Pope Francis: Back to the crosier with crucifix

ROME — At last evening’s Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis carried a crosier that most people associate with Blessed John Paul II.

Pope Francis carries the Scorzelli crozier at Mass last evening. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis carries the Scorzelli crosier at Mass last evening. (CNS/Paul Haring)

As a matter of fact, though, Pope Paul VI commissioned the work from Italian sculptor Lello Scorzelli in 1963, and used it for the first time Dec. 8, 1965, at the official closing of the Second Vatican Council. Formally known as a “ferula” in Italian, the pastoral staff was unusual not only because it was rough-hewn and silvery, but because the cross included a corpus. Popes John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI later used it.

In 1990, Scorzelli made Blessed John Paul a second cross, similar in design, but lighter. The office of the papal master of ceremonies said the crosier used by Pope Francis last night was the original made for Pope Paul.

Almost exactly five years ago — Palm Sunday 2008 – Pope Benedict began using a pastoral staff topped with a cross, not a crucifix. The golden crosier had been a gift to Blessed Pius IX in 1877 to mark the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop. In November 2009, Pope Benedict was given a new crosier, based on the same design, which he used at liturgies until his retirement.

Rosary from Pope Benedict.

Rosary from Pope Benedict.

However, Pope Benedict continued to use Scorzelli’s design for the crucifix on the rosaries he handed out as gifts.

8 Responses

  1. Strictly speaking, the cross or crucifix carried by the pope is not a crozier, which is the shepherd’s staff used by lower-ranking hierarchs as a symbol of their pastoral office.

  2. Every day, in every way, I am thankful to God for our new pope.

  3. Your Holiness,Pope Francis,

    I am a newly baptised catholic and it surely is now a pure blessing knowing that I am and have chosen the correct path , Your Holiness ‘s simple,humble ,loving leadership makes it all worthwhile.

    I would want to be as devout as Your Holiness is and I know that it won’t be an east journey but your firm stance for Truth will persevere me.

    God Bless
    Nadia Khan
    South Africa

  4. @Nadia Khan: Congratulations on your entry into the Catholic Church! Welcome Home! I will pray for you for perserverence and holiness. I know Pope Francis will always be a beacon of love and humility for you and for all Catholics! May God bless you and Mary protect you!

  5. Hurry for Nadia Khan!
    And our brother’s and sister’s of South Africa!
    Hurry~Hurry~Hurry~~~
    Ms. Khan please, no matter what may occur in your life time,
    never let poisonous words, change your mind and heart, about
    where you stand today- The Very Holy Catholic Church+++

    JJ

  6. Not historical, completely unRoman. Unpleasant to look at. I hope he retires it for good.

  7. I prefer Benedict’s but this doesn’t bother me and seems to reflect Francis’ papal style.

  8. The ten commandment’s and the commandment to love one another are the most important things in the Holy Catholic Church and Humanity today! And will be for some time

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