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Pectoral Crosses

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Pectorale (Crux Pectoralis)

The name of the cross used by the pope, cardinals, bishops, abbots, and other prelates entitled to use the pontifical insignia. It is worn on the breast attached to a chain or silken cord, the color differing, according to the dignity of the wearer, i.e. green, violet, or black. It is made of precious metal, ornamented, more or less, with diamonds, pearls, or similar embellishment, and traditionally contained either the relics of some saint, or a particle of the Holy Cross. It is worn over the alb during liturgical functions. The prelate should kiss the cross before putting it on his neck, and while putting it on say the prayer "Munire me digneris" (the origin of which dates back to the Middle Ages), in which he petitions God for protection against his enemies, and begs to bear in mind continually the Passion of Our Lord, and the triumphs of the confessors of the Faith.

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