No more “Patriarch of the West”

No more “Patriarch of the West”

Reports out of Rome today indicate that Pope Benedict has officially decided to suppress one of the traditional nine titles for the Pope.

The Pope’s nine traditional titles are: Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Sovereign Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Rome province, Sovereign of the Vatican City-State, Patriarch of the West, and Servant of the Servants of God.

According to press reports, in the 2006 Annuario Pontificio, the official statistical yearbook of the Church, the title of Patriarch of the West has been suppressed. It has rarely been used since the Great Western Schism of 1054. In the past it has been argued that it is not properly a title of popes.

The Eastern Orthodox recognize 5 original patriarchs: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem; but the title of patriarch wasn’t used by the pope until the First Vatican Council in 1870.

Update: Catholic World News has a more extensive article on the change, the history of the title, and speculation why Pope Benedict is doing this now.

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