At the risk of coming across as the twenty-four hour heraldry person, I wanted to follow up on my last post, "Croziers, Keys and the Archdeacon’s Tassels: A Heraldic System for the Anglican Ordinariates," to offer some continuing thoughts in response to the lively discussion my article occasioned. I am very glad to see I am not the only one out there to see the considerable cultural and symbolic value of ecclesiastical heraldry, both in the wider context of the Catholic Church and the specific patrimony of the Ordinariate. (My apologies for those who do not like galeros; on the one hand, chacun à son goût, on the other hand I don't make the rules. We can still all be friends, of course!)
I was also very happy to receive a detailed response to my article by the noted scholar Fr. Guy Selvester, who has labored long and hard to promote clear, elegant and accurate heraldry within the Church and has designed many coats of arms himself. You can read his complete remarks here. I am honored he read my article with great interest; in general, I agree with the points he makes. I wanted to post an abridgement of his comments with my own thoughts here, as a way of presenting a further assessment of the heraldry question based on more than my own thoughts.
Fr. Selvester begins:
I agree with you that it would be good for a single system to be adopted. I also agree that a complete abandonment of the Anglican heraldic tradition in favor of the Roman one is not necessarily the way to go. However, these Ordinariates are Catholic so a certain prejudice toward Catholic heraldic practice would not be out of line. As for the College of Arms and their decisions it is important to note that those are only binding in the areas over which the College of Arms claims jurisdiction (i.e. England, Wales, N. Ireland, New Zealand and Australia). The College of Arms decisions regarding the adoption of "Anglican Ecclesiastical Hats" is not binding on the whole Anglican Communion. Rather, it has simply been customary for Anglicans worldwide to follow that system. For instance, the Court of Lord Lyon grants to Anglican priests a galero identical to that of Roman Catholics; with solid black cords. So, concerns about "Anglican Heraldry" shouldn't be too heavily influenced by Anglican Heraldry as it is used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This seems only logical. It is difficult for me to assess just how widespread the use of these (relatively new) hats, as I have seen examples from other parts of the Commonwealth, but as Fr. Selvester points out, the system is not used in Scotland, just across the border. I would generally suggest adopting them only in instances where there seems to be no other good option; as they are a relative heraldic novelty, they are not as essential a part of the Anglican heraldic tradition as, say, the use of a mitre to indicate a bishop in place of a green galero.
I think that some general principles should be employed allowing for some "wiggle room" in cases where some adaptation is appropriate. They are (in no particular order):
1. The Ordinariates (i.e. the jurisdiction) like Catholic dioceses should ensign the shield with the mitre alone. (by the way, the use of crosiers and crosses by abbeys and dioceses in their corporate coats of arms is tolerated but not really correct. Crosiers and crosses are external ornaments best used in the arms of persons, not corporate bodies.)
I am inclined to speak up a bit more heartily in favor of the cross and crozier in diocesan arms given so many sources show this use (abusive or not), but given that the vast majority of American Catholic dioceses (and, it seems, the dioceses of the Anglican Church in America, as well as the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada as a body, as illustrated in my previous article; the practice is also not unknown in the Church of England as well) do not use them regularly, and that it avoids several issues that would be brought into play by using the episcopal cross in this context which will be discussed below, I can see the merit in adopting a more pure custom in this area.
Arms of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock, shown with mitre but without cross and crozier, from their website.
2. The Ordinaries (i.e. the men placed at the head of these ordinariates) in my opinion would do better to bear the arms of the Ordinariate in the manner of Anglican bishops bearing the arms of the See alone. However, the arms of the Ordinaries could be distinguised from those of the Ordinariate by the use of the external ornaments. Impaling personal with jurisdictional arms is far from a universal custom in the Catholic Church. It is employed primarily in the Americas and in some parts of the European continent (Germany, for example) but it is not widespread in Great Britain.
This is a logical extrapolation from Anglican practice, and allows for the flexibility of showing the ordinariate arms either with or without personal arms, or, in the case of retired bishops or ordinaries, their personal arms alone without the ordinariate's corporate arms. Also, as we will see below, it allows a number of ways of distinguishing the status of the ordinary (bishop, priest, etc.).
3. Ordinaries who are actual bishops should ensign the shield with either the mitre with episcopal cross [...] and crosier in saltire behind the shield or the green galero with episcopal cross in pale behind the shield in the Roman manner. (obviously if the man is an archbishop then the hat and cross of his rank would be used). I think the use of a key is best left to the churches of the Anglican Communion and should have no place in these arms.
Agreed, especially on the key, which is unfortunately the one bit of patrimony that really can't be brought into the scheme without causing a great deal of theological confusion. Fr. Selvester goes on to say in #4 that a titular bishop would use the same insignia as indicated in #3.
5. Ordinaries who are not bishops (even if they were formerly bishops in the Anglican Communion) should ensign the shield with either the mitre with two croziers in saltire behind the shield or with a black galero that has 12 tassels. If they use pontificals then they should place the crosier, without the veil, behind the shield. If they do not then they shouldn't. They should not ever use the cross as an external ornament because in Catholic heraldry this indicates the bearer is a bishop which they are not. In addition, this hat has precedence in the Catholic Church. Major Religious Superiors, who are also ordinaries while not being bishops, use this hat. In addition, Vicars General and Episcopal, who exercise Ordinary jurisdiction without being bishops, use this hat.
Two croziers (or one crozier alone) with a mitre might be apt ornaments for an ordinary not a bishop but entitled to pontificalia. (Image from von Volborth's Heraldry: Customs, Styles and Rules, showing the arms of an archbishop of Canterbury, though shown incorrectly with the ornaments of an Anglican bishop.)
