Pope Benedict XV: A Zucchetto Worn by the Pope
The card attached to the zucchetto, verifying its authenticity, states that this zucchetto was worn many times by Pope Benedict XV.
The card was signed on October 24, 1919 and is the business card of Giuseppe Faggiani. The red wax seal is a symbol of the authenticity of this item.
Pope Benedict reigned from 1914 – 1922 and was known as “The Pope of the Missions.” His sphere of influence went far beyond that. Most of the former Giacomo della Chiesa’s career involved diplomacy. Until his appointment as Bishop of Belluno, Italy, his career followed the soon to be Cardinal Rompolla’s (who became Leo XIII’s Secretary of State). Della Chiesa not only served as undersecretary but continued in that role under Pope Pius X’s secretary, Merry del Val.
Pope Benedict XV’s incredible journey from priesthood to papacy is, indeed, a story worth reading. Papal Artifacts honors the gift of his life to our Church, and treasures all items belonging to or associated with the Pope who is considered to be the most forgotten of the 20th century.
Benedict XV preceded Pius XI. Of course, Benedict XV is significant for many reasons, including the fact that Benedict XVI chose his name because of his high esteem for him. Lots of people forget about him. In fact, there are even books written about him saying he’s the forgotten pope of the 20th century.
Actually, he was quite significant, especially in his efforts to try to bring peace to the world. Pope Benedict worked hard to bring peace, but both sides thought he favored the other side and rejected his initiatives. One of them highly resembled the points drawn up in the League of Nations. He was elected at the beginning of WW I, so he was a significant pope in more than one way.
And this item is his business card. He was the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna before he was elected pope. And this is a business card from his time as Cardinal Archbishop. Just like any other businessperson in the world, the Cardinal had cards that told how to reach him, or even for him to use to send messages with the card.
This particular card actually has a greeting to someone at Easter time. Again, it’s another unique item. I have a handful of business cards from various popes. They’re always unique to have because you see that rather mundane, day-to-day life of the person, before he’s even elected pope.
There’s also something to be said about a message written in the handwriting of the individual. For example, I think of the letters from friends or from grandparents who have written to me, and how significant I find that. To be able to see their handwriting is always significant.
And here we have the handwriting of one of our Holy Fathers. Just to think of the time it took him to write this. It’s like by having this letter I own a little piece of his time.