Pope Benedict XVI substituted a bishop's
miter for the traditional pope's tiara, and draped below the shield, added
a white woolen* pallium with black crosses.
The miter is silver with three gold
stripes symbolizing order, jurisdiction and magisterium, the powers of the
*The pallium symbolizes the yoke or
weight of responsibility of the papacy, and the crosses symbolize Christ's
On the left side of the shield is the
**Moor of Freising (caput ethiopicum) symbolizing the universality
of the Catholic Church.
On the right side of the shield is Saint
Corbinian's bear. Saint Corbinian was the first bishop and the
patron saint of the Diocese of Freising. When Saint Corbinian was on
his way to Rome, a bear attacked and killed Saint Corbinian's mule, so as
punishment, Saint Corbinian made the bear carry his belongings.
The shell at the bottom of the shield
symbolizes pilgrims on a journey.
On the back of the shield are keys
symbolizing Christ giving Saint Peter the keys to the Church.
Popes have had personal coats of arms
for the last eight centuries.
*In the early papacies, the pallium was
made of sheepskin.
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI Messages
Cousin the Pope
Vatican and Catholic