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John Paul II Beatification Mass — Fotopedia
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Holy See

The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes) is the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, the episcopal see of the Pope. It is the central point of reference of the universal church and the focal point of communion due to its prominence. It traces its origin to the apostolic era, when Saint Peter arrived in Rome to evangelize and help the forming of a community of believers there which maintained a significant Christian presence. Today, it is responsible for the governance of those who follow the Catholic faith, organized in their local Christian communities. The Holy See is viewed as analogous to a sovereign state, having a centralized government, called the Roman Curia, with the Cardinal Secretary of State as its chief administrator and various departments essential to administration comparable to ministries. It enters diplomatic relations with states, and has Vatican City as its sovereign territory.


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Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus XVI; born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is Pope Emeritus of the Catholic Church, having served as Pope from 2005 to 2013. In that position, he was both the leader of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II, celebrated his papal inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005.

Ordained as a priest in 1951 in his native Bavaria, Ratzinger established himself as a highly regarded university theologian by the late 1950s and was appointed a full professor in 1958. After a long career as an academic, serving as a professor of theology at several German universities—the last being the University of Regensburg, where he served as Vice President of the university in 1976 and 1977—he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising and cardinal by Pope Paul VI in 1977, an unusual promotion for someone with little pastoral experience. In 1981, he settled in Rome when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, one of the most important dicasteries of the Roman Curia. From 2002 until his election as pope, he was also Dean of the College of Cardinals, and as such, the primus inter pares among the cardinals. Prior to becoming pope, he was "a major figure on the Vatican stage for a quarter of a century" as "one of the most respected, influential and controversial members of the College of Cardinals"; he had an influence "second to none when it came to setting church priorities and directions" as one of John Paul II's closest confidants.


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Pope

The Pope (Latin: papa; from Greek: πάππας pappas, a child's word for father) is the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The importance of the Roman bishop is largely derived from his role as the traditional successor to Saint Peter, to whom Jesus gave the keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing," naming him as the "rock" upon which the church would be built. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

The office of the Pope is the papacy. His ecclesiastical jurisdiction is often called the "Holy See" (Sancta Sedes in Latin), or the "Apostolic See" based upon the Church tradition that the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul were martyred in Rome. The pope is also head of state of Vatican City, a sovereign city-state entirely enclaved within the Italian capital city of Rome.


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Christianity in Europe

Christianity is the largest religion in Europe. Christianity has been practiced in Europe since the 1st century, and a number of the Pauline Epistles were directed at Christians living in Greece, as well as Rome. According to a survey by Pew Research Center 76.2% of Europeans considered themselves Christians, Catholics were at the time of the survey the largest Christian group in Europe, accounting for more than 46% European Christians. The second-largest Christian group in Europe was the Orthodox, who made up 35% of European Christians. Although the Protestant Reformation began in Europe, fewer than 18% of European Christians were part of the Protestant tradition. Russia is the largest Christian country in the Europe by population, followed by Germany and Italy.

For at least a millennium and a half Europe has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, even though it was inherited from West Asia. The Christian culture was the predominant force in western civilization, guiding the course of philosophy, art, and science.


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Pallium

The pallium (derived from the Roman pallium or palla, a woolen cloak) is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has remained connected to the papacy.

The pallium, in its present Western form, is a narrow band, "three fingers broad", woven of white lamb's wool from sheep raised by Trappist monks, with a loop in the centre resting on the shoulders over the chasuble and two dependent lappets, before and behind; so that when seen from front or back the ornament resembles the letter Y. It is decorated with six black crosses, one on each tail and four on the loop, is doubled on the left shoulder and sometimes is garnished, back and front, with three jeweled gold pins. The two latter characteristics seem to be survivals of the time when the Roman pallium was a simple scarf doubled and pinned on the left shoulder.

In origin, the pallium and the omophor are the same vestment. The omophor is a wide band of cloth, much larger than the modern pallium, worn by all Eastern Orthodox bishops and Eastern Catholic bishops of the Byzantine Rite. The theory that explains its origin in connection with the figure of the Good Shepherd carrying the lamb on his shoulders, so common in early Christian art, may be an explanation a posteriori. The ceremonial connected with the preparation of the pallium and its bestowal upon the pope at his coronation, however, suggests some such symbolism. The lambs whose wool is destined for the making of the pallia are solemnly presented at the altar by the nuns of the convent of Saint Agnes. The Benedictine nuns of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere later weave the lambs' wool into pallia.


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Ceremonial of Benedict XVI

The ceremonial of Benedict XVI (2005-2013) re-introduced several papal garments which had previously fallen into disuse.