Further Thoughts on the Heraldry of the Ordinariates

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.

arms1 208x300 Further Thoughts on the Heraldry of the Ordinariates

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.

arms 00011 265x300 Further Thoughts on the Heraldry of the Ordinariates

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.

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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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About Matthew Alderman

Matthew Alderman is the founder of the Milwaukee-based Matthew Alderman Studios, specializing in fine art illustration, ecclesiastical design consultations and graphic and church furnishing design. His work as an illustrator and designer has been featured in numerous publications such as St. Austin Review, Dappled Things, Christian Century, Catholic World Report and Second Spring, and his writing on sacred art and architecture has also appeared in First Things, Touchstone, Sacred Architecture and The Living Church. He has produced concepts and illustrations for coats-of-arms and logos for a number of private individuals and church organizations, and his art has been commissioned by clients from Singapore to Austria. He is a graduate of Notre Dame's School of Architecture, and designed the furnishings for the renovation of the century-old Vladivostok Proto-Cathedral in Russia. He is presently collaborating with architect of record RDG Planning and Design of Omaha on the new St. Paul's University Catholic Center in Madison, Wisconsin. His website is matthewalderman.com. Mr. Alderman is a cradle Roman Catholic but has long had a great interest in the Ordinariate-scheme of Anglicanorum Coetibus and its antecedent, the Anglican Use in the USA.

33 thoughts on “Further Thoughts on the Heraldry of the Ordinariates

  1. There must be some mistake with respect to the arms of the diocese of Little Rock: the image seems to have a mitre, and the linked webpage identifies it as well. Might the caption need an adjustment?

    1. Why are citiznes of a republic bothering with Heraldry ? I can understand countries that were formally Kingdoms bothering to some extent. The fact is that the US cannot have a Court of Heralds ( or Lyon Court ). There is no monarchy and you were previously an overseas territory of the UK without the special status of St Helena or Bermuda.

      1. Father, I may well ask the following questions:

        As citizens of a republic, why are we bothering with chivalry? Perhaps we should just slam doors in the face of our women.

        As citizens of a republic, why are we bothering with medals of valor? Surely they are elitist and spread dangerous notions of inequality among our soldiery?

        As citizens of a republic, why are we using outdated governmental analogies such as "Christ the King" in our liturgies?

        Heraldry is not a "monarchy" thing. George Washington was proud of his own coat of arms, from whence we get the flag of Washington, D.C. The U.S. has a coat of arms, designed in a way to be intelligible in a heraldic sense (more-or-less) and the founders agonized over its design. The Dutch Republic had a coat of arms. So do many republics today. Republics need not be drab and utilitarian in all things that they do. If we believe every man is his own king, why don't we act like it for once and bring back some life and color into the civic realm?

        We need not have a college of arms to bother with heraldry. Most European monarchies (save Spain and Britain) do not have their own heraldic authorities, but people still adopt arms. Like 99% of the coats of arms in existence, which were assumed without the consent of heralds, we can adopt our own heraldry as long as it is intelligible within the greater tradition, and does not steal someone else's arms.

        Both Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism use heraldry to communicate important ideas about the nature of its institutions. To throw that out would be to throw out much of the logic of iconography and symbolism as well.

      2. Fr. Andrew,

        You asked: Why are citiznes of a republic bothering with Heraldry ? I can understand countries that were formally Kingdoms bothering to some extent. The fact is that the US cannot have a Court of Heralds ( or Lyon Court ). There is no monarchy and you were previously an overseas territory of the UK without the special status of St Helena or Bermuda.

        Heraldry has long been part of the Catholic tradition. Even here in the United States, every diocese, every monastery, and every bishop has a coat of arms. There's a nice explanation of my archbishop's arms on our archdiocesean web site.

        The ordinariates being canonically equivalent to dioceses and hte ordinaries being canonically equivalent to diocesan bishops even if not actually of episocpal character, they also should have proper coats of arms. Additionally coats of arms are very much a part of the Anglican patrimony that the ordinariates rightfully should preserve: even here in the States, The Episcopal Church (TEC) has long displayed the well known "Episcopal Shield" on all of its parishes, even under its prior names.

        Norm.

        1. Without a governing authority in the form of a Court of Heralds it is really just making up anything you fancy. Arms are granted not taken or made up. Here an individual or an institution can apply to the Court of Heralds or the Lyon Court and he or they may be granted Arms that are suitable. They are chosen by the Herald not by the petitioner. I guess the Vatican may have such a facility but it really isnt for folk just to invent what they fancy. Without a governing authority in the form of a Court or College it is really just playing at it.

