Francis’s Travel Staff

Did you Pope Francis’s pastoral staff today? It’s a replica of a wooden staff made for Francis by prisoners at an Italian detention facility, but then was lost or damaged. Vatican spokesman Fr. Lombardi is saying this will likely become the pope’s “travel staff” on foreign trips.

The Associated Press

21 comments

  1. MAKING THIS IMPORTANT MAKES ME SAD. I WONDER IF THERE IS AN APP FOR SORTING OUT TRIVIALITY IN LITURGY. HOW MUCH WOULD MAKE IT THROUGH? I SHOULD SAY THAT I FEEL CRANKY.

  2. This staff is perfect for this simple shephard of the Church. Hopefully he will not pack it away until his next trip but use it in Rome as well. Its natural simplicity and beauty speaks more than words…

  3. I think the key was removing the corpus. It’s not a processional cross, but a ferula. I would take it over the Paul VI abomination any day of the week.

  4. The Lello Scorzelli designed ferula was used by Blessed Paul VI (along with others), Pope John Paul I, Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI (along with others) and Pope Francis (along with others). I can certainly appreciate that there are different tastes when it comes to the employ of art in liturgy — but to call this pastoral staff, unqualified, an “abomination” is profoundly offensive to me. The term abomination can justly be applied to what Antiochus IV Epiphanes did regarding the Temple in Jerusalem…not to a pastoral staff depicting the Lord Jesus Christ in the moment of His supremely priestly act. We are speaking of a pastoral staff that has been used by five popes, that is reproduced on countless rosaries, a blessed object that abides in the homes of many of the faithful and is cherished by them as a sacramental combining a style of a crucifix with an article evoking the successor of Peter. The large reproduction that I have, obtained in Rome and blessed by Saint John Paul II, is one I highly esteem, deeply venerate and regard as anything but an “abomination”.

  5. Thank you, Rod. My sentiments exactly. “Hideous” and “abomination” are terms we can do without when discussing legitimate variances in artistic style and when we speak of venerable (and venerated) religious objects.

  6. Perhaps a re-reading of Galatians 6.14 would help you gain a sense of proportion, Todd.

    Rod, and Michael, 1+

  7. Perhaps I think is completely outside the scope of the tradition of the Roman Pontiffs’ ferula and an abomination in the sense that it shows no nod whatsoever to immemorial custom.

    If you want that to be a crucifix, fine. I would be OK with that, and actually have one of those hanging in my bedroom. But in place of a ferula, ridiculous. I am happy the Pope has moved to the new pastoral staff, more in keeping with the Church’s tradition.

    1. @Todd Orbitz:
      Todd, please don’t use “abomination” and “ridiculous” at this blog to describe liturgy.

      To show no nod to custom hardly makes something an ‘abomination.’ It just makes it an innovation, and that’s been happening for some 2,000 years now.

      awr

    2. @Todd Orbitz:
      Is the form of the ferula really “immemorial custom”? As I understand it, it was really only with Paul VI that it took on the role of being the papal equivalent of the crozier, carried in all liturgies. It seems to me that since he gave it a new function there is really no problem with giving it a new form. Whatever happened to “organic development”?

  8. I apologize to Father Anthony Ruff for so quickly adding another comment. Until Michael Podrebarac pointed it out in his comment, I had mercifully failed to see the second comment in the thread.

    I find myself obliged in conscience to respond. What is depicted in the photo does not involve stylized art capable of an aesthetic critique. This is not a Cross in some attenuated form. This is about as simple a depiction of the sign of the redemption, in its original material of wood, as one could achieve. To say, without qualification, “it’s hideous” is therefore a statement that I find offensive in the extreme. That anyone on a liturgical website would use that word to describe such a direct and straight-forward depiction of the Cross is frankly incomprehensible to me. As written, the statement comes proximate to insulting the sign of the redemption.

    Carved out of olive wood from Bethlehem, this pastoral staff has the added symbolism of literally being carved at the cradle of Christianity and there, too, is symbolism of significance and not deserving of light dismissal.

    While I appreciate people have varying opinions on what is proper and what is more or less worthy for liturgical implements and liturgical actions, the simple Cross should never be called hideous by any disciple of the Lord. Let us avoid even the appearance of actually insulting the instrument of salvation itself, please.

  9. Basic question: does this pastoral staff collapse? I’ve seen more than a few croziers which are of two or three pieces. I only ask because this is a travel staff. The ability to collapse the staff would be an aid for plane travel, for example.

    1. @Jay Edward:

      A corpus isn’t on other papal ferulae. In fact probably the majority of ferulae don’t have a corpus on it. I don’t see why one is necessary, or even desirable, in this case.

      OT, but I would like to see Pope Francis use this staff in Rome. Its simplicity suits him well. I can’t believe I’m typing this, given that I come from the more ornamental (ostentatious?) end of the liturgical spectrum. Still, I appreciate consistency in presentation. The heavy metal ferulae, in my opinion, detract attention from the pontiff. He looks rather uncomfortable carrying the large staffs.

  10. I think what is most important to consider is who made it for him and why. I have religious articles that family members and friends either bought or made for me, and while I do not particularly care for the style, I keep them and display them because of the connection with the people who made/bought them.

  11. Halbert Weidner : MAKING THIS IMPORTANT MAKES ME SAD. I WONDER IF THERE IS AN APP FOR SORTING OUT TRIVIALITY IN LITURGY. HOW MUCH WOULD MAKE IT THROUGH? I SHOULD SAY THAT I FEEL CRANKY.

    Halbert — Have some Snickers bars.

  12. I wasn’t using “abomination” and ridiculous to describe liturgy. I was using it to describe the Paul VI “thing” that was carried eveywhere.

    I was simply trying to compliment the current pontiff. Alas. Even when trying to compliment him when he retired that thing, it causes indigestion among some.

    And, yes, the Ferula is immemorial custom, though not primarily a liturgical one.

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