“Ambiguous” new papal coat of arms
Rome is feverishly awaiting the inauguration of the new Pope Francis I. on Tuesday. Delegations from 132 countries, more than 80 heads of state met on Monday in Rome to attend the service for the enthronement of the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 179 countries. “We expect that about 250,000 people will attend the divine service,” reported the Vatican spokesman, father Federico Lombardi. The rough estimate of the Roman city administration is that up to one million people could attend. The Vatican is “certainly happy if that many people participate.”
Mugabe once again causes discord
The Italian government already raised the safety precautions up to a maximum, and the city of Rome, which has slightly more than 2.5 million has set all the machinery in motion to cope with the rush of the faithful. Thousands of security forces are on duty to ensure the safety of the heads of State and Government. Drastic restrictions of air traffic over Rome were put into effect. Snipers, bomb experts, dog patrols and motorcycle units are on duty.
The Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who had travelled to Rome despite an EU travel ban, caused polemic. Zimbabwe argues that the Vatican is a sovereign state and therefore not affected by EU travel ban. The EU travel ban against dictator Mugabe applies since 2002. However, the controversial African head of State traveled to Rome in 2005 for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. He also went there in May 2011, to attend the celebrations for the beatification of Pope John Paul II.
New fisherman’s ring will be presented
During the inauguration service, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph and the contemporaneous name day of the Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, the new Pope receives the Pallium and the fisherman’s ring as a sign of his papal power. The Pallium is the same that Benedict XVI. had received . The ring was designed by the Italian artist Enrico Manfrini. The Pope was presented three models to choose from. The ring is made of gilded silver not gold, reported Lombardi.
Sun, Star and lavender on a blue background
Pope Francis I. chose his Bishop’s crest as the basis for his new papal coat of arms. As the Vatican announced on Monday, the coat of arms is, as it was already on Benedict XVI’s, coronated by a Bishop’s Mitra and no longer – as it was common in the 20th century – by the triple crown, the so-called Tiara. The lower part of the coat of arms shows the sun on a blue background, which is part of both the Argentine flag and the Jesus-symbol IHS of the Jesuits.
Further, there is a star on the crest referring to the Mother of God, and a lavender blossom, which is considered a symbol of Saint Joseph. The motto of the Pope remains “Miserando atque eligendo” (chosen by mercy). It refers to the election of the Apostle Matthew, who was a tax collector, through Jesus. When the young Jorge Mario Bergoglio decided to become a priest, this passage played a decisive role for him.