Silver Hammer

When the pope dies, the cardinal chamberlain (Camerlengo) of the holy Roman Church (currently Eduardo Cardinal Martinez Somalo) ascertains the pope’s death, traditionally by calling the pope three times by his baptismal name without response. The ritual of striking the head with a silver hammer (which would later be used to break the Fisherman’s Ring and the papal seal) may be replaced by covering the face with a cloth.

Thanks to Scott.

I posted this in August 2004 during week 1589.

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