Pope says pallium is sign of tie to heaven and earth, Christ and pope
After placing a woolen band around the shoulders of 44 new archbishops as they knelt before him, Pope Benedict XVI told them it was a reminder of their ties to heaven and earth and of their loyalty to Christ and the successor of Peter.
“You have been constituted in and for the great mystery of communion that is the church, the spiritual edifice built upon Christ as the cornerstone, while in its earthly and historical dimension, it is built on the rock of Peter,” the pope said June 29 during his homily on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
However, he added, the “church is not a community of the perfect, but a community of sinners, obliged to recognize their need for God’s love, their need to be purified through the cross of Jesus Christ.”
Before celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Benedict gave the archbishops from 23 countries the woolen pallium as a sign of their sharing with him authority over the faithful in their archdioceses.
The pallium is presented every year to new archbishops or those who have been assigned to a new archdiocese.
The archbishops included Archbishops Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia; William E. Lori of Baltimore; Samuel J. Aquila of Denver; and William C. Skurla, who leads the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh.
Among the others were four prelates from Canada, including Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal, and two from Australia, including Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane.
Two new archbishops were unable to attend the ceremony and received their palliums at home, making the final count 46 new archbishops from 24 countries, including South Korea, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica began with a fanfare of trumpets and “Tu es Petrus” sung by the Sistine Chapel Choir and the world-renowned Westminster Abbey choir of Great Britain.
The pope invited the Anglican choir to sing with the papal choir, bringing two distinctive choral styles together at an event reaffirming papal authority and Catholic bishops’ unity with him.
Anglican Father John Hall, the dean of Westminster, said he hoped the historic visit would help the church and the Anglican Communion progress along the “long and tortuous path toward full and visible unity.”
Also present at the Mass was a delegation sent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. [More]