Rome

Goldsmith appeals to save papal ring from destruction

'It's a strong symbol of Benedict's legacy'

Goldsmith appeals to save papal ring from destruction

Rome, February 18 - The goldsmith who made Pope Benedict XVI's papal ring is protesting against plans to destroy it once the pontiff steps down at the end of the month. "It has a strong symbolic value," said Claudio Franchi," and for this reason I hope it does not get destroyed". According to Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi, the symbol of the papacy will likely be "terminated" after Benedict formally abdicates February 28. "Objects strictly tied to the ministry of St Peter must be destroyed," said the spokesman last week, but he stressed that experts were working to determine proper etiquette. Known as the Fisherman's of Piscatory Ring, the golden symbol of papal power shows St Peter fishing. "I believe the College of Cardinals is figuring out how not to destroy it," said the goldsmith, who is also an art historian. The ornament was a signet used to seal official documents signed by the pope until 1842 when it was replaced by a stamp. Upon becoming pope in 2005, Benedict chose to reintroduce it as his daily-wear ring, a gesture that Franchi called an example of the conservative pope's desire to "reintroduce something of value from the past". "That's why it should be saved in a museum, for its symbolic value, not because I made it," he said.

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