I wholly endorse this arrangement, though I would comment it may be appropriate to omit one of the two crossed croziers, an acceptable variation in practice one finds in some sources, in the interests of clarity and aesthetics. I also very much like the use of the all-black galero in this instance, which is a much better use of precedent than my alternate suggestion of using a black hat with green cords (which Fr. Selvester states in his comments he found unduly novel, and I can't really fault him on that). I had only suggested this largely because I could not think of another option; the analogy of major religious superiors did not occur to me, though on reflection I think it the best and most analogous galero currently in use.
While a cleric being made an ordinary without necessarily being a bishop seems unusual to many it is not something newly invented. They've existed in the Catholic Church for centuries and their heraldic customs have long precedence. What is different here is that some (as formerly Anglican bishops) will be allowed to use pontificals. Here the addition of the crosier heraldically expresses that. The crosier is a sign of jurisdiction, not episcopal character. In addition, it is also used by secular Provosts in addition to abbots so it is not an exclusively abbatial ornament. However, the attachment of the veil has more to do with monastic custom so it should not be employed in this case.
Another proposal suggested by Fr. Selvester for the arms of an ordinary not a bishop but entitled to pontificalia. (Derived from this public domain image, digitally altered by me).
This seems to me an excellent way to mark the distinction in a way that does not incorporate new symbols or involve the adoption of elements which strictly speaking, the bearer of the arms is not entitled to. Even cardinals who were not bishops historically did not use the episcopal cross as part of their heraldic insignia, despite being otherwise entitled to pontificalia. I think this is probably the best proposal for this rank. This also ties into the issue of omitting the episcopal cross and crozier in the Ordinariates' corporate arms, which simplifies matters considerably.
6. Lower clergy should employ the heraldic ornaments proper to Catholic clergy, which they are. If the office of Archdeacon survives in these Ordinariates then using the hat of an archdeacon seems acceptable because there is no counterpart in Catholic heraldry.
Fr. Selvester also thinks the hat for members of the governing council is unnecessary, and suggests that, if in time the council members are seen as analogous to Vicars General, they can adopt that hat. This seems only logical to me, on reflection. The only caveat I would have here is suggesting that a dean who is head of a chapter (in the event such a body is formed in the principal church of an Ordinariate, which presumably will be called something other than a cathedral) ought to adopt the hat of a canon (with three black tassels per side), rather than the two tassels per side of a minor superior, since it would appear that he would be outranked by the members of his own chapter. I would also think, for the sake of consistency, an archdeacon could also potentially adopt the hat of a Catholic minor superior rather than the purple cords of an archdeacon in the Anglican system, which look similar to those of a now-extinct species of monsignor.
8. Everyone else: Deans, Canons, Priests should use the hat appropriate to them in Catholic usage for Rectors, Canons and Priests.
As far as I can see (with the exception of cathedral deans, or their equivalent in the Ordinariate, see above) this should pose no problems, and matches up with the most conservative of my various proposals.
9. The uniquely Anglican hat for a Deacon should not be used by clergy in these Ordinariates. It is particular to the Church of England (by Earl Marshal's Warrant) and by extension used in the churches of the Anglican Communion. It should remain theirs. Hopefully, the Catholic Church will one day sanction an external ornament appropriate to Deacons. Until it does, we shouldn't use someone else's.
My opinion of the deacon's hat has varied considerably over time. I was very taken with it when I first discovered it but I realize, as Fr. Selvester points out, unlike the mitres, croziers and even the black galleros described above, it has no real equivalent in the Roman system. Considering most deacons, while clergy, effectively live as laymen, they will probably want to use the helmet and crest appropriate to their status in the world rather than a galero. Given I get the impression it has not been used much in practice, it can be safely forgotten for th time being.
So, that's my reaction. I appreciate greatly all the thought that went into your article and (with the exception of devising a new hat heretofore unseen) I agree with a great deal of what you have written. Certainly, you have repeated that this was not intended as the last word on the subject. I understand that and appreciate your opening up a conversation which I think should be had. I hope that as these Ordinariates are established that those in charge of them will have the presence of mind to consult with those competent in the science and art of heraldry. Certainly, for those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland the assistance of the College of Arms will be absolutely necessary (as will that of Lord Lyon in Scotland) and, hopefully, what precedent they set will influence others around the world as the Earl Marshal's warrant for the Church of England did for the whole Anglican Communion.
I don't wish to end on a pessimistic note but it must also be said that I wouldn't be surprised if there is a great deal of confusion as well as a general lack of uniformity coming our way. Since the Catholic Church has no heraldic authority of its own we have all seen how this is, sadly, often the case.
Again, thanks for a well composed and thought provoking article!
Thank you, Father, for your own remarks and your kind words. They are lucid and clear and have helped me refine considerably the somewhat rough opinions I had initially put forward in my article. I hope that as the Ordinariates go forward, while keeping these comments in mind, they will not be afraid to consult legitimate heraldic authorities such as the College of Arms and the Canadian Heraldic Authority, and in those countries where none exists, think long and hard, considering the advice of legitimate scholars, in setting any precedents in this area. I too share some of Fr. Selvester's pessimism, but hope that discussions like these may help steer the course of discussion as we move from the nitty gritty of the organization of the Ordinariates, to such gracious and symbolically rich niceties as developing its patrimony of ecclesiastical heraldry. I also promise to discuss something a bit more mainstream (on one of my other great loves, architecture) in many of my future posts, as delighted as I am to get up on one of my own favorite (and oft-neglected) soapboxes.
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