Skip to comments.Pope Drops Papal Crown From Coat of Arms, Adds Miter, Pallium (Not Exactly)
Posted on 04/27/2005 6:55:32 PM PDT by Pyro7480
Pope Drops Papal Crown From Coat of Arms, Adds Miter, Pallium
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The papal crown has been given the boot once again, this time no longer appearing as part of the new pope's coat of arms.
Pope Benedict XVI has dispensed with the image of the three-tiered tiara that traditionally appeared at the top of each pope's coat of arms and replaced it with the pointed miter.
The pope also has added the pallium, the woolen stole symbolizing a bishop's authority, to the elements surrounding the shield.
The details of the new papal blazon were published in the April 28 edition of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. A copy was released April 27 to journalists.
"Benedict XVI has chosen a coat of arms that is rich in symbolism and meaning, so as to put his personality and his papacy in the hands of history," said Italian Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, an expert on heraldry and creator of Benedict XVI's new insignia.
"For at least the past eight centuries, popes have had their own personal coats of arms in addition to the symbols of the Apostolic See," the archbishop said in the Vatican newspaper.
While each papal shield is unique, the elements surrounding it had more or less remained the same for centuries -- until now.
Gone is the beehive-shaped crown whose actual use in important ceremonies was abandoned during the papacy of Paul VI. For Pope Benedict's ensign, the more modest and recognizable miter has taken its place.
But the silver miter has three gold stripes to mirror the symbolism of the papal tiara's three tiers: "order, jurisdiction and magisterum," said Archbishop Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, who had served as an apostolic nuncio for more than 20 years.
A vertical gold band connects the three stripes in the middle "to indicate their unity in the same person," he said.
Another novelty is the addition of the white pallium with black crosses draped below the shield.
"It indicates the (bishop's) role of being pastor of the flock entrusted to him by Christ," wrote Archbishop Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo.
What has not changed and has been part of papal emblems for centuries is the Holy See's insignia of two crossed keys, which symbolize the powers Christ gave to the Apostle Peter and his successors. The gold key on the right represents the power in heaven and the silver key on the left indicates the spiritual authority of the papacy on earth. The cord that unites the two keys alludes to the bond between the two powers.
Nestled on top of the keys lies the unique shield of Pope Benedict, which is based on his coat of arms as archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, and is particularly rich in personal and spiritual symbolism, wrote Archbishop Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo.
The shield is divided into three sections -- each of which has its own symbol.
The central element on a red background is a large gold shell that has theological and spiritual significance for the pope, the archbishop said. The shell recalls a legend in which St. Augustine came across a boy on the seashore who was scooping water from the sea and pouring it into a small hole he had dug in the sand.
When the saint pondered this seemingly futile activity, it struck him as analogous to limited human minds trying to understand the infinite mystery of the divine.
"The shell reminds me of my great master Augustine, of my theological work, and of the vastness of the mystery which surpasses all our learning," wrote then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his 1997 autobiography "Milestones, Memoirs: 1927-1977."
Also, Archbishop Cordero di Montezemolo wrote that the shell has long symbolized the pilgrim, "a symbolism Benedict XVI wants to keep alive" after Pope John Paul II, "the great pilgrim."
The shell is also present in the coat of arms of the Schotten monastery in Regensburg, Germany, to which the pope "feels very spiritually close," the archbishop said.
The upper left-hand section of the shield depicts a brown-faced Moor with red lips, crown and collar; it is a symbol of the former Diocese of Freising dating back to the eighth century.
Though it is not known why the Moor came to represent Freising, the pope said for him "it is an expression of the universality of the church which knows no distinctions of race or class since all are one in Christ," he said in his book, "Milestones."
Finally, a brown bear loaded with a pack on his back lumbers up the upper right-hand section of the shield.
The bear is tied to an old Bavarian legend about the first bishop and patron saint of the Diocese of Freising, St. Corbinian. According to the legend, when the saint was on his way to Rome, a bear attacked and killed his horse. St. Corbinian punished the bear by making him carry the saint's belongings the rest of the way to Rome.
Archbishop Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo said the bear symbolizes the beast "tamed by the grace of God," and the pack he is carrying symbolizes "the weight of the episcopate."
The pope said in his 1997 autobiography: "Meanwhile, I have carried my pack to Rome and wander for some time now through the streets of the Eternal City. When release will come I cannot know. What I do know is that I am God's pack animal, and, as such, close to him."
I don't approve. Please, please, please don't drop the tiara. It's bad enough there's no more coronation. They'll be dropping it from the papal flag next. The tiara is an historic symbol of long standing and should not be eliminated.
Two hours and 30 posts later, and no one laughs at my joke? Tough crowd tonight....
Then why did you put it in Italics?
Okay, it was funny. Two bears are in a bar. One turns to the other and says "What's ursine?"
Thank you SO much for posting the link to that podcast (a totally new concept and word for me ;). It was glorious to relive that joyful time.
The triple Tiara goes back only to Boniface VIII, with his overreaching attempts to be king of the earth.
Neither Pope St. Gregory VII, nor St. Leo IX never wore one, nor did Popes St. Agatho, Martin I, Gregory the Great, Leo the Great, or Damasus.
What is the big deal? Christ didn't crown St. Peter with a Tiara.
I like the three-tiered tiara myself, never having seen a pope wear it. The sedan chair seemed a bit much, but I'm not crazy about the popemobile either.
Anyone know the history of the three-tiered tiara?
The catholic encyclopedia has this history:
The first notice of three crowns is contained in an inventory of the papal treasure of the year 1315 or 1316.The symbolism of the crown makes sense to me, and can serve a useful purpose as a teaching tool. I also personally prefer the bishops' crowns of the Eastern Rites to the mitres of the Latin Rite.
smack during the Avignon papacy...not a time when the papacy was really in control of much temporal power....
Haven't seen your posts in many moons, good to see you again. What do you think of the Holy Spirit's choice for the new Pope?
I can learn to live without the tiara, but I really do miss the sedia gestatoria. I don't think there's any coherent reason to reject it. Its chief function is to provide visibility: the popemobile and JPII's more recent rolling platform provide the same function but with far less poetry and beauty. The platform in particular is undignified, a sort of parade float that makes the Holy Father into a pageant queen. The sedia is preferable precisely because it is supported by men: it underscores the unique dignity of the papacy and affords the faithful a participation in the -- literally -- basic symbolism of lending their bodies to uphold the papacy. There are ancient traditions of beloved dignitaries receiving similar honors: Roman commanders were "exalted" on the shields of their soldiers. Leaders in carriages or chariots had their horses taken away and instead were drawn through the streets by enthusiastic young men. In our own time and country, it's not uncommon for a sports hero to be hoisted to the shoulders of his teammates, to demonstrate their respect and gratitude. Catholics are an incarnational people; it's good when they resort to physical ways of acting out their faith. That our age reduces all of this to a myth of papal pride and folie de grandeur only points out how shallow and ignorant we are.
That's not a Papal tiara???
The only argument against the practice is the opportunity for misunderstanding and the occassion for derision it would present for anti-Catholic bigots.
Overall, it's a tough call. But your argument in favor is stronger, IMO.
The anti-Catholic bigots will exercise their bigotry regardless of what we do.