Celestine V – The Papal Pallium - Benedict XVI

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> With the bestowal of the pallium, did the Pope intend to
pardon Celestine V – the Pope of the Great Refusal – and forgive him for having turned the Pardon ceremony into a secular and super partes ritual?

This Site, divided into Chapters, illustrates the events that after 700 years unified two historically crucial centuries: the 12th century with the 21st century, that has ushered in the third millennium and reopened the "Bridge of Light" built by Pope Celestine V for the citizens of L’Aquila.

The earthquake of April 6th 2009 was a frightful warning signal, perceived and grasped only by the most sensitive minds and hearts.
Also the Catholic Church realized it and took immediate and timely action, in the form and manner such a dramatic event required from all those who care about our injured mankind, and in particular about the inhabitants of Abruzzo so deeply wounded in their most vital parts and so confused  about the most urgent and immediate care to be provided. Financial support alone is not enough to rebuild all the buildings damaged and destroyed by an earthquake that caused the Gran Sasso Mountain to rise by one meter and a whole lake to dry up.

Following several phone conversations with Maria Grazia Lopardi and other friends of the Panta Rei Association she manages so well, I learned that they were all doing fine although they were living in tents and campers, since their houses had been destroyed or severely damaged.
However, the total lack of news about the conditions of the Basilica and the devastating effects of the earthquake, while there was plenty of information about other churches and sacred buildings, left me utterly perplexed.

I was pretty familiar with that kind of attitude that I have learned to understand over time. I had to wait for days before I could see some images of the Basilica with its caved in roof, the collapsed baroque vault lying on the floor with two bearing columns. However, I was relieved to see that the red and white diamond floor was still intact under the debris and rubble. That floor featured an initiatory path that, after the >Triple 8 (888) < drawing, ended in the spiral labyrinth on the right, at the very base of one of the two columns that collapsed with the roof. Luckily enough, the floor  under the rubble did not look badly damaged.

Over the last few months, I have collected a number of pictures and videos that can be viewed on this web site. Some of them show the fire brigade’s efforts to free the glass case with the mortal remains of Celestine V, exhibited to the public at the Sacred Door and guarded by a squad of firemen - as occurred during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI on April 28, 2009. This was a private occasion that no civic authority, not even the Mayor, Massimo Cialente, had been allowed to attend. Only representatives of the clergy were present, first and foremost don Giuseppe Molinari, Archbishop of L’Aquila, who every year is entrusted with the eucharistic opening of the "Sacred Door."

In addition to the Archbishop of L’Aquila, there were also other high profile prelates, including of course George Gaenswein the Pope’s Personal Secretary, and Fernando Filoni, Deputy Secretary of State. Tarcisio Bertone was absent with leave and, on that occasion, Pope Ratzinger publicly called him «My Secretary of State».
Civil authorities attending included Guido Bertolaso, Head of the Civil Protection Service, who was in charge of assisting the Pope, and Gianni Letta, the Prime Minister’s Under Secretary of State who allegedly followed the Pope as a private citizen,  with the usual discretion he exhibits in his institutional role. As a matter of fact, had Letta attended the ceremony as Government’s representative, he would have clearly infringed the rights and prerogatives of the Mayor of L’Aquila, whose task is to open the Sacred Door from the inside and let ecclesiastic authorities in the church. The Mayor is the only person entitled to close that door at the end of the Pardon ceremony, after the liturgical procession has left the church headed by the Archbishop of L’Aquila who celebrates the solemn Mass closing the Jubilee. The first Jubilee was instituted by Pope Celestine V 715 years ago.

Bruno Vespa was also attending, but he decided not to follow the Pope in the historic and very private meeting with Celestine V "...the Pope – as he pointed out in his article - mentioned by Dante for his «Great Refusal». He is the monk who, back in the 13th century, anticipated the Jubilee, by granting plenary indulgence to all repentants who visited the Basilica of Collemaggio during the celebration of the Pardon holiday on August 28. Pope Benedict’s bestowal of the pallium, the very symbol of Papacy, to the remains of the Saint, very solemnly and unexpectedly put an end to a 715-year old controversy."

It is not by chance that Pope Benedict XVI, always so far-sighted and mindful of the ritual and form during ceremonies - especially those that are the most important and symbolic for the whole community - decided to make a gesture with such a strong symbolic meaning. As a matter of fact, during his visit to this ruined city, he repeated the traditional gesture made every year at the Pardon ceremony.

The firefighters brought up to the entrance the glass case containing the remains of Celestine V, that emerged unscathed after the apse collapsed.

As reported by the press, the Pope knocked three times on the Sacred Door with an olive tree branch.

He then delicately opened the heavy door with his hand and for an instant stood alone in front of the shrine with the body of Celestine, the humble monk who, according to Dante, was the Pope of the Great Refusal and the originator of the Jubilee.

The Pope stood for a moment in front of the coffin and then he kneeled down. He briefly stroked the glass case and, helped by Father George, laid on it the Papal Pallium bestowed on him on April 24, 2005.

