaeval period and well-suited to the stature of its wearer, Pope Benedict.  

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
Candlemas at S' Peter's February 2013

What has been written about the mitre can also be said of the decoration of the chasuble and the cope, which are lined in a rich red silk taffeta.  The entire set is a masterpiece of good taste and good proportion.

Pope Benedict has frequently used these vestments, which makes quite clear that an authentic reproduction of Mediaeval vestments can still be convenient to wear and not merely be a curiosity or museum piece.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Monday 25 February 2013

Benedict XVI : 16

For a too-brief period, a new Master of Papal Ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini, introduced into the Papal suite chasubles in the Borromeon form (often written about on this Blog).

Pope Benedict XVI vestmentsIn this post, we will look at a set of green vestments which was used by Pope Benedict for the first time on a Visit to Brindisi (Italy) in 2008.  A mitre used on that occasion has also regularly been used with these green vestments in the years following.

These vestments, although quite clearly in the Borromeon form, are unusual in the appearance of the fabric.  This fabric is not actually green, but a straw colour upon which are medallion designs in green.  From a distance, the fabric appears to be green.  There is a hint of the Byzantine in this design.  A very simple orphrey, sparingly enriched with precious stones, ornaments the front of the chasuble, but the rear of the chasuble is perfectly plain, except for the Papal coat of arms at the lower edge.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
At the Basilica of S' Paul-without-the-Walls, October 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Pope Benedict XVI vestments

Benedict XVI : 15

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
Pentecost Sunday 2006:
tongues of flame chasuble.
During the tenure of Marini the First as Papal Master of Ceremonies, Pope Benedict was given vestments and mitres to wear which were somewhat avant garde.  The latter years of the reign of John Paul II saw the happy return of that form of decoration which is distinctly Roman and has, indeed, been the distinctive decoration of chasubles for over a thousand years: the TAU.

Puzzlingly, however, with the accession of Benedict XVI, very few TAU-ornamented chasubles were seen: quite disappointing.

The early Benedictine chasubles were all extremely ample and were often ornamented in rather inventive and understated ways.  Certainly the focus was on the appearance of the fabric rather than its ornamentation.

This post features some of these chasubles, all of which disappeared during the arrival of Marini the Second.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
Midnight Mass 2006: Crosses embroidered all over the chasuble with diaper-work
around the neckline and edges of the chasuble.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
A rich chasuble with embossed braid around the edging and fully lined.
The mitre matched the vestments.  May 2006.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
May 2006.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
A very ample chasuble made from a deep red damask: very rich.
Mass for a deceased Cardinal 2006.

Ss Peter and Paul 2006:
scarlet red chasuble with ornament in black and gold: a matching cope shewn in a previous post.
The mitre was frequently worn by Pope Benedict; its medallions are unfortunate.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
Good Friday 2007:
another chasuble of deep red silk, but with very simple ornament.
It struck an appropriately sombre note for the Commemoration of the Lord's Suffering and Death.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
Good Friday 2007, during the Prostration.
Pope Benedict fully clad in a crimson chasuble of noble simplicity.

Pope Benedict XVI vestments
Corpus Christi 2006.
A beautiful chasuble of straw-coloured silk damask.