Two New Inscriptions in Honor of Pope Benedict XVI

Gregory DiPippo

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificu, which greatly liberalized permission to celebrate the usus antiquior of the Roman Rite. Less than a year later, he established a parish in Rome for the older rite, which he entrusted to the Fraternity of St Peter, at the church of the Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims near the Ponte Sisto. This church was never previously a parish, but rather, the home of a religious confraternity established in the mid-16th century under the auspices of St Philip Neri, to take care of pilgrims visiting Rome. In recent years, the confraternity has begun to flourish again, and engages in many charitable activities on behalf of the poor.

Last Saturday, the church celebrated a funeral Mass for Pope Benedict, who passed away on the morning of December 31st. Following the standard custom of the usus antiquior, a large catafalque was set up in the church’s crossing, representing the deceased as if his body were present. After the Mass, a very beautiful prayer called the Absolution is said for the departed person, and the catafalque is incensed and sprinkled with holy water. This symbolizes the fact that the prayers of each individual congregation and its members all participate in the Church’s commendation of the soul of the deceased to God, even though they are not celebrating the funeral presente cadavere.

The catafalque was also decorated with two commendatory inscriptions in Latin, one on either side. Our thanks to the clergy of the parish for permission to share the text of the inscriptions and these photos.

Aeternae memoriae Benedicti XVI Pontificis Maximi, moderatoris de sacra liturgia solliciti, qui Non. Iul. an. sal. MMVII litteris apostolicis motu proprio datis Summorum Pontificum, ut debita reverentia erga divinum cultum denuo instauraretur sacra mysteria iuxta antecedents maiorum usus servanda decrevit. Parochus et fideles hoc grati animi monumentum reliquerunt.

To the everlasting memory of Pope Benedict XVI, a judicious moderator of the sacred liturgy, who on July 7, in the Year of Salvation 2007 [1], by the Apostolic letter given motu proprio [2], titled Summorum Pontificum, decreed that the sacred mysteries were to be kept according to the prior customs of our forefathers, so that due reverence for the worship of God might again be restored. The parish priest and faithful have left this monument as a witness of their gratitude.

Benedicti XVI Pontificis Maximi auctoritate a.d. x kal. Apr. an. sal. MMVIII, die Resurrectionis Dominicae, per decretum Vicarii Urbis Camilli S.R.E. Presb. Card. Ruini, templum ad peregrinos accipiendos labore ac pietate S Philippi Nerii olim extructum in paroeciam cum cura fidelium priscis ritibus liturgicis adhaerentium sub titulo Ss Trinitias Peregrinoum ad maiorem Dei gloriam erectum est.

By the authority of Pope Benedict XVI, on March 23, in the Year of Salvation 2008, on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection, by decree of the vicar of the city Camillo Cardinal Ruini [3], the church formerly built by the effort and piety of St Philip Neri to receive pilgrims was erected as parish with care of the faithful who are attached to the earlier liturgical rites, under the title of the Most Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims, for the greater glory of God.

[1] In Latin inscriptions of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, various permutations of “anno salutis – in the year of salvation” are often used instead of “anno Domini.” This custom was especially common in Italy.     

[2] This is a technical term for a law issued by the Pope “of his own initiative”, rather than one issued after consultation with the various departments of the Roman Curia.

[3] The cardinal vicar is the bishop who takes care of the diocese of Rome on behalf of the Pope. Every cardinal has either an episcopal see close to Rome of which he is formally the head, or a church in Rome of which he is formally the archpriest or deacon. Hence the title in Latin “cardinalis presbyter – cardinal priest”, which I have omitted in the English version to avoid a clumsy translation. When the decree mentioned here was issued, His Excellency Camillo Ruini, the vicar of Rome, was the cardinal archpriest of the Pope’s cathedral, St John in the Lateran. He retired from both of these positions on June 27, 2008.

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