The King of France, and the French Presidents after them, had been given by the Pope, the privilege to impose to the nuncio, the ambassador of Vatican, in France to wear the biretta.

What are the meaning and consequences of the use of this privilege? The last President that has used this privilege is Vincent Auriol, from the Socialist Party.

Edit: this question isn't popular at all. Please help to improve it! For example, do you think moving it to History.SE (though I am more interested in the politics and symbolic aspects of the question) would help?


According to catholicherald.co.uk, it's a token of gratitude. From their article titled 'Analysis: Why Macron accepted a title from the Pope' (emphasis is mine):

The title is offered to every President of the French Republic and predates the modern presidency, originally going back to 1482 and King Louis XI. The tradition was renewed in 1604 when King Henry IV, having renounced Protestantism, donated the Benedictine Abbey in Clairac along with its income to the basilica. The title was created as a token of gratitude. Each December 13, Henry IV’s birthday, the honour is marked by a Mass celebrated at the basilica for the “happiness and prosperity of France.”

I think this quote (followed directly after part above) describes more clearly what the privilege actually entails:

The honorary title gave the French president the right to give the apostolic nuncio in Paris his biretta when he is made a cardinal, though this tradition was discontinued when the Pope began conferring the honour himself.

  • From your answer, I feel that I confuse the meaning "to put, to place" of "to impose" with the more common meaning "to force".
    – Taladris
    Apr 25 '19 at 22:54
  • @Taladris I'm not sure where they used the word impose, I can't find it on the linked Wikipedia page (now or in the history at the time of your question).
    – JJJ
    Apr 25 '19 at 23:01

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