Vatican Releases Papal Coat of Arms, Motto by English Doctor of Church

by Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ papal motto is based on the Gospel account of “The Call of St. Matthew,” the tax collector, in a homily given by St. Bede the Venerable. The pope decided to keep his episcopal motto and coat of arms for his pontificate with just a few minor adjustments in line with a papal emblem. For example, the blazon adds the bishop’s miter and the keys of St. Peter. The silver miter was something Pope Benedict XVI established in 2005, putting an end to the three-tiered tiara that, for centuries, had appeared at the top of each pope’s coat of arms. The simple, more modest miter has three gold stripes to mirror order, jurisdiction and magisterium, and a vertical gold band connects the three stripes in the middle to indicate their unity in the same person. The Holy See’s insignia of two crossed keys, which symbolize the powers Christ gave to the Apostle Peter and his successors, is on the new papal coat of arms and has been part of papal emblems for centuries. The papal emblem uses a gold key to represent the power in heaven and a silver key to indicate the spiritual authority of the papacy on earth. The red cord that unites the two keys alludes to the bond between the two powers.

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