          1. The Vatican has no central office granting arms. It has some rules governing what headgear may be depicted atop a shield, or who or what may bear a mitre or crozier or cross, but it has never actually granted arms in an exclusive way. The idea is that the bearer devise them in countries where no authority to do so exist. To insist that real heraldry is only that which is granted by a herald would exclude most of the coats of arms that are in use today–even a good many in England adopted before the College of Arms was codified. In England, the Ordinariates should receive arms from the heralds. In the US, they have no legal authority; that does not mean arms assumed in the US which are devised within the perameters set by the heraldic tradition are not "real."

            We are not inventing "what we fancy" but trying to follow within traditional rules and perameters, and trying to extrapolate from them to cover a situation that, while not totally unprecedented, is still unusual.

            1. Matthew,

              May I suggest that the different perspectives you and Fr Crosbie describe reflect that when dealing with heraldry one has moved into the area where church and state interconnect. You are correct that in the United States and in much of the world where there are no heraldic authorities heraldry is merely a civilised and beautiful means of self-identification. But , as Fr Crosbie correctly points out, in monarchies, or at least in Commonwealth monarchies, heraldry is much more. Coats of arms are indeed a grant of honour from the Crown. In England, Scotland and Canada, because our Sovereign has asserted authority over all heraldry through the College of Arms, the Court of Lord Lyon and the Canadian Heraldic Authority respectively, Catholics are bound by the same rules as non-Catholics. Only coats of arms granted or registered by the heraldic authorities are "real" arms in our countries. Catholic coats of arms that are not registered would have the status of legitimate foreign arms granted by the Vatican State.

              I would therefore quarrel with one passage in your posting. You quote Fr Selvester as stating that the assistance of the College of Arms and Lord Lyon in England and Scotland is "absolutely necessary" and then add yourself that you "hope" the Ordinariates will "not be afraid to consult" the College of Arms and the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The words "absolutely necessary" should not be diminished and apply to Canada as well as to England and Scotland.

              Finally, at the risk of being argumentative, I would be closer to Fr Crosbie in answering your questions about why citizens of a republic have chivalry, medals and the notion of "Christ the King". I would suggest that they are indeed "elitist" in the positive sense and that they are a legacy of the United States' monarchical origins that survived the transition to republicanism.

          2. Father,

            You are incorrect. The assumption of arms (what you call "making it up" pre dates the foundation of the English College of Arms (its not a "court of heralds"). The maintaining that arms have to be granted rather than assumed is one of the oldest myths in heraldry. With respect, you are simply incorrect in that assertion. Oh, in addition, officers of arms who devise coats of arms for petitioners do not simply assign arms to them arbitrarily as you seem to suggest. The person petitioning for the arms is intimately involved with the design and frequently vetoes what the herald or pursuivant has come up with only to send him back to the drawing board. So, even in places like England and Scotland the one receiving the arms has a say in what they look like. In the Church there is no heraldic authority. Bishops in countries that have a heraldic authority are subject to it. In places where they don't (like the USA) they, like any citizen, are free to adopt arms of their own devising. It doesn't matter whether or not one likes that. It is simply a fact. Arms granted by a heraldic authority are no more "real" than arms assumed by the bearer. To think that one must have arms granted is preposterous because it would disenfranchise most of the world from having a coat of arms. The British didn't invent heraldry and theirs is NOT the only system.

  2. Matthew,

    Thank you for another thoughtful, well written, and thought provoking post! It appears that you and Fr. Selvester are converging on a very reasonable system for the ordinariates.

    A few thoughts:

    >> 1. I lean toward the black gallero with six tassles per side and the single crosier for an ordinary who is not a bishop, as this is consistent with Catholic custom whereas the mitre is not. I also think that the shield of an ordinary's coat of arms should impale the arms of the ordinariate, dexter, with those of the individual, sinister, in keeping with Catholic custom.

    >> 2. I hope that the first ordinariate in the United States will adopt the current shield of the "Anglican Use" but ensign it with a mitre, as this reflects its heritage, its continuity of the "Anglican Use," and its elevation to status equivalent to a diocese. The ordinariate for Canada should adopt the shield from the arms of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC), but without the scroll and perhaps ensigned with a different style of mitre, for the same reasons.

    >> 3. Living in the United States, I have never known parish clergy who have used arms. The discussion of arms for pastors, parochial vicars, and deacons might be rather hypothetical unless this situation is different elsewhere.