The Pope put the shawl that was placed on his own shoulders when he was appointed to the Holy See on the mortal remains of Pope Celestine V, on display in the damaged Basilica of Collemaggio. For all the recipients of the message, that was a late, yet highly symbolic sign of recognition of the key role played by that previous “Pontiff”. As already pointed out in the chapter "From Heart to Heart"-, in ancient Rome the Pontiff was mostly in charge of "facere pontem", namely of being the bridge between Heaven and Hearth, while guaranteeing  the “pax deorum". And maybe it did not happen by chance either, that on April 6, 2009 at 3:32 a.m., a "New Portal" opened up, and that on April 28, 2009 Pope Benedict XVI offered the pallium he first wore on April 24, 2005, at the Solemn Installation Mass marking the beginning of his Papacy. That pallium was intentionally different from the one worn by Pope Wojtyla and by other late Popes: the new Pontiff had indeed decided to resume the >pattern < and > symbols< of the original pallium used until the 9th century, as outlined by Monsignor Crispino Valenziano, consultant to the Vatican Office of Liturgical Celebrations in an interview given before and after the installation of Pope Benedict XVI.

Symbolic Meaning of the Papal Pallium

In an interview given to accredited journalists in the Vatican Radio’s Press Room on April 23, 2005, Monsignor Valenziano pointed out that in the ceremony that would officially begin his Papacy, Pope Benedict XVI wanted to point out > St. Peter’s influence < on his role as Shepherd of the Catholic Church, thus evoking the tasks entrusted by the Resurrected Christ to Simon Peter of Bethsaida, who believed Jesus’word and tried one more cast of the net. These tasks are particularly highlighted by the venues specifically chosen for the installation ceremony, but above all by the two symbols > the ring < and > the pallium< selected by Pope Ratzinger as Peter’s direct successor.

In an interview published in the Italian Repubblica – Espresso paper emblematically entitled > The Reform of the Reform Has Already Begun<, Pope Benedict XVI personally explained these symbols and their meanings:
> The Pallium symbolizes Christ’s yoke, the lost sheep rescued from exterior and interior deserts, like the Son of God become lamb, for a world “saved by the Crucified One and not by the crucifiers"
> The Fisherman’s Ring symbolizes the Gospel’s net that pulls mankind out “of the salty sea of all alienations towards the Land of Life and the Light of God”, but it also means “Be not afraid ", becauseeach of us is the fruit of divine thought, each of us is wanted, loved, and necessary”, and is no “some random and meaningless soutcome” of evolution.

With his extraordinary passion for the liturgy – points out Sandro Magister, the author of this article - Pope Benedict XVI is unquestionably a Pope of the great tradition consisting of liturgical texts, rituals, art, and music. The Second Vatican Council also started here, leaving a liturgical reform as its most remarkable legacy. But from the very beginning Ratzinger saw and denounced the distortions of this reform. He went so far as to write: “They are the dead men buring the  other dead men, and they call it reform”. 

The Fisherman’s Ring

The first sign
the new Pope wanted to use to represent his installation to the Petrine Ministry, is the Fisherman’s Ring, featuring three additional symbols: the boat with the fishing net, two stylized fish and the Pallium cross.

"It is called ‘Piscatory’ ring because Peter is the fisherman apostle who, trusting the word of Jesus, cast a second net and got a miraculous catch explains the press release by the Vatican Office of Liturgical Celebrations.

’s call to be a shepherd, which we heard in the Gospel, comes after the account of a miraculous catch of fish: after a night in which the disciples had let down their nets without success, they see the Risen Lord on the shore. He tells them to let down their nets once more, and the nets become so full that they can hardly pull them in; 153 large fish: “and although there were so many, the net was not torn” (Jn 21:11)"

In his homily at the Mass for his installation ceremony, Pope Benedict XVI further mentioned that:
Today too the Church and the successors of the Apostles are told to put out into the deep sea of history and to let down the nets, so as to win men and women over to the Gospel – to God, to Christ, to true life”.

During the official installation ceremony, the ring was passed to Pope Benedict XVI by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Cardinal Sodano.
The image on the ring depicts Peter casting his net. It symbolizes the task entrusted to > him <, namely to strengthen the faith of his brethren, and the ring is its seal of authenticity. Under Pope Benedict XVI’s Papacy, the gemmed ring is no longer used. Pope Ratzinger will always wear the "Piscatory" ring, identical to the signet that is going to be used for certain deeds (as explained by Monsignor Crispino Valenziano). It will be taken off the Pope’s finger and destroyed only after his death.

The Petrine Pallium

The second symbol chosen by Pope Benedict XVI is intended to remember him after his death, since he asked to be portrayed wearing it in the effigy displayed in the Mausoleum of the Popes in memory of the 265th Pontiff. It highlights his role as Shepherd of the First Church and direct successor to the Apostle Peter the Fisherman. Just like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI was ready to set off again on the sea of history and cast his net, to win men and women over to the Gospel – to God, to Christ, to true life, as repeatedly mentioned during the Installation ceremony and later confirmed also by his closest collaborators and liturgical consultants, like Monsignor Valenziano and Monsignor Marini. Commenting this ceremony, which was substantially > different < from all the previous ones, they both confirmed that the Pope intended to wear the same clothes of the 1st Christian Pope, with all the liturgical implications carried by their symbols.

