The Noble Company of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham is a religious organization of knights and nobles in complete faith with and obedience of the Holy Father. It is dedicated to both the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury and promotes spiritual unity of the entirety of the Catholic Faith.
The Noble Company's sub-group, the College of Pontifical Honorees, is comprised of those members who have been awarded Papal honors. This web site lists those who are members in good standing of the Noble Company. While this site lists Papal knights who This site is not a definitive or complete list of all Papal knights in the Americas or in the world. The supreme authority on all Papal honors is the Holy See.
The purpose of the Noble Company is to join together Christian Nobles throughout the world by encouraging service to their communities and to humanity and to recognize and encourage Christian and Catholic community leaders engaged in acts of chivalry.
The purpose of life is to have a life of purpose. -- John Bryne.
Membership is by invitation. Eligibility is exclusive to holders of titles of nobility and knighthood, and further membership in the College is restricted to those who hold Papal honors. Associate membership may be selectively granted to persons who are outstanding members in their communities.
Suggested Reading: For definitive information on Orders of Knighthood and the position of the Holy See regarding same, is Chev. Dr Peter Bander-van Duren’s Orders of Knighthood and of Merit (subtitled The Pontifical, Religious and Secularised Catholic-founded Orders, and their relationship to the Apostolic See) 780p, 1995 generally available via Amazon.com (r) at £65.00. Other works by the same author / editor are the late Archbishop H. E. +Cardinale’s Orders of Knighthood, Awards and the Holy See as edited by Chev. Bander-van Duren, 1985 and The Cross on the Sword, 1987, centered on Pontifical Orders of Knighthood. Also recommended is the late Bishop Brun Bernard +Heim's Heraldry in the Catholic Church.
PROTOCOL AND CEREMONIAL
The Holy See is a Sovereign State in International Law, exercising territorial sovereignty over the Vatican City State, and for centuries the Popes have enjoyed the status of Monarchs. Knighthood was originally invested in a religious ceremony at which the new Knight made certain solemn promises; the highest mission for a Knight was defense of the Christian faith. The first religious-military Orders of Chivalry were Papal foundations and Monarchs who founded single class Collar Orders of Companions, such as the Garter, Golden Fleece, and Holy Spirit, usually sought Papal sanction, given in the form of a Bull. The Pope’s eventually founded their own Orders of Knighthood, both to honor individuals for their services and to provide a form of honor guard. These Orders may be considered the equivalent of State Orders, and not simply Church awards. The early twentieth century reforms established the uniform of the Order and the traditional role of members of the Papal Orders at great Church ceremonies was confirmed. This role has continued and was unaffected by the reforms to the Papal Court in 1968.
If possible the Knights should acquire the uniform of the Order, since they can only fulfill their proper role at Church ceremonies if they appear in uniform. The design is laid out in the statutes and may be seen here; no other garb or mantle may be used as substitute. The uniform includes a tunic-jacket and trousers, plumed hat, sword, and white gloves. The three Orders, Piano, St Gregory the Great and St Sylvester, each have different uniforms. The recent introduction of lady members of the Order has not yet led to the introduction of a uniform for ladies.
The Knights principal ceremonial role is to escort the Ordinary (Bishop or Archbishop of the Diocese) and/or Cardinal into the Church or Cathedral, lead him into the Sanctuary, and remain there, seated usually to the right of the altar, until the end of the Mass. Two Knights are usually preferred for such a role, although one can be sufficient, and they walk immediately in front of the Bishop they are escorting. At the end of the Mass they will again immediately precede the Bishop in the recessional.
The Knight wears the plumed hat while processing in and out of the Church or Cathedral; on entering the sanctuary and taking his seat he removes his sword and lays it on the ground until the end of the Mass. He shall wear his hat at the same time the Bishops wears his miter and remove or replace it simultaneously with the Bishop.
At ceremonies of the Church at which members of the other Catholic Orders founded by or under Papal Protection are present, the members of the Papal Orders take precedence before them. Members of the Order of Pius IX (Piano) rank ahead of those of St Gregory, who in turn rank ahead of those of St Sylvester. The Papal Orders also take precedence ahead of members of the Orders of Malta and the Holy Sepulcher.
Membership is automatic for every qualified person appointed to the post of Gentleman of His Holiness, nominated to the Papal Orders or who receives the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice. All those persons who are presently Gentleman of His Holiness, or members of the Papal Orders shall be members of the Association; any future Gentlemen of His Holiness, knights or dames of the Papal Orders, and recipients of the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice will become members after they receive their bull of appointment or diploma.