    I also have a couple questions, and perhaps Fr. Selvester also will weigh in on these.

    >> 1. Have you given any thought to arms for an ordinariate that functions in the role of a metropolitan see among two or more ordinariates located in the territory of the same episcopal conference? The use of a black gallero with six tassles per side and crosier for an ordinary who is not a bishop lends itself to the natural extention of a black gallero with ten tassles per side and a crosier for an "archordinary" who is not a bishop. I'm less certain whether there should be any differences between the arms of an "archordinariate" and those of a normal ordinariate. an "archordinary" who has received episcopal ordination would have status as an archbishop by that fact, and thus would have the green gallero with ten tassles per side on his arms.

    >> 2. Anglicanorum coetibus authorizes erection of territorial deaneries within an ordinariate. Have you given any thought to appropriate ensignment of both the arms and the deans of such deaneries?

    Finally, please note that all ordinaries are entitled to use pontifical insignia by virtue of their office. Thus, the hypothesized case of an ordinary who is not entitled to use pontifical insignia won't exist.

    Norm.

    1. Dear Norm:

      1. I think that would all be appropriate. I am all in favor of impaling the personal arms of the ordinary as well, if he possesses them or wishes to adopt them. English (Anglican) bishops don't do this as much so they will have to decide for themselves what they want to do; in either case both options are open to them.

      2. This would be appropriate, though with regards to the ACC in Canada it will depend on what the Canadian Heraldic Authority decides and how the transfer is arranged. A differently-designed mitre won't be enough to distinguish between two coats of arms. I do like the idea of the US ordinariate adopting those arms, though it will depend on its final demographic composition and, as I have said before, we don't necessarily want every Ordinariate to have a St. George's cross and blue canton variation lest it get monotonous.

      3. You are correct here, though they are free to adopt arms if they wish. A pastor may even impale his own arms with those of his parish if one exists.

      In response to your questions:

      1. I believe a black hat with ten tassels was proposed by Michael McCarthy in his book for archabbots or something like that (though no sut hat exists at present) so it seems logical, though I am loathe (after my previous experiment) to recommend adopting a hat de novo. However, I would adopt a wait-and-see attitude to see if the Ordinariate would actually develop that way before starting to offer prescriptions in that direction. It may well be by that point the ordinary is an actual bishop. Cart before horse, and all that.

      2. I would imagine they would use the hat of a minor superior (black with two tassels per side.)

      With regards to the use of pontificalia, by this point I have heard so many explanations back and forth on this question I have forgotten now what the actual document says. But thank you for your comments.

      1. Matthew,

        You wrote: I do like the idea of the US ordinariate adopting those arms, though it will depend on its final demographic composition and, as I have said before, we don't necessarily want every Ordinariate to have a St. George's cross and blue canton variation lest it get monotonous.

        Yes, I agree completely, which is why I proposed it explicitly for the first ordinariate in the United States. Subsequent ordinariates certainly may retain one or another of the elements in the design as an expression of continuity, but there also should be clear differentiation.

        If the Vatican erects three ordinariates in either the United States or Canada and assigns one of them the role of a metropolitan see at erection, I would hope that the ordinariate designated as the metropolitan see would adopt the respective shield in its coat of arms.

        You wrote: 1. I believe a black hat with ten tassels was proposed by Michael McCarthy in his book for archabbots or something like that (though no sut hat exists at present) so it seems logical, though I am loathe (after my previous experiment) to recommend adopting a hat de novo. However, I would adopt a wait-and-see attitude to see if the Ordinariate would actually develop that way before starting to offer prescriptions in that direction. It may well be by that point the ordinary is an actual bishop. Cart before horse, and all that.

        I'm not persuaded that it's premature to consider a potential "archordinariate" scenario, or any other plausible future development, when developing a heraldic system. A heraldic system clearly should endure through the ages, so I see inability of a heraldic system to accommodate plausible future developments would be a serious problem.

        Additionally, this is a scenario that could happen much more quickly than you expect. The Vatican may well erect three regional ordinariates rather than one within the United States and within Canada.

        The "archordinariate" scenario actually creates the very interesting canonical wrinkle of an ordinary who is a bishop being suffragan to an "archordinary" who is not a bishop. Of course, it's really no different than a monk who is a bishop being subject to the abbot whenever he returns to his monastery.

        If a personal ordinariate has enough celibate clergy to ensure that its ordinary can always be a bishop, I suspect that the Vatican will reconstitute it as a "personal (arch)diocese" to regularize its status. Note that the cadre of celibate clergy may include clerical religious orders, which are the primary source of bishops in the Orthodox Communion and probably also in the sui juris ritual churches.

