What is the "PP." in "Ioannes Paulus PP. II"?

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Popes sign encyclicals, epistulae, bulls, etc. according to the formula:

+ Ioannes Paulus PP. II (cross, Latin name of pope, "PP.," Roman numeral)

The cross simply means that the prelate is a bishop (even diocesan bishops have this honor).

For what does the "PP." stand (in Latin)?

All popes, not just John Paul II, seem to have done this:

Ioannes Paulus PP. I Paulus PP. VI Ioannes PP. XXIII Pius PP. XII Pius PP. XI Benedictus PP. XV etc.


-- Joseph L. Shetler (shetler@ghg.net), May 23, 1998


Hello Joseph.

The "P.P." stands for "Pope and Pontiff" this means that he and he alone is the sucessor of St. Peter.

Rich Pohlman S.F.O.

-- Rich Pohlman S.F.O. (REPSFO@Prodigy.net), May 24, 1998.

Thanks Rich.

Is the Latin "Papa et Pontifex" then, or perhaps "Papa Pontifexque"?


-- Joseph L. Shetler (shetler@ghg.net), June 03, 1998.


Well, someone else resurrected a 1998 thread not long ago, so I guess I'll do the same.

Joseph asked what "PP." stands for (in Latin) in the pope's signature.
In a very rare slip, Rich mistakenly said that it stands for "Pope and Pontiff." Joseph then asked if that would be "Papa et Pontifex" (or Papa Pontifexque), but did not receive a reply. I think that Rich has to be away from the forum for long periods of time, and when he returns, questions people have asked of him have already slipped off the "active" queue. (I asked him one myself about a week ago, but it may have to go unanswered.)

Now, what does "PP." actually mean? According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia (under "Ecclesiastical Abbreviations") and according to Fr. John Hardon's Catholic dictionary, "PP." stands simply for "papa," meaning "pope." A clue that it does not stand for two words (such as pope and pontiff) is that there is only one period (at the end), rather than two periods (one after each "P").

God bless you.
PS to Moderator: I wonder if this thread should be in the "Pope" or "Trivia" category, rather than in the "Church and Teachings" category?

-- (jgecik@amdg.ihs), September 09, 2001.


When putting these in categories, I tend to rely on my memory of what went where before, which may not be the most accurate way of doing things. I believe there's already one like it under "Pope", so I put it under "Church" to spread it around a little, but let me check, I've been known to be mistaken once or twice ;-) .


P.S. The other thing that will need gradual editting is that I've added a couple of new categories, after seeing a persistant theme of posts. After finishing with the threads (I've gotten back to 12/99 as of this weekend) I'll have to move those into their proper positions.

-- Moderator ("Catholic_moderator@hotmail.com"), September 10, 2001.

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