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Bible Dictionaries

1910 New Catholic Dictionary

Staff, Pastoral

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An ornamental staff in the shape of a shepherd's crook, conferred on bishops, mitered abbots, and certain other prelates. It usually consists of a metal tube, plated with silver and gold; sometimes of elaborately carved wood, or even of pure gold and silver. The crook symbolizes that the bishop should act as a shepherd to those who may wander from his fold; the pointed lower end, that he should goad on the spiritually indifferent; and the tall shaft, that he should support the weak. The bishop always carries the crosier in the left hand with the crook turned outward towards the people, in accordance with the above symbolism; other prelates using the crosier hold it with the crook turned inwards. The popes have not used the crosier since before the 11th century; this is supposed by some to symbolize the giving of his staff by Saint Peter to one of his disciples to raise a dead person to life. As the emblem of a saint, it indicates that he was a bishop or abbot; it is especially associated in art with Saint Benedict, Saint Bernard, and Saint Giles.

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Bibliography Information
Entry for 'Staff, Pastoral'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. 1910.

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