        You wrote, with regard to deans of territorial deaneries: 2. I would imagine they would use the hat of a minor superior (black with two tassels per side.)

        That proposal seems to make sense.

        You wrote: With regards to the use of pontificalia, by this point I have heard so many explanations back and forth on this question I have forgotten now what the actual document says.

        I believe that the governing law is still that of No. 130 of the sacred constitution Sacrosanctum consillium on divine worship promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. Here it is.

        130. It is fitting that the use of pontificals be reserved to those ecclesiastical persons who have episcopal rank or some particular jurisdiction.

        The ordinary clearly has "particular jurisdiction" and thus may use pontifical insignia even if not bishops under this norm.

        You wrote: But thank you for your comments.

        You're welcome!

        Norm.

  3. Slightly off-topic:
    Matthew said: "…the principal church of an Ordinariate, which presumably will be called something other than a cathedral…"

    How about "Minster"?

      1. Matthew,

        You wrote: It does sound rather Patrimonial! But I leave that to the experts in Cathedral-naming to decide. (Are there experts?)

        We're going to have to see what policy the Vatican adopts when it names a principal church of an ordinariate. JTOL, I doubt that the Vatican will want to call such churches cathedrals because an ordinariate is not exactly a diocese, but the Vatican could adopt some desingation such as "pro-cathedral" if it sees fit.

        Norm.

  4. Another great post, Mr. Alderman!

    I can claim no heraldric expertise, I learned most of my heraldry cataloguing rare books (my occupation for a while before Uncle Sam intervened)—that and I was keen to figure out at one point which coats of arms on the walls of my grandparents (and great aunt's) parlor really belonged to us, which were just decoration, and which we thought belonged to us, but really didn't.

    However, one point strikes me. Being clerics deacons shouldn't be wearing helms because they cannot fight (neither should women—or children— in a civilized society). Adult secular males and lay religious males who are members of military religious orders do have that duty, if it seems largely theoretical at this point; and the related duty of venturing our lives to save others in both combat and non-combat situations. It's our job to venture our lives in a way that clerics and women and children do not. I have in fact done so, both doing lifesaving, and also working on a military base: My building was the target of a planned terrorist attack, happily foiled else I might no be here. So I am loth to grant a helm to a "non-combatant" in the same way that a cleric would be loth to grant me a galero. Just my two cents.

    And why heraldry? Because its become an integral and useful part of our Christian heritage.

    1. A friend of mine and aspiring permanent deacon (well, someday) told me yesterday he thought that most permanent deacons he knew would not wish to use the helm, which was cheering news for me, as it shows the depth of their understanding of the clerical state. I also discovered James Noonan in "The Church Visible" thought the adopting of a deacon's gallero to be a good idea (despite its uniquely Anglican roots in its current form); I have see-sawed myself on the question but a safe compromise (based on the comments of my aspiring deacon friend) in the absence of heraldic direction from the Holy See (who is the competent authority here) might be to simply display one's arms with no helmet and no headgear at all.

  5. I think the Anglican deacon's gallero (two "l"s?) is the best solution I've seen. The permanent deacons I know work pretty hard for little reward or recognition, and they deserve something. In fact, considering how a some of them take quite a bit of guff from priests who seemed threatened by them, I'd almost endorse making theirs of gold ;-)

  6. Would it not make sense instead of reinventing the wheel to simply use the same type of arms as used for apostolic vicariates and prefectures headed by priest-prelates instead of bishops? These jurisdictions are quasi-dioceses whose Ordinary governs in the name of the Pope as opposed to by their own right. Isn't this equivalent to the Personal Ordinariate? The highest ranking priest-prelates are certain officials in the Vatican such as protonotaries apostolic and members of the Rota etc. Their arms are the violet hat with six red tassles. I'm not sure about the 'priest' apostolic vicars and prefects; perhaps they use the same???

    1. Tim,

      Would it not make sense instead of reinventing the wheel to simply use the same type of arms as used for apostolic vicariates and prefectures headed by priest-prelates instead of bishops? These jurisdictions are quasi-dioceses whose Ordinary governs in the name of the Pope as opposed to by their own right. Isn't this equivalent to the Personal Ordinariate? The highest ranking priest-prelates are certain officials in the Vatican such as protonotaries apostolic and members of the Rota etc. Their arms are the violet hat with six red tassles. I'm not sure about the 'priest' apostolic vicars and prefects; perhaps they use the same???

