This is interesting. To verify the pope is dead, they strike his forehead three times with a special silver hammer calling out his baptismal name. Who knew? You learn the craziest things today that you would never have known in the past…doc
Easy enough to believe this of Catholicism, but…
For instance, in 2003 The Guardian quoted Bates thus: After the pope dies, an event confirmed when a senior member of staff strikes him on the forehead with a silver hammer and calls his baptismal name to make sure he is not just asleep, the cardinals will gather within a fortnight in the Vatican to deliberate in great secrecy on the choice of his successor. Yet The Guardian ran the following correction a few weeks later: The article below included the assertion that the corpse of a Pope is ritually struck on the head with a silver hammer to ascertain that there is no sign of life. According to the Vatican, this is a myth. While many news outlets continue to tout the silver hammer information as factual (which further adds to the confusion, as the resulting proliferation of articles appears to add credence to the claim, even though all such articles spring from the same wellhead), some offer counter information, such as this snippet gleaned from a 2005 Associated Press report: As for the silver hammer, it was indeed used to verify the pope’s death, for centuries, until the practice ended with reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
I’m gonna go with the story about hitting him in the head with a silver mallet.
Imagine some flunky bending over the Pope’s body, holding the mallet and saying “some people call your baptismal name, but you’re always Benedict to me”.
I started out looking to see if that could be the origin behind Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.