Wednesday 10 April 2024

Surprise: Pope claims abolished title of honour for himself

Annuario pontificio (2024) libro ...

Without prior notice, Pope Francis has reversed something that his predecessor Benedict XVI(2005-2013) had changed during his pontificate. 

The Pope now once again bears the historic title of"Patriarch of the West" (Patriarca dell'Occidente), as he last did in 2005. 

Benedict XVI had this title removed from the list of papal titles in the first year of his pontificate, causing irritation among the churches of the East.

With the title "Patriarch of the West", the Pope puts himself on an equal footing in ecumenical dialogue with the Patriarch of Constantinople and other patriarchs of Eastern churches that do not recognise the Pope as their head. 

The current Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, whom Pope Francis has already addressed as "brother" on several occasions, was apparently one of the first to be informed of the move.

New edition of the Papal Yearbook with change visible

The change was made visible in the so-called Papal Yearbook, the official "Annuario Pontificio" published by the Vatican publishing house LEV. 

The new edition for the current year 2024 went on sale in the Vatican this week

Since 2020, the directory has listed most papal titles separately as "historical titles"

 These include the titles "Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Pontifex Maximus of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Province of Rome, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God". 

On the page in front is the Pope with his original title: "Francis, Bishop of Rome".