June 29, 2012. (Romereports.com)
The feast of St. Peter and St. Paul is one of the most solemn ceremonies at the Vatican. Something that is easily seen in St. Peter's Basilica. First, the statue of St. Peter is decorated with robes and the papal ring. Also because the pope places the pallium on the archbishops that were appointed over the past year.
The pallium itself is made of lambswool and reminds the bishops of their work as pastors in taking care of their flocks.
Among the 43 new archbishops was the world's youngest cardinal, the Archbishop of Berlin Rainer Woelki, as well as Cardinal Francisco Robles from Guadalajara, Mexico. Then there was the new archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, the young archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle from Manila, in the Philippines. There was also the Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori, and the archbishop of Seoul, South Korea, Andrew Yeom Soo Jung.
The Pope spoke to them about hope. In a speech that carried a nostalgic tone, he reflected on the contrast between the mission that God entrusted to St. Peter and his successors and the human weakness to comply.
“On the one hand, because of the light and the strength that come from on high, the papacy constitutes the foundation of the Church during its pilgrimage through history; on the other hand, across the centuries, human weakness is also evident, which can only be transformed through openness to God’s action.”
The Pope recalled that Jesus Christ promised St. Peter that the forces of evil would not prevail and that because of this the Church has the power to forgive sins.
“The Church is not a community of the perfect, but a community of sinners, obliged to recognize their need for God’s love, their need to be purified through the Cross of Jesus Christ.”
The ceremony had a strong ecumenical significance. First, because among those attending was a delegation sent by the main Orthodox leader, the Patriarch of Constantinople.
And also because the pope asked his official choir, the Sistine Chapel, to sing along with the most important Anglican Choir, the Choir of Westminster Abbey. The result was truly spectacular.