PART III. SOME OTHER ARTICLES PERTAINING TO THE PRELATIAL DIGNITY.
|The Ring of the Fisherman or the Fisherman’s Ring (Pope Benedict XVI’s ring as Pope)|
CHAPTER II. Ring.
1. Who Has the Right to Wear a Ring? — 2.Different Sorts of Rings. — 3. Pope. — 4. Cardinals. — 5. Bishops. — 6. Abbots. —7. Prelates. — 8. Canons. — 9. Doctors. — 10. Hand-Kiss.
1. The ring, symbolizing the spiritual marriage of a Bishop and his church, has always been considered as one of the principal insignia of the episcopal rank. (a)
However, the privilege of the ring has been granted to other dignitaries not invested with the episcopal character, namely, Cardinals, Abbots, (b) Roman Prelates, (c) Canons (d) and Doctors. (e)
By all these dignitaries, the ring must be worn on the ring-finger of the right hand.
2. Let us first distinguish three classes of ecclesiastical rings, viz.: Pontifical, Gemmed rings, and Simple rings.
The pontifical ring, denoted as Annulus cordis by the Rubric of the Missal, is the one used for the celebration of the solemn Pontifical Mass. It should be large enough to be put on easily over the gloved finger, (f) and ornamented with a beautiful large stone.
The gemmed (or ordinary) ring is the one habitually worn by Bishops and Prelates. It is adorned with a simple gem, or with a large stone surrounded by brilliants, according to the rank of the dignitary.
The simple ring is one without gem, having a plain gold bezel, on which a coat-of-arms or initials may be carved, that it may be used as a seal. Such is the Doctors' ring given by the Roman Universities. (g)
The Ceremonial of Bishops and the Pontifical suppose that Prelates wear several rings: "Extractisque . . . annulis, lavat manus." (h) "Depositis annulis et chirothecis, larat manus, reassumit annulos . . " (i) And though the present discipline is in favor of only one ring, there is no written law opposed to the quoted passages of the Ceremonial and Pontifical.
3. The Pope makes use of the pontifical ring when he officiates at solemn High Mass. His ordinary ring is adorned with a cameo or carved gem, which is the Pope's exclusive privilege. (j) Another ring, peculiar to the Pope, is the Fisherman's ring, with which the Briefs are sealed. This ring has a large bezel on which is engraved a figure of St. Peter fishing, with the name of the reigning Pope in this form: Pius X. Pont. Max. This ring is put on the Pope's finger as soon as he accepts his election to the Papacy; then, he immediately takes it off and gives it to the Master of Ceremonies, to have his new name engraved on it. The Master of Chamber is entitled to keep this ring, which is the Pope's private seal. But the Secretariate of Briefs has a duplicate of it, so that the ring kept by the Master of Chamber is seldom used. (k) On the Pope's death, the Fisherman's ring is solemnly broken. (l)
4. The Cardinals, besides the pontifical and ordinary rings, have a peculiar one, which they receive from the Pope when promoted to the Cardinalate. This ring is adorned with a sapphire (a stone reserved for Cardinals) and has the arms of the Pope engraved inside.
This ring is furnished by the Propaganda, to which the newly-promoted Cardinal must pay 600 scudi (about 3,000 lire, or $600), whereby he acquires the right of making his will. Otherwise, his arms of the Pope property is inherited by the Reverend Ap0stolic Camera. (m)
When a Prelate, having already the right to wear a ring, is created Cardinal, Roman etiquette prescribes that he take off his ring and remain without one till he receives from the Pope a Cardinal's ring. (n)
5. Bishops, in virtue of their consecration, wear the pontifical ring when they officiate vested in their pontificals. In ordinary life, they wear a ring adorned with a large stone surrounded by brilliants. This stone may be of any kind, except sapphire, which is reserved for Cardinals.