"The new pallium chosen by Pope Benedict XVI – just like the previous one – is made of sheep and lamb wool, to remember the Gospel of John 21” stated Monsignor Marini at one of the press conferences.
"It is unusually long down to the feet. The tips of the pallium are embroidered in black silk, just like the black sheep"
" Benedict’s pallium is embroidered with
five red silk crosses as opposed to the six black ones of the pallium worn by previous Popes, because they are the wounds of the shepherd who allowed himself to be crucified for his sheep” 
"The pallium is garnished with three jewelled gold pins (aciculae) symbolic of the three nails (one on each hand and one on the feet) reminding of Christ’s suffering. The other two pins symbolize the crown of thorns that was placed on his head and the lance with which he was struck in the side".

The golden pins seem to be survivals of the time when the pallium was a simple scarf doubled and pinned on the left shoulder, as indicated in this picture of Wojtyla, who, unlike Pope Benedict XVI, carried only one pin close to his neck.

The pallium is an ancient Episcopal symbol made of pure wool. It has been worn by Roman Bishops since the 4th century to symbolize Christ’s yoke, carried by the “Servant to the Servants of God”, as the Pontiff is called.

In early Christian times, the pallium was long and draped around the neck with its ends hanging down from the left shoulder, in the manner of the Western fashion until mid 9th century, as shown in the fresco in  Sacro Speco of Subiaco, dating back to around 1219 and portraying Pope Innocent III.

According to Monsignor Guido Marini, Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, the < pallium > of Innocent III was the result of a conscious “archaism".
This interpretation was also confirmed by Thomas F. Mathews, British historian of medieval art. He highlighted the "iconographic intention" of a fresco in the Sacro Speco cloister in Subiaco to portray the founder of Christianity and his early disciples as if they were "detached from this world", and "teaching about another world", a role that in late imperial Roman times was assigned to philosophers.
Originally, the pallium (derived from the Latin word pallium, a woolen cloak) was the cloak worn by philosophers. In paleochristian art, both Jesus and the apostles were portrayed wearing it, like in this painting of Simon Peter (the 1st Pope) by P.P. Rubens.

It represents the lost sheep on the shoulder of the Good Shepherd as well as the triple profession of love elicited by the questions that the Resurrected Jesus asked Simon Peter and His request to tend and shepherd His lambs and sheep (John.21,15-19). 

In Egypt, St. Isidore of Pelusio (died about 440), who used the word omophorion to describe the episcopal insignia - "that which the bishop wears on his shoulders" - explained that it was made of wool, not linen, and therefore, "it stands for the skin of the lost sheep that the Lord looked for, and having found it, carried it on his shoulder (Isidore of Pelusium, Ep. i,136: page 78,721).

While originally an exclusive vestment of the Pope, the Pallium was then bestowed by him on Bishops as a symbol of the jurisdiction assigned to them by the Holy See. In 513, Pope Simmacus conceded the privilege of the pallium to Cesarius, Bishop of Arles.
Bishops wear a pallium around their shoulders to symbolise a lamb, as a sign of their special link with the Pope and to express the power that, in communion with the Church of Rome, the Metropolitan acquires by right in his own jurisdiction. A Metropolitan Archbishop may wear his pallium in his own archdiocese and anywhere in his ecclestiastical province.

The pallium, this white wool stole, is the symbol of a bishop’s power.

"To be a bishop, to be a priest, means taking up > Christ’s < position, namely, thinking, seeing, and acting from His elevated position, hence, starting from Him, to be there for  all men, for them to find life”.

The pallium imposed on the new Pope by Cardinal Protodeacon Jorge Medina Estévez on Sunday April 24 2005, was larger and crossed over the left shoulder, as it was worn originally.

This liturgical insignia worn by the Bishops of Rome since the 4th century, as attested by the mosaics of the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe in Ravenna, may be considered “an image of the yoke of Christ, which the Bishop of this City, the Servant of the Servants of God, takes upon his shoulders”, said Pope Benedict XVI during his installation homily.

God’s yoke is God’s will, which we accept -, added the Pope - And this will does not weigh down on us, oppressing us and taking away our freedom. To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found – this was Israel’s joy, this was her great privilege”.

The pallium is also a tangible sign of the cohesiveness of the Church, as well as of the communion between the Holy See in Rome and the Churches all over the world.  Generally, during the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the Pope confers the pallium on the Metropolitans appointed during the year. This custom originates from the double martyrdom of Peter and Paul, when all Churches began to look at the Church of Rome as their key reference point for their doctrinal and pastoral unity.

