Autographed Color Photo of Benedict XVI
Autographed Color Photo of Benedict XVIAutographed Color Photo of Benedict XVI

The following commentary is from the EWTN series, The Papacy: A Living History, The Papal Artifacts Collection of Father Richard Kunst. This autographed color photo of Pope Benedict XVI, the first one Father Kunst saw soon after his election, was featured on the first episode of the series, Popes Benedict XVI and Blessed John Paul II.

Here is Father’s Commentary:

This item is actually both common and uncommon. It is the autographed photo of a pope. Although they are relatively common, they’re still highly sought after and a lot of people try to get them, which makes it fairly difficult. So maybe it’s a misnomer to say that they’re common. But the thing that makes this one uncommon is that it’s the first photograph signed by Pope Benedict XVI as pope. It was on May 9, 2005, so it was just 19-20 days after his election.

We can see the ‘PP’ next to his name on this item, as in many other documents in the Collection, dating way back in history. The significance of the ‘PP’ is that almost always, though not always, a pope will sign his papal name with ‘PP’, which simply is short for Papa or Daddy, indicating the spiritual fatherhood of the pope towards the faithful. So 99 per cent of the time the Holy Father signs in this manner symbolizing his universal role as our Shepherd. Imagine! His symbol of fathering us is contained right in his very name. And it has been used for hundreds of years.