Skip to content

Pectorale

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

( Crux Pectoralis ).

The name of the cross used by the pope, cardinals, bishops, abbots, and other prelates entitled to use the pontifical insignia. It is worn on the breast attached to a chain or silken cord, the colour differing, according to the dignity of the wearer, i.e. green, violet, or black. It is made of precious metal, ornamented, more or less, with diamonds, pearls, or similar embellishment, and contains either the relics of some saint, or a particle of the Holy Cross. It is worn over the alb during liturgical functions. The prelate should kiss the cross before putting it on his neck, and while putting it on say the prayer "Munire me digneris" (the origin of which dates back to the Middle Ages ), in which he petitions God for protection against his enemies, and begs to bear in mind continually the Passion of Our Lord, and the triumphs of the confessors of the Faith. The pontifical pectoral cross is distinct from the simple cross, the use of which is often permitted by the pope to members of cathedral chapters. Canons, to whom this privilege has been granted, are permitted to wear the cross at choir service only, and not over the alb at liturgical services, unless specially permitted. The pectoral is the latest addition to episcopal ornaments. The custom, however, of wearing a cross on the breast either with or without holy relics, dates back to ancient time and was observed not only by bishops, but also by priests and lay people. The first mention made of the pectoral cross as a part of pontifical ornament is made by Innocent III, and its use as such only became customary toward the close of the Middle Ages. As an adornment for bishops we meet it the first time toward the end of the thirteenth century (Durandus), but at that time it was not generally worn by bishops. As Durandus says: "it was left to the discretion of the individual bishop to wear it or not". The Greek bishops also wear a pectoral cross but only over their liturgical vestments ( chasuble or salkos ).

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >
Children learning @ Catholic Online School Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.
Help Now

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.



To all our readers,

Please don't scroll past this. We interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to defend Catholic Online School's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just $10.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online School could keep thriving for years. Most people donate because Catholic Online School is useful. If Catholic Online School has given you $10.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to Catholic education matters to you. Thank you.

Help Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!