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Daily Catholic Question

What is the papal tiara?

In its simplest form the papal tiara seems to have appeared about the third century. Over the years it became much more ornate and took on a kind of beehive shape.

The tiara came to consist of three crowns. According to James Charles Noonan, Jr., in The Church Visible, the bottom crown became ornamentation at the base of the miter in the ninth century. When the popes assumed temporal power, the base crown became decorated with jewels to resemble the crowns of princes. A second crown was added by Boniface VIII in 1298 to symbolize spiritual dominion. Very soon after, a third crown and lappets (cloth strips) were added.

According to Noonan, the triple tiara represents the pope’s universal episcopate, his supreme jurisdiction and his temporal power. It is also said to represent his role as priest, pastor and teacher.

In our century the tiara came to be regarded as inappropriate because of its ornateness and rich character. Pope Paul VI stopped wearing the tiara and sold his, using the funds for the poor.

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Friday, December 7, 2012
Daily Catholic Question for 12/6/2012 Daily Catholic Question for 12/8/2012


Peter of Alcantara: Peter was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to St. Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter’s day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended. 
<p>Born into a noble family (his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain), Peter studied law at Salamanca University and, at 16, joined the so-called Observant Franciscans (also known as the discalced, or barefoot, friars). While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest; at the age of 39, he was elected provincial; he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.</p><p>Peter’s penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter’s reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: "To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara."</p><p>In 1554, Peter, having received permission, formed a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.</p><p>As spiritual director to St. Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars and the Poor Clares.</p><p>He was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Remember the widow’s mite. She threw into the treasury of the temple only two small coins, but with them, all her great love…. It is, above all, the interior value of the gift that counts: the readiness to share everything, the readiness to give oneself. —Pope John Paul II

 
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