      The various ranks of monseignori (minor prelates) who work in various dicasteries and tribunals of the Vatican generally have no real jurisdiction, so it would not be appropriate for somebody who does have real jurisdiction to copy their style.

      The better precedent is that of presbyters who hold ordinary jurisdiction over a particular church. This category includes prefects of apostolic prefectures, prelates of apostolic prelatures, abbots of territorial abbacies, and ordinaries of military ordinariates. IIRC, all of these prelates have a black gallero with six black tassles per side.

      Norm.

      1. Thanks for your input, Norm. I'm still not convinced about the black gallero and tassels for those prelates. I used to have a good reference to apostolic vicars, prefects and adminstrators who were priests using the violet galero with red tassels, but can't seem to find it now. Anyway, I trust the experts will sort it all out.

        1. If they used a violet galero with red tassels then it was likely because they were Prothonotaries Apostolic (i.e. the highest rank of the monsignori) and not simply priests. The hat you describe is proper to that rank but it is not necessarily connected to being a vicar,prefect or administrator apostolic in itself.

  7. Norm wrote:
    I also think that the shield of an ordinary's coat of arms should impale the arms of the ordinariate, dexter, with those of the individual, sinister, in keeping with Catholic custom

    If I recall correctly (my brain is aging rapidly these days) the heraldic significance of impaling the arms of the diocese with the bishop [ordinariate/ordinary] is that it shows the marriage of the of the bishop to his see.

    Many thanks, Matthew, for another great essay.

    Kind regards,
    John U.K.

    1. John,

      You wrote: If I recall correctly (my brain is aging rapidly these days) the heraldic significance of impaling the arms of the diocese with the bishop [ordinariate/ordinary] is that it shows the marriage of the of the bishop to his see.

      It would be more precise to say it shows the union of a bishop with his see. In the Catholic tradition, it typically does not last "'till death do us part" because the Vatican often transfers bishops from one see to another and and sometimes to positions in the Roman curia. By way of example, the current Coadjutor of Los Angeles was the Archbishop of San Antonio and the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was the Archbishop of San Francisco when Pope Benedict XVI appointed them to their current positions. (For anybody who is not familiar with the term, a "coadjutor" is an auxilliary bishop with special prerogatives including automatic succession upon the death or resigation of the diocesan bishop. A coadjutor of an archdiocese, ex officio, is an archbishop.)

      Norm.

  8. At least here in the UK arms for the Ordinariate as such would run into trouble. Roman Catholic Dioceses are not granted arms as they are STILL not strictly speaking legally recognised. The closest that could be asked for is, I understand, arms for a "body corporate".

    The Archdiocese of Westminster has a kind of grant of arms, peculiarly from the Holy See in the nineteenth century. But this is simply a shield like that of the Anglican Diocese of Canterbury, with the pallium and cross on a shield of gules rather than azure. Archbishop Bruno Heim fiddled with this when drawing up arms for Cardinal Basil Hume, by replacing the cross behind the pallium with a fleurs-de-lis, which of course he should not have done. However, since there was not an official grant from an English authority he felt entitled to do so.

    Archbishops of Westminster have traditionally impaled their arms with the shield granted by the Holy See. Our current Archbishop has decided the diocese should use its own arms rather than his, which has resulted in a very peculiar (and illegal) monstrosity – the shield of the Archdiocese with the hat and Cross of an Archbishop. Much as I have tried, I have been unable to persuade the diocesan authorities that this is a gross heraldic solecism which should not be perpetuated by England's premier See!

    The problem really exists because the College of Arms will not be involved in the grant of arms to RC Dioceses. How will the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham fare in such a situation?

    The Ordinary himself, however, is another matter as RC bishops and clergy are granted arms.

    1. As near as I can tell (and I would gladly be proven wrong) that is actually the insignia of the local conference of bishops (as it appears on their website too)rather than the ordinariate; I assume the symbolism is Marian in origin.

  9. The arms previously used by the English Ordinariate were those of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. The Ordinariate has now adopted its own arms, which are derived from the ancient arms of Walsingham and those of Cardinal Newman. See the website. I'm not sure the blazon is entirely correct. Having viewed these posts, the mitre used looks rather familiar.
    It may be of interest to note that when they were first published, the arms were the other way round (Newman in dexter), and I'm pleased that that was corrected. I think I would rather have had Newman's arms included in the canton rather than impaled, though.
    I have no idea whether the College of Arms was involved, but I suspect not.

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