Religious Indifferentism Coat of Arms
Achbishop-elect Julian Leow Beng Kim, chosen by Francis months ago:
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Oh my days! I had seen this already, in link on the British Catholic Herald website. I thought of posting a thread on it and putting it up here, but forgot (probably wanted to get it out of my mind as quickly as possible).

It was not the religious indifferentism that bothered me about this, it was rather the profoundly bad herald.

Heraldy is an exact art and science, so hard to get right. It is strictly regulated in countries with heraldic authorities, such as the UK and the Republic of Ireland (the College of Arms for England and the rest of the UK except Scotland, which has the Court of the Lord Lyon, and the Office of Chief Herald in Eire). Canada also has its own authority, in the British heraldic tradition, and some of their grants are truly beautiful and innovative. Since the founding of the American Republic however, the US has not had a heraldic authority, I can't remember why, but I think it was deliberate. The Great seal remains the classic work of American heraldry (the state arms of Alabama is probably the worst).

Heraldry is one of my hobbies and I make designs. I made a design recently for a newly consecrated bishop I know. But I have not submitted it to him. I have however made a design, quite rich in significance, for my old secondary school, founded in 1557, and I hope the principle will submit the design to the College of Arms for an official grant of Arms from the Queen. In terms of my hobby, this would be the ultimate achievement. The College is already using arms, but illegally, and improperly designed, although it is quite handsome, not at all like the poor bishop's above!

Bishops in England and Wales for example are fortunate, in that they have a centuries old heraldic authority who would undertake the work of design for them. And these grants are usually very effective, and of high artistic and heraldic merit...

But the one above does a a great dishonour to the art of heraldry. The 'charges' are too specific and difficult to put into 'blazon' (the written notation of heraldry which heraldic artists interpret when reproducing arms). It offends the noble simplicity which is the essence of heraldry. It is also bland and unimaginative. Not to mention contrived.

Poor bishop. I think he meant well, but this is the sort of thing that should be left to experts (and dare I be cheeky, those with good taste!)

For an example of good heraldry, look to pope Francis' arms. It is restricted to one 'tincture' and one 'metal', in this case Or (gold) and Azure (blue). A plain blue field on which are placed three simple charges: the mullet of eight points, the spikenard flower (a very Latin American symbol for St Joseph), and that beautiful sun of the Jesuits enclosing the Christogram. Simple, clear, yet beautiful and keeping with tradition.
Check out Fr Guy Selvester, internet heraldry enthusiast, and his insightful (and scathing) review of the archbishop's new arms.

His blog is an excellent resource on ecclesiastical heraldry by the way.
Fr Selvester's compendium of episcopal heraldic faux pas:

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