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Friday, 18 June 2010

Bl Pio Nono's tiara for UK Papal Visit?


It is easy to forget anniversaries but Catholic Under the Hood has helped us with his post Today in Catholic History – Pius IX receives the Belgian Tiara.

On 18 June 1871, the Ladies of the Royal Court of the King of the Belgians gave a tiara to Blessed Pope Pius IX in honour of the 25th anniversary of his pontificate. It may also have been given by the devoutly Catholic King as a gesture of support for the Blessed Pio Nono after the loss of the Papal States the previous year.


The tomb of Blessed Pius IX (above) is in the crypt of the Church of San Lorenzo fuori le mura; when Fr Briggs and I are in Rome, we go to make a visit. He is a great devotee of the saintly Pontiff and knows far more about him than I do. Over lunch today, he did not mention the auspicious anniversary of the Donation of the Belgian Tiara, which makes me think that he was sparing my blushes at being so ignorant.

I very much hope that the Mgrs Ganswein and Marini persuade the Holy Father that the restoration of the tiara is the next step in the reform of the Papal Liturgical Ceremonies and that the visit to Great Britain would be the perfect opportunity to wear the Belgian Tiara. As all Germans and Italians know, the British love ceremony and are very good at it. Furthermore, everyone has heard of the Crown Jewels and knows that Her Majesty the Queen is one head of state who would not be upstaged by such fine headgear.

The other day, Fr Briggs showed me this photo of his ordination 25 years ago this year. The organiser of the Papal Visit, Mgr Summersgill, was Deacon at the ceremony. I might suggest to Fr Briggs that he could use his influence to - well, you know - "pull a few strings."

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