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Archbishop Pell receives pallium from pope

Pope John Paul II will present Archbishop George Pell with the pallium in a ceremony to take place in St Peter's Basilica at 1:30 am tomorrow (Saturday) Sydney time.

The pallium symbolises the unity of the local church with the universal Church and the participation of archbishops in the supreme pastoral power of the Pope. Only the Pope and metropolitan archbishops have the right to use the pallium.

Dr Pell is only the third Archbishop of Sydney to receive the pallium directly from the Pope, and the first to do so since 1884, when Archbishop Patrick Francis Moran (later Australia's first Cardinal) received the honour from Pope Leo XII.

In another first, Dr Pell will receive the pallium with his former seminary classmate and successor in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Archbishop-elect Denis Hart.

For Archbishops of Sydney since Archbishop Moran, the pallium came out with an apostolic delegate and was bestowed on the archbishop in St Mary's Cathedral. The current practice is that the Pope presents the pallium on the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, 29 June, to each newly consecrated or newly appointed archbishop.

This is Archbishop Pell's second journey to Rome to receive the pallium from Pope John Paul II. He first received the honour in 1997 for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. But because the wearing of the pallium is specific to a diocese, Dr Pell must receive a second pallium for the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Catholic Communications