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Pontificalis Domus (English: The Papal Household) was a motu proprio document issued by Pope Paul VI on 28 March 1968, in the fifth year of his pontificate. It reorganized the Papal Household, which had been known until then as the Papal Court.
Paul VI begins the letter with his rationale for reorganizing the Papal Household. He notes that "many of the offices entrusted to members of the Papal Household were deprived of their function, continuing to exist as purely honorary positions, without much correspondence to concrete needs of the times" (Introduction). His goal in reorganizing its structure will be to stress the "essentially spiritual" mission of the Pope, as well to serve the civic and international aspects of the Pope's office.
He thus divides the Papal Household into two entities: the Chapel (Capella) and the Family (Familia): the Papal Chapel will assist the Pope with his role as spiritual leader of the Catholic religion, while the Family will serve the Pope insofar as he is a publicly recognized sovereign.
To conclude the introduction, Paul VI reinstates the "original and noble" name of the Papal Court: the Papal Household (primigenio et illustri vocabulo Pontificalis Domus tantummodo appellabitur).
The first section deals with the overarching structure of the Papal Household. It states that the Papal Household shall be composed of both clergy and laity (1, §1). All members of the Papal Household are subject to the direction of the Prefect of the Apostolic Palace (2), but they are all, both ecclesiastical and lay, appointed by the Supreme Pontiff (3, §1). The tenure of all members of the Papal Chapel is subject to the norms established in the 1967 apostolic constitution Regimini Universae ecclesiae , which reformed the Roman Curia; laity are appointed for a period of five years, but the Pope may extend their term of office (3, §2). All offices will be voided upon the vacancy of the Apostolic See, and no offices are hereditary (3, §3 and §4). Furthermore, all ceremonies of the Papal Household will be categorized as either sacred or civil (sacrae aut civiles); the sacred ceremonies are either solemn or ordinary. (Examples of solemn ceremonies include the coronation of a pope, canonizations, etc.) The civil ceremonies are distinguished as either audiences of official character or of a non-official character (4).
The second section deals with the organization of the Papal Chapel. It is declared to consist of the following classes of persons (6, §1):
The following offices were abolished or altered: Palatine Cardinals (Cardinali Palatini); prelates di fiocchetto; Prince-Assistants to the Throne (Principi assistenti al Soglio); Majordomo of His Holiness; the Interior Minister; Commander of Santo Spirito ; Roman Magistrate; Master of the Sacred Apostolic Hospice; Chamberlains of Honor in abito paonazzo; Secret Chaplains and Secret Chaplains of Honor; Secret Clerics; Confessor of the Pontifical Family; Candle-Carrying Acolytes (Ceroferari); Common Papal Chaplains; Porter-Masters of the Virga Rubea; Guardian of the Sacred Tiara; Mace-Bearer; and Apostolic Messenger (Cursori Apostolici) (6, §4).
The last point of this section defines the role of clerics of the Papal Chapel, who are to assist the Pope at the altar, under the guidance of the papal masters of ceremonies. The suppressed offices of Secret Chaplain and Secret Chaplain of Honor, Secret Cleric, Acolyte Ceroferari, Common Papal Chaplain, and Porter-Masters of the Virga Rubea are to be joined under the general heading of "Cleric of the Papal Chapel" (6, §5).
The third and last section of the document deals with the Papal Family. The Family is composed of both ecclesiastical and lay members. The ecclesiastical members are as follows (7, §1):
The lay members of the Papal Family are composed of the following (7, §2):
Section three goes on to abolish the following offices and positions: Palatine Cardinals (Cardinali Palatini); the Palatine prelates (i.e., Majordomo of His Holiness, Master of the Chamber [Maestro di Camera], Auditor of His Holiness); Master of the Sacred Apostolic Hospice; the Hereditary Quartermaster General of the Sacred Apostolic Palace(Foriere Maggiore); Master of the Horse to His Holiness (Cavallerizzo Maggiore di Sua Santità); General Superintendent of Posts; the Keepers of the Golden Rose; Secretary to Embassies; Esente of the Noble Guard of Service; Chamberlains of Honor in abito paonazzo; Chamberlains of Honor extra Urbem; Secret Chaplains and Secret Chaplains of Honor; Secret Chaplains of Honor extra Urbem; Secret Clerics; Common Papal Chaplains; Confessor of the Pontifical Family; and Secret Steward (Scalco Segreto) (7, §3).
The Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace is to retain his office, but under the name of Theologian of the Papal Household (7, §4). The title of Secret Chamberlains Partecipanti (Camerieri Segreti Partecipanti) is abolished; the Secret Almoner and the Sacristan of His Holiness remain in office, but they take respectively the titles of Almoner of His Holiness, and Vicar General of His Holiness for Vatican City. The Secretary of Briefs to Princes and the Secretary of Latin Letters retain their titles. The responsibilities of the Secretary to Embassies and Secretary of the Wardrobe are commuted to the office of the Prelates of the Antechamber. The title of Sub-Auditor (Subdatarius) remains abolished in both name and office (7, §5). Domestic Prelates and Secret Chamberlains Supernumerary remain part of the Papal Family, but are henceforth to be called Prelates of Honor of His Holiness and Chaplains of His Holiness, respectively. Likewise, the Secret Chamberlains of the Cape and Sword (di cappa e spada) are to be retained under the title Gentlemen of His Holiness, and the Bussolanti take the new name of Attachés of the Antechamber (7, §7).
The many offices of honorific ecclesiastical titles—i.e., those given to clerics styled Monsignori—are reduced to three categories: Protonotaries Apostolic (de numero and supernumerary), Prelates of Honor of His Holiness, and Chaplains of His Holiness. All the other categories were abolished (8).
The Corps of the Noble Pontifical Guard assumed the name Honor Guard of the Pope (Guardia d'Onore del Papa), and rendered only an honorary service (9). The Swiss Guard, the Palatine Guard, and the Pontifical Gendarmerie remained in service (10).
Monsignor is an honorific form of address for some members of the clergy, usually of the Roman Catholic Church, including bishops, honorary prelates and canons. "Monsignor" is a form of address, not an appointment: properly speaking, one cannot be "made a monsignor" or be "the monsignor of a parish". The title or form of address is associated with certain papal awards, which Pope Paul VI reduced to three classes: those of Protonotary Apostolic, Honorary Prelate, and Chaplain of His Holiness.
An Prelate of Honour of His Holiness is a Catholic prelate to whom the Pope has granted this title of honour. They are addressed as Monsignor and have certain privileges as regards clerical clothing.
The papal household or pontifical household, called until 1968 the Papal Court, consists of dignitaries who assist the pope in carrying out particular ceremonies of either a religious or a civil character.
The Prefecture of the Papal Household is the office in charge of the Papal Household, a section of the Roman Curia that comprises the Papal Chapel and the Papal Family.
The Grand Master of the Sacred Apostolic Hospice, or Quartermaster-General of the Sacred Palaces, is an hereditary official of the Pontifical Household. The title and office became hereditary on June 28, 1808, when Pope Pius VII appointed Prince Francesco Ruspoli as Grand Master.
A mantelletta, Italian diminutive of Latin mantellum 'mantle', is a sleeveless, knee-length, vest-like garment, open in front, with slits instead of sleeves on the sides, fastened at the neck, once even more common than the mozzetta.
The Apostolic Camera, formerly known as the Papal Treasury, is an office in the Roman Curia. It was the central board of finance in the Papal administrative system and at one time was of great importance in the government of the States of the Church, and in the administration of justice, led by the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
The Secretariate of Briefs to Princes and of Latin Letters, or simply the Secretariate of Briefs, was one of the offices of the Roman Curia abrogated in 1968 by the motu proprioPontificalis domus of Paul VI. It was divided into two sections.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Theologian of the Pontifical Household is a Roman Curial office which has always been entrusted to a Friar Preacher of the Dominican Order and may be described as the pope's theologian. The title was formerly known as the Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace before the changes implemented in Pope Paul VI's 1968 apostolic letter Pontificalis Domus.
The papal majordomo or chief steward of the household of the pope is one of the three palatine prelates, concerning whom particulars have been given in the article maestro di camera.
Paolo Marella was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served in the Roman Curia following a career as a delegate of the Holy See, and was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John XXIII in 1959.
The Roman Court or Papal Curia was reformed by the papal bull Pontificalis Domus issues by Pope Paul VI in 1969. It abolished the role of the old Roman nobility at the papal court with the exception of the position of Prince Assistant to the Papal Throne. The titles abolished, such as the Grand Master of the Sacred Apostolic Hospice and Marshal of the Holy Roman Church and the Sacred Conclave, remain heredity but are now purely honorary.
The fascia is a sash worn by clerics and seminarians with the cassock in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Church. It is not worn as a belt but is placed above the waist between the navel and the breastbone (sternum). The ends that hang down are worn on the left side of the body and placed a little forward but not completely off the left hip.
Clemente Micara was an Italian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He worked in the diplomatic service of the Holy See from 1909 to 1950 and was Vicar General of Rome from 1951 until his death.
Nicola Canali was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State from 1939 and as Major Penitentiary from 1941 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1935. He was Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a prestigious papal order of knighthood.
Francesco Morano was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Secretary of the Apostolic Signatura in the Roman Curia from 1935 until 1959, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1959.
Cesare Zerba was an Italian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Roman Curia from 1958 to 1965, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1965.
Evaristo Lucidi was an Italian Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as Secretary of the Apostolic Signatura from 1916 to 1923, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1923.
This is an index of Vatican City–related topics.
A Chaplain of His Holiness is a priest to whom the Pope has granted this title. They are addressed as Monsignor and have certain privileges with respect to ecclesiastical dress and vestments.