New bishop of Chur: No coat of arms

Joseph Maria Bonnemain, the newly appointed bishop of Chur (Pray Tell reported here), has decided to renounce having a coat of arms: “The cross is sufficient for me.”

The bishop-elect explained this as follows:

The cross is the sign of the loving self-offering of Christ for the world. Thus, do not expect that I design and use an episcopal coat of arms, as is ordinarily the case. The symbol of the cross of Christ is sufficient for me. I will use this, and only this.



  1. “The cross is sufficient for me.” That’s not a bad episcopal motto. Might as well attach it to a coat of arms!

  2. I am for allowing these trappings of royalty to sink into oblivion. These “servants” do not need to fuss over their heraldry and soon-to-be-forgotten “mottos”…even in Latin…before their ordinations. I have been subjected to coats of arms on Christmas cards, on random episcopal documents and letters of gravitas. The main purpose seems to reinforce the importance of “church as empire”. I guess it’s great to be king.

  3. I kind of like the symbolism of the coat of arms. It make one think about what is important to put on it. Most people have favorite quotes or an about me section on social media. That is roughly equivalent.

  4. The Bishop of Evry, Michel Pansard, a lovely pastoral man, when he was Bishop of Chartres had a coat of arms depicting a foot being washed, with no text at all. (In Evry, he now has a motto “For the sake of the Gospel”.)

  5. His appointment will be for five years, guaranteed by Pope Francis even though that will bring him past the age of retirement. I think it was a wise move to announce this upfront to reassure the people. He will still be a transitional figure, but a lot can happen in five years to change the atmosphere, which is not very good at this point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.