The Princes' New Coats

Two months ago before the consistory took place, I posted on this blog about the coat-of-arms of the cardinals-elect. Now it's time to update the coats-of-arms of these prelates since their elevation. I found 17 of them and photoshoped the arms of Francesco Coccopalmerio from his former one. (I also have João Bráz de Aviz's former arms as archbishop of Brasilia, but he would have changed his shield when appointed to the Roman Curia.) If anyone can find the coat-of-arms of the the 4 remaining cardinals (João Bráz de Aviz, Domenico Calcagno, Lucian Mureşan and Julien Ries), please write to me.

Cardinals employ the insignia of a red galero with a cord and 15 red tassels on each side of their shield in their arms. (Read also my summary of the insignia of prelates of other ranks.) The shield identifies the person or the family. It is customarily changed whenever this primary office changes (say from auxiliary to ordinary or from ordinary of a see to another).

Simple designs of the shields of the other curial cardinals are desirable: Fernando Filoni, Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Santos Abril y Castelló, Antonio Maria Vegliò, Giuseppe Bertello, Francesco Coccopalmerio and Giuseppe Versaldi. When a bishop takes possession of a diocese (or an office), he often combines his personal elements with those of the diocese in separate parts of the shield. This is known as marshalling. For instance, Edwin O'Brien uses the red crosses of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in two of the quarters of the shields, while the other two quarters are further marshalled into the symbols he used in his previous arms including that of the coat-of-arms of the premier see of Baltimore. See other fine examples of marshalling in the arms of Timothy Dolan and Rainer Woelki.

A few notes about the coats-of-arms of the other cardinals: Cardinal George Alencherry can use a different design in his arms because of his affiliation in the Eastern rite, although this style is not shared by his predecessors or other Syro-Malabar bishops. Thomas Collins and Timothy Dolan could have included a pallium in their arms because they are archbishops of metropolitan sees, like Dominik Duka, Willem Eijk, Giuseppe Betori and Rainer Woelki. John Tong is the only cardinal with the office of a bishop and so uses a single-bar cross instead of a double-bar archiepiscopal cross. (The design of the Hong Kong bishop's shield regrettably breaks every rule in heraldry, just like his predecessor Cardinal Joseph Zen's. They were ordained bishop on the same occasion prior to Hong Kong's return to China. Their coats-of-arms were probably designed by the same novice.)

While both Prosper Grech and Karl Becker were only priests when the consistory was announced, the former received episcopal consecration while Karl Becker asked for dispensation from episcopal ordination out of humility, and so does not employ a cross on top of his shield. Note also the different shapes of the shields that are used, which are allowed in heraldry.

Everyone should appreciate how beautifully the heraldic artists designed and drew these coats-of-arms. Some of the illustrations were taken from Araldica Vaticana, Marco Foppoli and Giuseppe Quattrociocchi. (I'd be happy to acknowledge other designers if they were missed.) Ecclesiastical heraldry is indeed a great treasure of the Church.

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