As a summary, the number of tassels on each side of the shield tells the rank of the prelate: 0 for Deacons, 1 for Priests, 2 for Vicars Forane and Vicars Episcopal, 3 for Canons, 6 for Monsignors, Abbots and Bishops, 10 for Archbishops, 12 for Major Archbishops, 15 for Primates, Patriarchs and Cardinals. The colour of the galero usually matches that of tassels: black for Priests and Abbots, violet for Prelates of Honour, green for Bishops, Archbishops and Patriarchs, and red for Cardinals (except for Protonotaries Apostolic who use violet galero and red tassels, and Chaplains of His Holiness who use a black galero and violet tassels). A Bishop uses a golden cross above the shield; an Archbishop uses a golden archiepiscopal cross (two-barred cross); and Abbots uses a crozier. Archbishops who are Metropolitans can use a pallium in the arms.
When the prelates change their office and rank, they adjust their coat-of-arms accordingly. For the 22 prelates to be elevated Cardinals, they may simply change the colour of the galero, cords and tassels to red and the number of tassels becomes 15 on five rows on each side of the shield, while usually leaving the shield unchanged. Below are the existing coat-of-arms of half of the 22 Cardinals-designate.Note that Versaldi's coat-of-arms was that of his former office as Bishop of Alessandria, and Fr. Grech's coat-of-arms will be used only from his episcopal consecration on February 8 until February 18 when he is created cardinal.
These 11 prelates choose the following mottoes (the mottoes of the others can be seen here):
- Fernando Filoni: Lumen gentium Christus (Christ is the light of the world)
- Edwin Frederick O’Brien: Pastores dabo vobis (Shepherds I give you)
- Thomas Christopher Collins: Deum adora (Revelation 22:9, Worship God)
- Dominik Duka, O.P.: In spiritu veritatis (John 4:24, In the spirit of truth)
- Willem Jacobus Eijk: Noli recusare labore (Do not refuse to work)
- Giuseppe Betori: Deo et verbo gratiæ (Acts 20:32, To God and to the word of his grace)
- Timothy Michael Dolan: Ad quem ibimus (John 6:68, Lord, To whom shall we go)
- Rainer Maria Woelki: Nos sumus teste (Acts 5:32, We are witnesses)
- Giuseppe Versaldi: Christi minister (Minister of Christ)
- John Tong Hon: Dominus pastor meus (Psalm 23:1, The Lord is my Shepherd)
- Prosper Grech: In te Domine speravi (Psalm 31:2, In you Lord I take refuge)