Monday, February 17, 2014

"Hark! the Heraldry"

A nice review of a recent heraldry book appeared recently on the Catholic News Service under the headline: "Hark, the heraldry: cracking the coat of arms code."  I think that the headline may be a little bit over the top; the "code" of heraldry really isn't really all that hard to "crack," or else we would all have taken up other, easier hobbies.

Still, it's a nice review of the Manuale di araldica ecclesiastica by  Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo and Antonio Pompli, noting that the book (written in Italian) "gives an in-depth look at the history and 'grammar' of a properly designed coat of arms."  The review also includes a number of pictures from the book, including the arms which the Cardinal devised for, and his proposed revised coat of arms for the retired, Pope Benedict XVI.

The full article can be found at the website of the Catholic News Service at and is worth reading.

In a bit of fun, the article ends with an heraldic hunt: "see if you can catch a very small, yet 'inexplicable' detail in Francis' papal coat of arms" just above.*

The book is available here in the U.S. in paperback on's website from an Italian seller for US$36.15 (plus $3.99 shipping).  You can see more details regarding this at

All in all, it looks like an interesting and )fortunately for those of us who don't normally read a lot of Italian, although my Spanish will carry me through a lot it) well-illustrated volume on ecclesiastical heraldry in the Catholic Church.  It won't topple Archbishop Bruno Heim's Heraldry in the Catholic Church from its premier position in this subject, but certainly looks like it would make a good companion to it.

*  The motto ribbon beneath the shield should remain white on top and end up red when it curls at the end.

1 comment:

  1. It's "inexplicable" to me why the artist chose different shades of gold for the sun vs. the mullet/nard/key/papal mitre, etc....