In the Second Vatican Council it is stated: " Within the Church, particular Churches hold a rightful place; these Churches retain their own traditions, without in any way opposing the primacy of the Chair of Peter, which presides over the whole assembly of charity (see S. Ignatius M., Ad Rom., Preaf.: Funk, I, 252), and protects legitimate differences, while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it" (Cost. Lumen gentium, 13).

Pope Benedict XVI has reverted to a longer cut pallium, crossed over the left shoulder as was customary up to the 9th century, quite distinct from the pallia worn by Archbishops, with the two ends falling exactly down the middle, front and back.

Changes to the shape of the Papal pallium and to the number of crosses

During the first three years of his Papacy, the Pope used to wear the traditional pallium, which was later replaced with one similar to the pallium used by his predecessors.

However, as maintained by Monsignor Valenziano, the style of the pallium used by Benedict XVI since the start of his Pontificate has entailed a number of bothersome problems. Therefore, starting June 29, 2008, Benedict XVI has been wearing a Y-shaped pallium, similar to the one used by Metropolitans but wider and longer and decorated with 6 red crosses, in lieu of the 5 black crosses featured on the archaic pallium he wore on the day of his installation to the Papal throne.

Therefore, since June 29, 2008 the style of the Pallium worn by Pope Benedict XVI at solemn liturgical celebrations has changed. For the Mass on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, he wore the closed circular pallium, with the ends hanging down the center, front and back. Strangely enough, this pattern was already present in his Coat of Arms, as
> a cryptic sign of clairvoyance <
for its clear resemblance with the Pallium he had first worn in June 2008, as if he had guessed that he would be replaced, three years after his installation as new Pontiff.

Although the pallium is longer and wider, the red color of the < 6 crosses > adorning it has been retained, but the shape of these crosses has been changed to 4 equilateral triangles joining at the centre.

In an interview published in “L'Osservatore Romano” dd. June 26, 2008, Mons. Guido Marini, Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, was asked about the reasons for this change and the differences from the pallia imposed on Metropolitan Archbishops. Citing historical and liturgical reasons for the change, he explained that: "It has to do with the development of the Latin pallium used up to the time of John Paul II ", ornated with 4 black crosses on the front and 2 on the back "-

Such difference remains even in the current pallium. What Benedict XVI will use starting from the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Pau, will be the pallium used up to the time of John Paul II, although it will be wider and longer, and with 6 red rather than black crosses. The difference in form between the Pope's pallium and that of the archbishops highlights the difference in the jurisdiction that the pallium represents.”

The reform of the reform has stopped
> Going back to the ancient pallium <

Therefore, as claimed by the Curia, these changes (a larger pallium and 6 red crosses instead of 6 black ones) –- highlight the difference in jurisdiction between the Pope and the archbishops. However, it is unlikely that Pope Benedict XVI intended to use a more comfortable vestment or to stress the difference in jurisdiction, evidenced by the different color and pattern of the 6 crosses of the pallium. This is also confirmed by the change to the Pastoral Staff < in the form of a Greek cross, - which belonged to Pius IX and was used for the first time by Benedict XVI on Palm Sunday of that year. This is the crosier currently used by the Pope in lieu of the silver staff topped by a crucifix first used by Paul VI and then by John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI himself.

It would be really too simplistic and undoubtedly misleading to consider this > decision < as an ordinary change of liturgical vestments or simply dismiss it as a >return to past traditions <. Or even, as claimed by the Pope’s liturgical advisors “in order to offer a sign of development in continuity, being rooted in tradition that allows proceeding along the historical path in an orderly manner”. Quite a weak and unconvincing argument indeed, since it did not just involve discarding an >uncomfortable vestment< and resuming the use of the pallium worn by his predecessors.

Quite the contrary, the pallium was totally restyled and, above all, the color, shape, and consequently the arcane and symbolic meaning of the crosses have been modified. Each cross is formed by > 4 equilateral triangles< resulting into a set of numbers linked to a specific esoteric and mysteric symbology > 3 sides of each triangle x 4 = 12 x 6 = 72 <> like the 72 Angels of the Tradition.

As is well known, since his appointment to the highest office of Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI has always advocated the right worship of God. Liturgically speaking, this is to be achieved also through devoted gestures, a decorous use of the right vestments worn at the proper occasions, sober solennity, and, in particular, the use of ancient vestments worn in the past, fully respecting their ancient meaning and unchanged function. In the case of the traditional pallium, this would mean to identify the new Pope exclusively with Peter < the founder > of the Church of Christ on the Cross.

These are just curial and liturgical considerations, which seem to contradict the > Petrine approach < that Pope Benedict XVI has intended to follow in his Papacy. As a matter of fact, since the celebration of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, he has clearly shown his strong desire to change: for example, in the Mausoleum of the Popes, the portray depicting him with the > pastoral cloak< of his forefathers > was replaced < with another showing him wearing a pallium with totally different symbols and spiritual values.


