The Fisherman's Ring & Pallium


(Vatican Radio) The fisherman’s ring which Pope Francis receives at his installation mass at St. Peter’s basilica Tuesday represents the Apostle Peter with the keys, symbolizing papal authority over the Universal Church. In a note, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi s.j. said the ring was designed by Enrico Manfrini for Pope Paul VI but never realized in metal; nor was it ever worn by Pope Paul VI who preferred to wear a ring celebrating the Second Vatican Council.

Manfrini had created many medals and other artistic objects for Pope Paul VI. The wax mold for Pope Francis’ ring had been preserved under the care of Paul VI’s former secretary, Msgr. Pasquale Macchi. Msgr. Macchi, who is deceased, left the mold and other objects to his long-time aid, Msgr. Ettore Malnati, explains Fr. Lombardi.

Using the wax mold, Msgr. Malnati had a ring made in gold-plated silver which the Master of Ceremonies and the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re proposed to Pope Francis along with a number of other rings.

Pope Francis chose this one.


Among the liturgical insignia of the Supreme Pontiff, one of the most evocative is the pallium made of white wool, symbol of the bishop as the good shepherd and, at the same time, of the Lamb Crucified for the salvation of the human race: “the lamb's wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life” (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily for the Holy Mass inaugurating his Petrine ministry on 24 April 2005).
The papal pallium, in its present form, is a band of cloth having a wide and large style, and with red crosses. The pallium of the metropolitan archbishops, however, is a narrow band of material decorated with six crosses of black silk. The different form of the papal pallium with respect to that of the metropolitans makes clear the diversity of jurisdiction.

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