May 9, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI's Coat of Arms



Notes

The coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI was designed by then Archbishop Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo (who later was created a Cardinal) soon after the papal election. Benedict's coat of arms has omitted the papal tiara, which traditionally appears in the background to designate the Pope's position as a worldly ruler like a king, replacing it with a simple miter, emphasizing his spiritual authority.

Symbolism

Scallop shell: The symbolism of the scallop shell is multiple; one of the meanings is thought to represent Saint Augustine. While a doctoral candidate in 1953, Fr. Joseph Ratzinger wrote his dissertation on The People of God and the House of God in Augustine's Teaching is always about the Church, and therefore has a personal connection with the thought of this great Doctor of the Church.

Moor of Freising: The Moor's head is an heraldic charge associated with Freising, Germany.

Corbinian's bear: A legend states that while traveling to Rome, Saint Corbinian's pack horse was killed by a bear. He commanded the bear to carry the load. Once he arrived, he released it from his service, and it returned to Bavaria. The implication is that "Christianity tamed and domesticated the ferocity of paganism and thus laid the foundations for a great civilization in the Duchy of Bavaria." At the same time, Corbinian's bear, as God's beast of burden, symbolizes the weight of office that Benedict now carries.

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