VATICAN CITY, JUNE 30, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II reminded the faithful that the unity of the Church needs the service of communion of the Bishop of Rome.
The Pope expressed this when addressing some 13,000 pilgrims, gathered in St. Peter’s Square under a scorching sun for today’s general audience. The audience came a day after the celebration of the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.
The Holy Father reflected in his catechesis on the meaning of the imposition of the pallium, received during the Mass by 44 metropolitan archbishops nominated during the past year.
The reception of the liturgical insignia, a stole of white wool worn around the neck, is a tradition that dates back to the ninth century, “as testimony of communion with the Bishop of Rome,” John Paul II said.
The Supreme Pontiff wears the pallium in all solemn celebrations. The metropolitan archbishops wear it in particular circumstances.
“It expresses the fundamental principle of communion, which gives form to ecclesial life in every one of its aspects,” the Pope said.
It “reminds one that this communion is organic and hierarchical; it manifests that the Church, to be one, is in need of the peculiar service of the Church of Rome and of its Bishop, head of the College of Bishops,” he explained.
Moreover, the pallium is also a sign “of the catholicity of the Church,” which has been sent “by Christ to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to serve the whole of humanity,” the Holy Father said.
During the Mass on Tuesday, in which Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I participated, the Holy Father dedicated the last part of his homily to reflect on this service of communion of the Bishop of Rome in the whole College of Bishops.