Vatican City, May 4, 2013 / 05:06 am
The cardinal who designed Pope Benedict XVI's coat of arms says he needs a new one now that he is no longer the pontiff.
"The problem now is whether the Pope Emeritus can keep that same coat of arms or not," said Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo.
"And as a person who has always dedicated himself to this, I say 'no,'" he told CNA during a May 2 interview.
The cardinal, who served from 1990 to 1998 as the first Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Palestine, designed Benedict's coat of arms in 2005.
His fascination with ecclesiastical heraldry is a lifelong interest. And that has led him to design the coat of arms for many Catholic institutions, bishops and cardinals.
But now he believes that the "coat of arms needs to be transformed to show that he is a Pope Emeritus," he stated.
He has drawn up a new coat of arms, which he believes could be used now by the former pontiff.
He moved the big keys of Saint Peter from the back of the coat of arms to the top part of the shield and made them much smaller.
"That shows that he had a historic possession but not a current jurisdiction," said the cardinal.
He also included the motto that Benedict used as a cardinal at the bottom, a feature that a papal coat of arms does not include.
"But this is only a proposal, it isn't official," Cardinal Lanza di Montezemolo qualified.
"I allowed myself to send him a note with suggestions because the elements of jurisdiction in effect need to be removed," he stated.
The cardinal told how Benedict replied to him with a note stating that he felt "very unsure" and that he "does not dare."
"But we will see, because the topic is still open," said the expert in ecclesiastical heraldry.
He explained that while Pope Francis did not ask for his services, Benedict XVI contacted him as soon as he was elected Pope.
"He called on me the following day at 8 o'clock in the morning at the Saint Martha residency," the cardinal recalled.
"I asked him what he wanted, he showed me the coat of arms that he had as Archbishop of Munich and as cardinal, and then asked me what I thought about it," he said.
The cardinal answered him that it was good, but "not very correct" because it had four parts with two repeated elements.
"I suggested to put the main elements in three parts, and he replied he did not want the papal tiara," said Cardinal Lanza di Montezemolo.
"He had a very clear idea of what he wanted, so I proposed some arrangements and I designed eight trials after working all day and night," he recounted.
The next day the cardinal returned to the Saint Martha's at 8:00 a.m. with the eight samples and Benedict chose one "very decisively" and signed it.
"It's interesting how decided he was in adding and removing certain elements on the design," the cardinal commented.
"I suggested using the miter, the symbol of the bishops."
'But one wouldn't be able to see the difference between a coat of arms of a bishop and that of a Pope,'" Benedict XVI replied.
The cardinal added the keys of Saint Peter behind the coat of arms. Below, he added the pallium, which had never been done by a previous Pope, to show the collegiality between the Pope and the bishops.