Initially, the real goal of the 265th Pope seemed to be quite > different< , as confirmed by his bestowal on  Celestine V of the ancient pallium he had worn on his initiation ceremony and that was fully refashioned in its smallest details. With this gesture, he did not only recognize the humble monk St Peter Celestine as Pope – a role he had never lost. After our careful and in-depth analysis of the ceremony that was held in L'Aquila on April 28, 2009, we are fully convinced that Pope Benedict XVI also credited Peter of Morrone for being one of the Founding Fathers of the Church of Christ just like < Peter >, and considered him as the real Successor to the 1st Christian Pope.

On April 24 2005, Pope Benedict XVI was strongly determined to leave an indelible and highly symbolic sign of his earthly existence. Throughout his installation homily, he kept on highlighting the “Petrine” aspect of his Papacy. He also chose two symbols (the Piscatory ring and the Traditional pallium), both of them unequivocally revealing his intentions.

As repeatedly pointed out by Monsignor Valenziano, upon his installation, Pope Ratzinger made no secret about his desire to fully identify himself > soul and body < with Simon Peter, by introducing ritual and formal differences.

The new Pontiff clearly explained the > role < he meant to play, stressing his firm intention to identify himself with Peter > the first Pope <.

During a press conference, Monsignor Crispino Valenziano, consultant to the Vatican Office of Liturgical Celebrations, unequivocally explained the key message of this gesture:

>Pope Benedict XVI was not appointed successor to John Paul II, but to Peter” <

Actually, the initiation rites of the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI had plenty of new symbolic meanings that characterized not ony the solemn Mass of that Sunday, but also all the Pope’s gestures before and during the ceremony.

All rites were approved by the new Pope a few hours after he had been chosen by the Collegium of Cardinals as the 265th successor to the Apostle Peter.

As a matter of fact, the solemn Mass for the inauguration of the Pontificate replaced the coronation ceremony with the Papal tiara, previously abolished by Pope Paul VI (1963-1978).
One of the most significant changes was the visit, at the beginning of the Mass, to the “tropheum”, where, under the baldachin, lies the grave of the first Bishop of Rome.

The Lithurgist with St. Anselmo Pontifical Liturgical Institute has pointed out that in the past, Popes were crowned sometimes in the Sistine Chapel and sometimes in the Basilica.

However, Pope Benedict wanted to be installed, with no coronation ceremony, in Piazza San Pietro, not for logistics reasons but because, as he explained, “this is the place where Peter was martyred”.

Valenziano, who is also a member of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology, added that the Mass on that particular Sunday started as a “statio” or station, at Saint Peter’s grave, to pray that “ Peter sets off from where Peter is”. It is because of this intentional symbolic gesture that Pope Benedict XVI, accompanied by oriental Patriarchs, went from the Altar of the Confession in Saint Peter’s Basilica down to the so called “Tropheum”, where the tomb of the first Pope lies.

Right then, two diacons took the two symbols that would be imposed upon the Pope: "the Piscatory Ring” and "the Pallium”, which was laid on the tomb of St. Peter, where it remained all night.

Therefore, the Petrine aspect of the various ritual passages is quite clear to us and to those who can decode more or less encrypted symbols the current Pope is highly knowledgeable about. We will now carefully review the events occurred on Sunday, April 24, 2005.

Choice of Cross Patterns

There is also a symbolic difference in the choice of the > cross patterns< stitched on the pallia.

1) The pallium with black crosses, that is the one worn by John Paul II and by Metropolitan Archbishops, features an equilateral cross also known as Greek cross with a triangular, funnel shaped form.

The archaic pallium with 5 red crosses, that is the one worn by Pope Benedict XVI on the day of his installation to the Papal throne, features a stylized Greek cross, slightly narrowing where the two segments cross.

3) The modern pallium with 6 red crosses, as modified and worn since June 2008, features a Maltese cross, as the one portrayed above under No. 12, which is still different from the more common one with 8 points.

It is however < identical> to the one depicted in the Freemasonry Scottish Rite 30th degree Crest.
It would be interesting to analyse the symbolic and mysteric reasons why Pope Benedict XVI decided to choose the < red cross > pattern, which in the Scottish Freemasonry represents the Grand Elect Knight Kadosh, Knight of the Order of the White and Black Eagle.

Kadosh is the "saint", the "pure" man who has crossed the threshold of supreme initiation, trying to free himself from all psychological, spiritual, and philosophical conditioning. 

He is the "the Soldier of the Eternal God who has severed all ties with the world "; in other words, he is the Mason who has succeeded in achieving total mental and spiritual freedom through a ritual whereby "in full spirit of independence, he is released from subjection to whatever ideas he might have developed out of religious belief or cultural social-political background" - just like the ancient Knights Templar, deemed to be gnostic-Manichaean heretics because of the "knowledge" they had acquired during their stay in the Holy Land between the 11th and 12th century. It was because of the knowledge they gained even after the official dissolution of their Order in 1312 by Clement V, that they were persecuted by the Catholic Church.

It started out with the pallium featuring the pattern of the early Christian times and was later replaced by a totally different one in shape and cross color, unquestionably linked to the Templar and Masonic traditions.

? End of
a Cycle and Beginning of a NEW ONE ?

