In Religious News Today . . .

Describing the Pope's last public mass, Anthony Faiola of the Washington Post wrote about young seminarians taking notes with tears in their eyes and tour groups straining their necks to catch a glimpse from the rear of the church.

Then he got around to describing Benedict's procession. As Faiola told Post readers, "He walked with a gilded cane in the shape of a cross" as people cheered "Long live the Pope!"

The "gilded cane in the shape of a cross" he's referring to was actually a crosier, the shepherd's staff that symbolizes a bishop's role as the leader of his flock.

The Post isn't alone in its apparent ignorance of this most ancient of Christian regalia. Eight years ago, the New York Times, referring to the same object, called it a "crow's ear," which given the anatomical improbability of the phrase, should have caught an editor's attention.