Thanks to regular reader David for pointing to this story.

Well-known conservative Roman Catholic internet presence Fr John Zuhlsdorf (Fr Z) was watching the Televised broadcast of the Pope in Westminster Abbey when he just about sprayed his coffee on the screen when the commentator mentioned the stole the Pope was wearing.

The Pope’s stole was specially made for Pope Leo XIII.

Pope Leo XIII is well known amongst Anglicans and Roman Catholics for Apostolicae Curae – the document that declared Anglican orders null and void.

Like others (here, here, and here), I don’t think the Pope went to his wardrobe and just reached for the first stole to hand or even the one that looked most attractive that day.

Let’s also not forget that the Pope considers himself the successor of St Peter – to whom Westminster Abbey is dedicated. And, of course, Newman was re-ordained (or for RCs ordained for the first time), and allowed himself to be (re)ordained, before Apostolicae Curae was published.

Anybody still think that the Pope’s choice of John Henry Newman’s feast day is not significant?

ps. I have, more than once, been (very strongly) criticised for wearing a stole at an Office. If it’s good enough for the Pope…

Update September 24: I have now had time to look into a comment by Tyrone Beiron below. Newman was ordained a Roman Catholic priest by Cardinal Giacomo Filippo Fransoni, the Prefect of Propaganda Fidei, on Trinity Sunday, 30th May 1847. The pope at the time was Pius IX who was pope almost 32 years. Leo XIII began his papacy 20 February 1878. By then Newman was in England as an Oratorian. Tyrone’s claim that Leo ordained Newman is false.

Similar Posts: