A black cloth usually spread over the coffin while the obsequies are performed for a deceased person. It generally has a white cross worked through its entire length and width. The Roman Ritual does not prescribe its use in the burial of a priest or layman, but does so for the absolution given after a requiem when the body is not present. Still the Congregation of Sacred Rites supposes its existence, since it forbids ecclesiastics, especially in sacred vestments, to act as pall-bearers for a deceased priest (3110, 15). It also forbids the use of a white transparent pall fringed with gold in the funeral of canons (3248, 3). The "Ceremoniale Episcoporum" orders a black covering on the bed of state for a deceased bishop. It was once customary specially to invite persons to carry the pall, or, at least, to touch its borders during the procession. These pall-bearers frequently had the palls made of very costly materials and these were afterwards made into sacred vestments. Formerly dalmatics or even coverings taken from the altar were used as a pall for a deceased pope, but, on account of abuses that crept in, this practice was suppressed. In the Council of Auxerre (578, can. xii) and in the statutes of St. Boniface the pall hiding the body was forbidden.
In the English Church the funeral pall was regularly employed. Thus we read that, at the funeral of Richard Kellowe, Bishop of Durham (d. 1316), Thomas Count of Lancaster offered three red palls bearing the coat of arms of the deceased prelate. On the same occasion Edward II of England sent palls of gold cloth. At the burial of Arthur, son of Henry VII, Lord Powys laid a rich cloth of gold on the body. Similar rich palls were used in the obsequies of Henry VII and of Queen Mary.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online