Friday 26 October 2018

Director's Cut: Vatican II rings and certificates

As the Director of Archives at the Archdiocese of Toronto I am often complimented on the consistently fabulous posts of The Archivist's Pencil. I am always quick to point out that I myself have written very few and the accolades for these wonderfully composed pieces must go to my colleagues. I thought it might be nice to give them a little break every now and again and share with our readers some of my favourite things in our holdings.

My first post in the Director's Cut series features an artifact and its corresponding documentation... an archivist's dream!

When I began working here I quickly learned that I needed to educate myself on the Second Vatican Council, which is often referred to as Vatican II. Although I was vaguely aware that changes to the way Mass was celebrated had been made at some point in my parents' lifetime, my studies of history hadn't delved much into the post-World War II era, so I was largely ignorant of this major event in the history of the Catholic Church and needed to know more about it to understand the context of a large number of the records in our holdings. If you too would like to educate yourself, you can start with the documents of the Second Vatican Council which can be viewed on the Vatican's website here.

October 28 marks the 60th Anniversary of the election of St. John XXIII as Pope. His Holiness announced very early in his papacy that he intended to convene the Ecumenical Council. Several of the former, current and future auxiliary bishops, archbishops and cardinals that served the Archdiocese of Toronto attended sessions of the Council. Listed among the Council Fathers are: Auxiliary Bishop Francis Allen, G. Emmett Cardinal Carter, Auxiliary Bishop Marrocco, James Cardinal McGuigan, Archbishop Philip Pocock and Auxiliary Bishop Benjamin Webster. You can view a full list of bishops who attended each of the four sessions here.

At the closing of the Second Ecumenical Council in December 1965, St. Paul VI gifted each of the Council Fathers a commemorative certificate and gold ring.

AF.103 ARCAT Artifact Collection and PO AA41.023 Archbishop Pocock Fonds

Another view of AF.103
ARCAT Artifact Collection

The Vatican II Council ring is made entirely of yellow gold. The ring shaped like a mitre (bishop's hat) with a point at the top. Depicted are three arched niches: Christ in the centre; St. Peter on the left; St. Paul on the right. The artist’s signature is inscribed, “E. Manfrini”. St. Paul VI’s coat of arms in stamped on the inverse of the band.

PO AA41.023
Archbishop Philip F. Pocock Fonds

Accompanying the ring was this commemorative certificate from Pope Paul VI. It attests in Latin to Archbishop Pocock's participation at Vatican II and expresses the hope that the message of the Second Vatican Council will be conveyed to all Catholics.  We have similar certificates in our collection for Auxiliary Bishop Francis Allen (AF.135a), G. Emmett Cardinal Carter (AF.009) and James Cardinal McGuigan (AF.135b).

Cardinal Carter wore his Vatican II Council ring (AF.361) as his regular day-to-day episcopal ring. His Eminence's ring in on display at the G. Emmett Cardinal Carter Library at King's University College in London, Ontario where it is on permanent loan.

AF.361 - Card. Carter's Vatican II ring
ARCAT Artifact Collection

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