From the Catholic News Service
|It should be a museum item!|
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down from office Feb. 28, his wardrobe changed -- right down to the ring on his finger.
He simply stopped wearing the familiar red shoes and the traditional white cassock with a white cape on his shoulder. He also stopped wearing the fisherman's ring, one of the main symbols of the papal office, and went back to wearing an episcopal ring he wore as a cardinal.
But it was not enough to simply leave the papal ring behind.
According to the rules governing the interregnum and election of a pope, the College of Cardinals must "arrange for the destruction of the fisherman's ring and of the lead seal with which apostolic letters are dispatched." [From the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominis Gregis]
On March 6, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that this "destruction" had been completed, although he explained that the ring is not smashed or destroyed completely; rather, two deep cuts are made in its face so that it can no longer be used as a seal. [I told you so.]
Retired Pope Benedict received the ring at his inauguration Mass along with his pallium, the woolen stole symbolizing a bishop's authority. Both were based on ancient designs.
The gold ring, similar to the old rings that popes used also as seals, was designed by the Rome Association of Goldsmiths. [Uhmmm...The ring was designed and made by Roman master goldsmith Claudio Franchi and not that group. Dieter Phillipi who also gave the pope meritus his tiara as a gift, wrote an article about the Piscatorial Ring.] It had Pope Benedict's name etched on it and a scene of St. Peter casting out his net, symbolizing how popes are successors of the apostle Peter.
Many Catholics pay their respects to the pope by kneeling and kissing his ring. [Imagine an item revered by all Catholics other than the pope, gets smashed for no apparent practical reason other than tradition?]
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the earliest mention of the fisherman's ring worn by popes is in a letter to Pope Clement IV wrote in 1265 to his nephew, stating that popes were to seal their private letters with "the seal of the fisherman."
During the 15th century, the papal ring also was used to seal official papal documents known as briefs. [As was the case in feudal system of communication.]
In a briefing of the Vatican Press Office...
Fr. Lombardi, SJ’s English-language consultant, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, elaborated. “Fr. [Lombardi, SJ] saw with his very own eyes this (Saturday) morning, five objects that were ruined – scratched [and] rendered useless, because the image was destroyed,” he said.
Fr. Rosica went on to say, “First of all, there’s the ring – the Fisherman’s Ring that was destroyed – the image was scratched – secondly, there was [also destroyed] a stamp of the Fisherman’s Ring, a seal, which was used to seal official documents.” There were, in addition, “[T]wo stamps that were used for official Papal documents with the image on it, were scratched, so they cannot be used, and finally, the master lead seal, which was used for major documents, and [for] creating other seals: that was scratched, as well.”
The only practical reason for making deep cuts on the face of the ring that Benedict XVI wore was to prevent any forgeries made by impressions on it. But, on the other hand, who'll make the forgeries? I discussed this in detail in a related post.
And like what I mentioned in the earlier post, the ring maker himself, insists that the ring is a decorative ring and not a signet ring.
If you want to feel your own pope, and want to make you "own" piscatorial ring, we'll here are some choices for you.
Note: They did not pay any advertising fee to The Pinoy Catholic, ha!
That is...if you want to feel popish....ha!