PE PAUL has conferred on his Secretary of State, Cardinal Jean Villot, the offi cial title of Chamberlain. At the ceremony on Friday he gave him a red sceptre as symbol of the authority he would assume in the event of the Pontiff's untimely death.
The ceremony, conducted in the chapel in the Apostolic Palace, made official an announcement several weeks ago that Villot would carry out the functions of the Papal office in the event of the Pope's death.
Pope Paul was scheduled to depart yesterday on a nine-day visit to Asia. Villot remains behind in his position as Papal Chamberlain.
Should the Pope die or become incapacitated during the tour, Villot would assume the functions of the Papacy until the College of Cardinals selected a new Pontiff.