Saturday, March 23, 2013

New Papal Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of Pope Francis is now available:


Personally, I like it. However, that's probably because blue is my favorite color! Here is a little bit of explanation:
The new pontiff's papal coat of arms and motto are the same that he used as bishop. The shield has a bright blue background, at the centre top of which is a yellow radiant sun with the IHS christogram on it representing Jesus (it is also the Jesuit logo). The IHS monogram, as well as a cross that pierces the H, are in red with three black nails directly under them. Under that, to the left, is a star representing Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church. To the right of the star is a nard flower representing Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. With these symbols the Pope demonstrates his love for the Holy Family.

... His motto—“miserando atque eligendo” (because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him)—is taken from the Venerable Bede's homily on the Gospel account of the call of Matthew. It holds special meaning for the Pope because—when he was only 17-years-old, after going to confession on the Feast of St. Matthew in 1953—he perceived God's mercy in his life and felt the call to the priesthood, following the example of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The Jesuit logo is a nice touch, considering it was a previous pope, Pope Clement XIV (a Franciscan!) who suppressed the Jesuit order in 1773.

When the coat of arms was announced, I couldn't help but notice a handful of Catholic traditionalists (who just can't be happy, darn it!), on a blog I don't care to name, seize the opportunity to mock the simplicity of the design, implying that it must mean Pope Francis does not take the papal office seriously. Yet, it is absurd to draw such a conclusion; there have been some pretty significant popes who have also had relatively simple coats of arms. For example, here is the Coat of Arms for master reformer Pope St. Pius V:


Pretty simple, eh? Or how about Pope Urban VIII, who famously tried Galileo:

1 comment:

CitySeminarian said...

"there have been some pretty significant popes who have also had relatively simple coats of arms." Thanks for that post, very useful.

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