The Papal Pallium

2013-03-19 Vatican Radio

Among the liturgical insignia of the Supreme Pontiff, one of the most evocative is the pallium made of white wool, symbol of the bishop as the good shepherd and, at the same time, of the Lamb Crucified for the salvation of the human race: “the lamb's wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life” (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily for the Holy Mass inaugurating his Petrine ministry on 24 April 2005).

The papal pallium, in its present form, is a band of cloth having a wide and large style, and with red crosses. The pallium of the metropolitan archbishops, however, is a narrow band of material decorated with six crosses of black silk. The different form of the papal pallium with respect to that of the metropolitans makes clear the diversity of jurisdiction.