Update: I don’t mind having to admit a mistake every once in a while, but this time I really dropped the ball. I thought I had confirmed this story with a sufficient number of SCV websites, but Karen Cox tells me that the entire story is apocryphal. Ruth Ann Coski, who used to work at the Museum of the Confederacy, carried out the necessary research and discovered that the crown was made by Varina Davis. It looks like the Myth of the Lost Cause is indeed just a myth, but I would still like to know why Pope Benedict is standing in front of a Confederate flag.
I had no idea that Pope Pius IX sent Jefferson Davis a hand-written note along with a crown of thorns during his brief imprisonment following the war. The note included the following: “Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” and supposedly the crown was handwoven by the thorn. Robert E. Lee, pointing to his own portrait of Pius IX, is supposed to have told a visitor that he was “the only sovereign…in Europe who recognized our poor Confederacy.” The crown is located in a museum in New Orleans. Apparently, Pope Benedict is continuing the Catholic Church’s tradition of sanctifying the Confederate cause. So, it looks like the Myth of the Lost Cause wasn’t a myth after all. I had no idea.