top of page
  • John Thavis

The pope’s coat-of-arms and motto

Pope Francis has decided to keep his relatively simple bishop’s coat-of-arms, combining it with traditional papal symbols.

It features the Jesuit emblem and seal (the Greek letters IHS for the name of Jesus, the cross and nails surrounded by a sunburst.) Below are a star on the left, a symbol of Mary, and an image of nard flowers, a symbol of St. Joseph (I know they look like grapes, but they’re flowers.)

Framing the coat-of-arms are the papal miter and silver and gold keys, linked by a red cord.

The pope’s Latin motto “miserando atque eligendo,” recalls a passage from a homily of St. Bede, describing how Jesus chose St. Matthew as his disciple: “He saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him.”

St. Bede’s point was that Jesus chose Matthew not in the usual sense, but with a merciful understanding — something the new pope has already made a theme of his pontificate.

Recent Posts

See All

Papal advice to journalists

A potentially divisive Synod of Bishops is fast approaching, and Pope Francis appears to be concerned about how the October assembly will be treated by the world’s press. On Aug. 26 he gave a brief ta

Comments


Archive

bottom of page