6. Abbots have the same rings as Bishops, except that the ordinary ring has but a single gem. (o)
7. Besides all these dignitaries, two classes of Roman Prelates are entitled to wear the ordinary ring. These are the seven Protonotaries Apostolic di numero and the Abbreviators of the Major Park, but the ring which they are privileged to wear has but one stone, "cum unica gemma."(p) The seven Protonotaries Apostolic di numero wear also the pontifical ring when they officiate in their pontificals. (q) The Protonotaries Apostolic supernumerary and ad instar use the pontifical ring when they celebrate Pontifical Mass; but they are not habitually allowed to wear a ring. (r)
8. Canons must follow the rules laid down by the indult granting them the favor of wearing the ordinary or pontifical ring.
9. According to Roman usage, Doctors have the right to wear a ring. Ordinarily the ring delivered by the Roman Universities is of plain gold, with the word "ROMA" engraved on the bezel. But this is only a local custom. No written law, custom or ceremonial prohibits Doctors from wearing a more elaborate ring, adorned with one or several gems. (s)
The use of a Doctor's ring is strictly reserved for civil life, teaching, and academic solemnities. The Sacred Congregation of Rites has frequently forbidden the use of the doctoral ring during ecclesiastical ceremonies, even in the celebration of Low Mass. (t)
We may remark here that a Protonotary Apostolic ad instar, though not granted a ring as Prelate, may, however, wear one as Doctor. (u)
10. With regard to kissing a Bishop's hand, it is to be noted that it is the ring, and not merely the hand of the Bishop, which is kissed, his ring being the symbol of his close union with his church, (v) as well as the sign of his authority.
Should one bend the knee when kissing a Bishop's ring? Yes, if the Bishop is within the limits of his own diocese, as it is an acknowledgement of his jurisdiction as Ordinary, Outside of his own diocese, etiquette requires that he should only allow a low bow due to his character as a Bishop.
According to principles frequently laid down in this manual, it is proper to bend the knee to a Cardinal everywhere, to an Archbishop in his province, and to an Abbot in his monastery.
(a) Pontif. Rom., De Consecratione electi in Episcopum.
(b) Several bulls of Pope Urban II. (eleventh century).
(c) S. R. C, March 3, 1674, etc.—Const. Decet Rom. Pont. —Const. Apostolicae Bedis. —Const. Inter multiplices, etc., etc.
(d) In Italy, almost all Canons wear a ring.
(e) S. R. C., May 23, 1846, etc.—A. Battandier, Annuaire Pontifical (1906), pp. 449, seq.
(f) Caer. Episc. II., viii., 11.
(g) Barbier de Montault, op. cit, Tom. I., p, 159.—A. Battandier, Annuaire Pontifical (1906), p. 449.
(h) Caer. Episc. II., viii., 10.
(i) Roman Pontifical, De ord. confer.
(j) Barbier de Montault, op. cit., Tom. I., p. 161, n. 6.
(k) Barbier de Montault, loc, cit. — Grimaldi, op. cit, ch. IV., p. 49; ch. XXVII., p. 471.
(l) Ferraris, Bibliotheca, art. Annulus (4).
(m) Barbier de Montault, op. cit., Tom. I., p. 162.
(n) Barbier de Montault, loc. cit. — "Et notandum quod novi Cardinales, etiamsi antea erant praelati, non debent portare annulos antequam habeant annulum a Summo Pontifice" Rom, Oerem). This regulation applies only to Prelates living in Rome at the time of their appointment as Cardinals.
(o) Decrees of Alexander VII. and Benedict XIV.—Pius VII., Const. Deoet Romanum Pontificem (1828).
(p) Pius X. Const. Inter multiplies (1905), n. 4.
(q) Pius X. Const, cit., n. 5.
(r) Pius X. Const. cit. t n. 27, 31, 47, 49.
(s) Mgr. Battandier, Annuaire Pontifical (1906), p. 449.
(t) S. R. C, May 22, 1612—February 13, 1625—Nov. 20, 1628—May 23, 1846—June 30, 1880, etc.
(u) All Protonotaries Apostolic are Doctors.
(v) Pontificale Romanum, De Consecratione electi in Episcopum. — Duran-Dus Mim., Rationale, Book III., ch. XIV.— Honorius Aug., Opera liturgica, Book I., ch. 216 (In Migne P. L., vol. 172, col. 609).