of the Supreme Pontiff
given "Motu Propio"
the Conferring of
the Sacred Pallium
in the Church
The use of the Pallium, which is taken from the venerated tomb of the
Blessed Apostle Peter, is rightly numbered among the insignia proper to
the office of the Bishop. Various Churches and their bishops, first in
Europe and then throughout the world, merited to be honoured with it
from the earliest times by the Apostolic See.1
In fact, the Pallium, "which signifies the power of an
archbishop",2 "belongs by right to archbishops
alone",3 since when it is given "the plenitude of
the pontifical office is conferred with the mention of the title of
archbishop".4 Nevertheless, as is clear from historical
records,5 the Roman Pontiffs, following an early custom,
honoured permanently with the Pallium of an archbishop not only
episcopal churches which by reason of their location, their antiquity
and their unswerving obedience to the See of Peter strove to increase
their splendour and enhance their dignity; they also honoured the
outstanding merits of illustrious bishops with the personal privilege of
Since, however, the Second Vatican Council decided that the rights
and privileges of metropolitans should be defined according to new and
suitable norms,7 we have resolved meanwhile to examine the
privileges and customs in connection with the conferring of the Pallium,
so that this symbol of the power of the metropolitan should stand out
Wherefore having consulted the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the
Pontifical Commissions for the revision of the Code of Canon Law and the
Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Church, having considered their views
and therefore being well informed, with our supreme and Apostolic
authority we decree for the whole of the Latin Church that from now on
the sacred Pallium be given only to metropolitans and to the Patriarch
of Jerusalem of the Latin rite.9 We abrogate all privileges
and customs which certain particular Churches and some prelates enjoy as
a special favour at present.
But in so far as the Eastern Churches are concerned, we
abrogate canon 322 contained in the Apostolic Letter "Cleri
Nevertheless We allow the archbishops and bishops, who up to now have
been given the Pallium, to enjoy the use of it as long as they are
pastors of the churches entrusted to them at the present time.
However the use of the sacred Pallium at the ordination of the
Supreme Pontiff elect, who is not yet a bishop, is given in law11
to the Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals or to that
Cardinal to whom it belongs to celebrate the rite of ordination
according to the norm of the Apostolic Constitution "Romano
These norms come into force from the day on which they are published
in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
We order all that has been decreed by Us in this "motu proprio"
to be unalterable and ratified notwithstanding anything to the contrary,
even if it is worthy of special mention.
Given at St Peter's, Rome, on the 11th day of May in the year 1978,
the fifteenth of Our Pontificate.
1) Cfr Pontificale Romanum, pars prima, editio typica, Romae
1962, p. 92.
2) Can. 275 C.I.C.
3) Benedictus XIV, De Synodo dioecesana lib. II, 6, n.l.
4) Benedictus XIV, Const. Ad Honorandum, 27 mart. 1754, §17.
5) Cfr Benedictus XIV, De Synodo dioecesana. 1.c.
6) Cfr Benedictus XIV, Const. Inter Conspicuos, 29 aug.
7) Conc. Oecum. Vat. II, Decr. de past. episcop. munere in Ecclesia, Christus
Dominus, n.40; A.A.S. 58 (1966) p.694.
8) Cfr Can. 275 C.I.C.
9) Cfr Pius IX, Litt. Apost. Nulla Celebrior, 23 July 1847: Acta
Pii IX. pars. I, vol. 1, p. 62.
10) Cfr A.A.S. 49 (1957), p. 529.
11) Cfr Can. 239 §2, C.I.C.
12) A.A.S. 67 (1975), pp. 644-645.