Had Pope Ratzinger, in addition to changing the pallium, not chosen the pastoral staff of Pius IX, who had pronounced anathema on Freemasons, we could assume that, like other Popes before him, Pope Benedict XVI thinks well of masonic liturgy and rituals as evidenced by many symbols carved in the stone of so many Christian churches, including the Basilica of Collemaggio commissioned by Celestine V and the Basilica of Assisi, designed by Brother Elias - both built by the Comacine Masters. This is also testified by the grave of Master Ciccolo di Becca (died in 1330) located in the cemetery behind the Basilica of Assisi, which displays an incredible number of masonic symbols: e.g. a Rose Cross, a square, a compass and a punch and, once again, an eight-point star.

This is certainly not the right place to discuss this topic in detail, nor to solve enigmas or decode encrypted messages written on the clothes and vestments of the current Pope. He has proved to know gnostic-Manichaean heresies quite well and to possess the "knowledge” acquired by the Templars when they were in Palestine. This knowledge had certainly been passed on to Peter of Morrone, the future Pope Celestine V, during the construction of the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio and of the floor leading to the Labyrinth with the Triple 8 (888), that had been hidden and disguised for so many centuries.

There is no point in mentioning here the reasons why Frederick II and the Templars decided to build L'Aquila on a strategic as well as symbolic site. Its history should be read in a totally different way as compared to what has always been falsely taught us: it would be just enough to look at the right perspective of the events and at the true reasons why the Templars decided to build one of their latest Cathedrals on > Colle (di) Maggio <

It is a highly powerful and unique
Power Station for the acceleration of human cells. It was designed to allow all those who have purified their body and spirit (see the Pardon ceremony) and are ready and willing to do so – to receive these unique and potent cosmic energies. For centuries, this Power Station has been intentionally switched off and turned into a place of worship, artfully hidden, together with its famous Labyrinth, and disguised inside a Baroque Church. The secret of the >Triple 888the initiatory path marked on the floor were not to be revealed. I saw this initiatory path with my own eyes, during the visit I paid to the Basilica in September 26, 2007 with Eddy Seferian, a psychic of Armenian descent.

Now it is important to interpret the various symbolic messages intentionally left by Pope Benedict XVI in the ritual ceremony during which he offered the Papal pallium to Pope Celestine V.

Symbolic interpretation of the Papal Pallium offered to Pope Celestine V

Was it really the intention of Pope Benedict XVI to "pardon" Collemaggio and Celestine V, as pointed out by "L'Aquila Nuova", a local daily, thus unexpectedly and solemnly bringing an end to a 715-year old dispute, as reported by Bruno Vespa?

On closer examination of the timing and procedure chosen by Pope Benedict XVI and by the Roman and Aquilan Curiae to confer enduring fame to the symbolic meeting of the two Popes, one must frankly admit that there were too many coincidences that could have not been improvised.
It is clear that every single detail of this ceremony was carefully planned, nothing was spontaneous or left to chance, as the media and the few attendees were led to believe.

- The photo on the right was taken a few minutes before the Pope’s arrival. The Sacred Door is opened and the Bishop is instructing the firemen to align themselves along the two sides of the Sacred Door, four on each side, so that there would be "eight" of them to welcome the Pope: Eight is a sacred and highly symbolic number for the city of L’Aquila.
- After getting off the Minivan driven by Bertolaso, with only a few people present, the Pope knocked three times with an olive tree branch on the Sacred Door that had been kept closed and, according to a century-old tradition, may only be symbolically opened by the Mayor of the city who is the only person entitled to do it after reading the Bull. All these tasks had been appointed by Celestine to local authorities, who invite the Bishop and the clergy to take part in the ceremony of the opening of the Sacred Door.

- According to press reports, the Pope delicately opened the heavy door with his hand and for an instant he found himself alone in front of the reliquiary containing the remains of Celestine, the humble monk, and, according to Dante, the Pope of the Great Refusal and the originator of the Jubilee.

- The Pope paused for a while in front of the coffin, then he kneeled down. He briefly stroked the glass reliquiary and, with the help of Father George, placed over it the Papal pallium that he received when he was elected Pope on April 24 2005.
- A touching ceremony, as I believe was the intention of this very sensitive Pope and highly knowledgeable man of rituals, always very attentive to all the related implications. He gave his refined gesture a highly symbolic and spiritual meaning, which – I believe – few people really understood. As a matter of fact, very little importance was given to the Pope’s message to the Christian community and above all to the clergy, who had so fiercely opposed His predecessor.

We are convinced that the Pope wanted to attach a very special meaning to this ceremony, by throwing a bridge of light to the other side, where his Predecessor had been unfairly relegated; namely, the Pope wanted to acknowledge the role Celestine has never lost, despite the humble monk’s tunic he had to wear after stepping down of the Papal throne.

What is the symbolic meaning of Pope Benedict XVI’s gesture?

We wish to provide > a different symbolic interpretation < of Pope Benedict XVI’s behaviour during his visit on April 28 2009 and of the decisions he made that day. His gestures will be undoubtedly remembered, not only by the local community of L’Aquila, but also by the entire world.

