The tiara is
comprised of three crowns signifying the pope's three-fold duties
to teach, sanctify, and govern the Church. It also signifies the
temporal authority of the Vicar of Christ, the highest on earth.
It has been in its triple tier form since the 14th century
starting with Pope Clement V.
Since 1963,1 the post-conciliar popes have put aside the
papal tiara in an attempt to placate “modern sensibilities” and
simultaneously kowtow to the liberal hierarchy’s aspirations of
collegiality—echoing the Revolution’s false principle of equality. So
it is refreshing when the laity have enough Catholic sense to endeavor
to reset the tiara on the brow of Christ’s Vicar.
Dieter Philippi presenting
the new papal tiara
to Pope Benedict XVI in May 2011
Such an incident occurred only recently in May,
when a German gentleman, Dieter Philippi, a renown hobbyist of
ecclesiastical headgear, commissioned from a Hungarian atelier—who
ironically is usually preoccupied making mitres for Orthodox
prelates!2—the fabrication of a new tiara for Pope
Benedict XVI, stating to the press before its presentation:
Well, we thought how every Pope in the past had a
tiara. Even John Paul II had one [he never wore it though]. That
was a present from Hungarian Catholics given to him in 1981. So
we thought about making a tiara from German Catholics to hand
over to the present Pope.
In these modern times and after forty years of a
steady diet of Lumen Gentium’s error of collegiality, one
must wonder why many Catholics nevertheless continue to long
instinctively for the restoration of the traditional trappings of
The coronation of Pope Paul VI
in 1963, the only post-conciliar
pope to wear the papal tiara.
Later that year, Paul VI would set
the tiara aside as an act of "humility"
One will recall a similar attempt earlier in Pope Benedict’s reign,
when in the aftermath of a security failure to protect His Holiness
during the Christmas Mass processional, the suggestion was made via
multiple Internet sources to restore the pope’s sedia gestatoria—and
even the accompanying flabella! There was also the failed
attempt to restore the tiara to the Holy Father’s personal papal coat
of arms—though this effort did survive past a month, nevertheless the
Vatican Gardener’s sculptured armorial shrubbery did.
Pope Pius XII using
the sedia gestatoria (portable throne)
and flabella (fans made of ostrich feathers). Flanking the
chamberlains bearing the throne is the now-defunct
papal Noble Guard, who provide an effective screen
of protection around the Holy Father
this mere nostalgia for the “dusty imperial” trappings of a by-gone
era, when the Church was relatively stable and universally respected,
even by its foresworn enemies? Or could it be that through these
external devices Catholics comprehend the extent of the authority
possessed by the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ placed over His
Church to teach, sanctify, and govern? Are they merely wishing to see
physically signified these dogmatic words of Vatican I’s Pastor
Aeternus (On the Power and Nature of the Primacy of the Roman
Hence we teach and declare that by the appointment of Our Lord the
Roman Church possesses a sovereignty of ordinary power over all
other Churches, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman
pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; to which all, of
whatsoever rite and dignity, are bound, by their duty of
hierarchical subordination and true obedience, to submit, not only
in matters which belong to faith and morals, but also in those that
appertain to the discipline and government of the Church throughout
the world; so that the Church of Christ may be one flock under one
supreme pastor, through the preservation of unity, both of communion
and of profession of the same faith, with the Roman pontiff. This is
the teaching of Catholic truth, from which no one can deviate
without loss of faith and salvation.
While the tiara was
from Pope Benedict's coat of
arms, the Vatican Gardener
kept it where all could see
Could it also be these Catholics desire to see
resurrected public and visible recognition of the temporal power
that the Pope possesses as Christ’s Vicar over civil potentates?
In fact, what faithful Catholic doesn’t relish the stories of when
a Pope would flex his supreme authority over the heads of wayward
princes—remember Emperor Henry IV at Canossa?!
Of course, this type of truly Catholic
thinking—nothing less than practice of the Social Reign of Christ
the King—is anathema to the Liberal mind which demands in the name
of “religious liberty” the separation of Church and State, and for
the sake of “humility”, the degradation of the Supreme Pontiff by
placing him on equal footing with the College of Bishops.
Perhaps this is why (ironically in lieu of the aforementioned security
debacle) in the words of the Midnight Mass Introit of Christmas,3
the Liberals “rage” against those who defend the rights of the
Papacy against the error of Collegiality by labeling them as
“divisive”, “disobedient” and even “schismatic”. Their “rage”
though is in “vain” because Truth always eventually conquers,
dispelling all falsehoods.
But what is truly paradoxical is when the Holy
Father himself—who often finds the most basic of his solemn duties
impeded by the entrenched collegial bureaucracy, from the Roman
Curia to episcopal conferences—concurs with the Liberals against
the very Catholics who are his most ardent supporters!
Thus in the symbol of the papal tiara, we can
easily see the struggle that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his
Priestly Society of St. Pius X have continually waged against the
error of Collegiality and staunchly defended the true rights of
the papacy. So we echo the sentiments of Catholics everywhere:
bring back the papal tiara, and all that entails with it, for
Christ the King, His Church and His Vicar!
Pope Paul VI wore the tiara a number of times in 1963, but in November
of that year, he dramatically laid it upon the main altar at St.
Peter's Basilica as a gesture of renouncing the papal claim to
temporal power. After this act, no pope has worn the tiara since, not
even for their papal coronation ceremony.
Who deny the Primacy of Peter over all bishops, instead falsely
claiming that the Pope only has a “primacy of honor”.
“Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?”