In the film "Dead Poets Society", the teacher invites a student to step on a desk, turn 360° and get back to the starting point.
The world, says the teacher, must always be looked at from all points of view, there is no granted truth. This is what we have to do, in order to intepret and understand Pope Benedict XVI’s gesture.
An unexpected and unadmissible truth underlies this gesture, if read and interpreted with a 360 degree view.


Benedict XVI intended to attach a clear and unequivocal meaning , when he offered his own personal Papal Pallium imposed on him four years earlier, on the first day of HIS papacy, to the Bishop Pietro Angeleri da Morrone, a humble hermit. The Pope did so in L'Aquila, inside the Basilica, where Pietro had been elected Pope but immediately stepped down and lost all related privileges and titles.

- It is a > highly symbolic gesture < that goes beyond all political implications and the relations between spiritual and temporal power separating Celestine V and his successor and tormentor Boniface VIII, due to their diverging and even contrasting ways of conceiving relations with God and the Believers. It was not meant to "justify", nor to "pardon", not even to do justice.

- With His gesture, the Pope "pardoned" – as claimed by the journalist who has inspired the title of this article - Peter of Morrone for having resigned and detached himself from the Church of Rome. However, he did not forgive him for the secular style he gave to the Pardon ceremony, of a “super partes” ritual, by entrusting the "Bull" to the Municipal Authorities, and granting them exclusive autonomy on the jurisdiction of the Basilica and on the Eucharistic opening of the Sacred Door.

Indeed, although the Roman Curia had clearly highlighted the private nature of that ceremony, for the above illustrated reasons and the way the encounter between Pope Benedict XVI and Celestine V took place, the Pope wanted to send a clear warning to the Municipal Authorities, who were unjustifiably absent and failed to immediately realise the moral and political implications of the absence of the Mayor.

Since “a word to a wiseman is enough”, we believe that the symbolic and political meaning was perfectly understood by those who were supposed to get the message. This is not the case with the Mayor and the other local authorities, who, strangely enough, were unjustifiably absent although they had certainly been informed that after a tour of the areas most severely struck by the quake, the Pope intented to visit the Basilica of Collemaggio, to pay homage to Celestine V.

- The Pope did not arrive on His official car with Papal coats of arms on it, as it would have been customary, but on a rough minivan, like a "modern donkey". In this way, he intentionally sent the same symbolic message delivered by Celestine V on August 28, 1294, when he was crowned Pope, by imitating Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey: another clear and unequivocal sign that the so much longed-for "Age of the Holy Spirit", predicted by Joachim of Fiore, had finally begun.

-The Pope was not welcomed by the Mayor - the only person entitled to open the Sacred Door - but by eight firemen, standing on both sides of the Door. According to received instructions, they had brought up to the entrance the glass reliquiary with the remains of Celestine V, that emerged unscathed after the apse collapsed.

- The Pope was brought to the same Portal > consacrated and blessed < by Celestine V when he was appointed Pope in 1294; he then performed the ritual of the Pardon Ceremony, which has been carried out every August 28 for the past 715 years, using an olive tree branch to remind of the branches laid down by the people welcoming Jesus upon his entry into Jerusalem. He knocked three times on the door, because three is a sacred number. Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, takes place on the third day after Jesus’ death, when the Son of God the Father has come back as "Divine” and no longer as human Spirit, to lay the first Stone
of the "New Spiritual Church" having its centre not in Rome, but in L'Aquila.

The Pope knocked three times with the same olive tree branch used the first time by Peter Celestine to knock on that Door, later consacrated by him. However, contrary to the established, century-old tradition, no Municipal Authority of L'Aquila was there to open the door to the Pope.

- The Pope himself opened the door, helped by his Secretary, without considering that the presence of the Mayor would have been fundamental, since the Mayor is and has always been the only person entrusted by Celestine with the opening of the Sacred Door.

- The Pope donated his Papal pallium, the vestment imposed on him four years earlier, at the beginning of his papacy. The pallium is the image and symbol of the Pope, of the man chosen to "facere pontem", namely to "be a bridge" and promote the encounter between Heaven and Earth, while guaranteeing and maintaining "pax deorum".

Fully aware of the archaic meaning attached by the Christian community to the Papal office, with this gesture Benedict XVI intended to reconfirm the role of Celestine V - the Pope of the Great Refusal - as ferryman of the True Christianity of Jesus and his early disciples, but above all of Simon Peter, the 1st Pope , since in his life and works Celestine was detached from the world” and “tought about another world”. An attitude that unfortunately the Roman Church had lost and had no longer been able to transmit.

- The pope laid the sacred, highly symbolic, shawl on the sealed glass reliquiary, since he could not put it directly on the shoulders of the newly re-elected Pope, as the Vatican rite would have required. Until this "new consacration", the glass case contained the mortal remains of Saint Peter Celestine wearing his Bishop’s clothes and vestments, as imposed by his successor Pope Boniface VIII who considered inappropiate to put the papal insignia  - as provided by the strict ecclesiastical regulations - on Celestine’s corpse when displayed to the public.

Pope Benedict XVI offered his personal Pallium with 5 red crosses (as many as Jesus’ plagues on the cross) according to Innocent III’s ancient fashion – exactly the same  as those featured on the pallium he was wearing when he was crowned Pope on April 24, 2005. That pallium was replaced with another one at the celebration of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29, 2008. This latter pallium is embroidered with > 6 < rather than > 5 < red crosses with a different shape and symbolic meaning, showing a new way of conceiving the relations between the Shepherd and his lost sheep, but also that the sheep lost 700 years earlier has been found!?

- As a matter of fact, the
Pallium is not only a liturgical insignium of honor and jurisdiction worn by the Pope and the Metropolitan Archbishops in their Churches and in those of their provinces, but also the symbol of the lost and found sheep, carried on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd, as well as the Lamb crucified for the salvation of mankind. Celestine knew perfectly well that with his resignation, he was heading for martyrdom.

- Pope Benedict XVI offered his sacred mantle
worn by early Popes, but expressly  chosen and worn by him for the > 1st time< in his installation ceremony as direct successor to the 1st Pope, St. Peter. He offered that unique and irreplaceable pallium, to rejoin, across centuries, the vital spirits of two shepherds and ferrymen of souls, and two great Popes: > Simon Peter < and > Celestine <. In this way, he threw a bridge of light across two sides and two ages that are equally propulsive and are the cornerstones of early Christianity, as professed and intended by His founder.

- Pope Benedict XVI thus joined the hearts of two martyr Popes, and became once again the > 265th Pope < like all his predecessors. He did not want to be identified with Peter, as shown in the portray in the round mosaic, the last one in the row of portraits hanging all around the naves of the Mausoleum of the Popes in the Arcibasilica Maggiore Papale of San Paolo extra moenia, featuring all 265 Popes, from Peter to the current one.

It would be simplistic to consider it as a smart way to get rid of such a valuable spiritual and liturgical vestment - as claimed by a Catholic web site-, thus resisting the allegedly negative influence of Monsignor Marini and above all of Monsignor Valenziano, reportedly the occult Godfather, Curia’s < black sheep>. Allegedly, Pope Ratzinger tried to get away from his pernicious influence, by changing the pallium style and having his portrait with the Traditional pallium removed from the Mausoleum of the Popes.

If we analyze more carefully the Pope’s decision to replace the portrait where he wears  the Traditional pallium, the meaning could be that the Pope does not want to go down in history depicted with the
archaic pallium he would initially wear.

By donating his pallium to Celestine V, Benedict XVI implicitly and humbly admitted that < only > Celestine could be rightly identified with > Peter < and recognised as the Pope who re-founded the true, original Church, since he reformed it from its foundations, by moving the epicentre from Rome to L'Aquila <> from the Basilica of Piazza San Pietro to the Basilica of Santa Maria of Collemaggio.

- With this symbolic gesture, so intimately linked to the equally symbolic gesture he performed when he was appointed Pope, Benedict XVI was referring to Matthew’s words (XVI, 18):
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it ".

These words from the Gospel have certainly inspired Brother Elias to build the Basilica of Assisi on the " Hill of Hell”, a name that Elias later changed to "Hill of Paradise", following the indications of Saint Francis of Assisi, who had said that "one day that hill will become the "Entrance to Paradise" >the "Heaven’s Door" < namely the "Ianua Coeli".

- Therefore,
the Pope linked Celestine’s Basilica in L'Aquila not only to St. Peter’s in Rome but also to St. Francis’ in Assisi, > which, by Pope’s decision - > and not by chance<- was upgraded to > Cathedral < of Assisi. At the same time, he has established a strong and permanent link between the Three Pillars of Christianity and the Churches they have contributed to build, by laying > the First Stone < of these three spiritual centres.

- The decision to have Firefighters standing guard to the glass case containing Celestine’s body and arranging eight of them at both sides of the Door is also highly symbolic.

- After 9/11 2001, the Firefighters have become the symbol of supreme sacrifice, protecting helpless citizens in danger and guaranteeing that what seems to be lost for ever can be recovered and brought back to life. In particular, the firefighters of L'Aquila have proved to appreciatePope Ratzingers’ > gift < to their Pope. In turn, they gave him a > white helmet< in everlasting memory of their > White Firefighter < who willingily waived all titles and privileges to face  the supreme sacrifice > a Great White Elephant < as we like to call the Great Wise Men and true Initiates.

from Heart to Heart

NOTE: on May 5 2013, the ‘Pallium’ offered by Benedict XVI to Pope Celestine V was placed in the glass reliquiary containing his mortal remains. Also new vestments, the Petrine ring, three pins, as well as a new silver 'face', specially designed with the most modern technology and based on a cast of Peter of Morrone’s skull, were placed in the reliquiary.

avv.Giovanni Salvati

A man cannot change the world
but he can spread a
that can change the world


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