Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

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GSelvester
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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby GSelvester » 07 Jun 2016, 17:38

GJKS wrote:Unfortunately the arms depicted in the initial post in this thread are, for some reason, unavailable. However, I do have a copy of his arms in my archives. I don't have a copy of all the RC high-clergy in my archives as the majority have had 'things done to them' that really don't coincide with traditional heraldry. These arms possibly might be a good example of what I mean. Heaven only knows from whence his (archbishop Fisher) heraldic advice is gleaned


The archbishop chose to refuse any offers of help from the Australian Heraldry Society and sought help from a personal friend who likes to "dabble" in heraldry.

GJKS wrote:since there have been some somewhat questionable arms produced for RC clergy in Australia since the passing of the late Michael McCarthy (1938-2005) who was a stickler for correct heraldry.


I disagree. Actually, he wasn't. Michael was a personal friend of mine so I know from whence I speak and he constantly tried pushing the envelope, as they say, of accepted heraldic practice to create innovative and creative heraldic designs. It is interesting to note that almost all the bishops in Australia who had their coats of arms designed by him later chose to have their arms re-designed because they felt Michael's designs were unconventional.

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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby Chris Green » 07 Jun 2016, 18:07

It is interesting to note that almost all the bishops in Australia who had their coats of arms designed by him later chose to have their arms re-designed because they felt Michael's designs were unconventional.


Any chance of some examples to illustrate this?
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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby Marcus Karlsson » 28 Jun 2016, 19:27

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane come to mind. If my mind serves me right McCarthy designed Arms for him while Auxiliary in Melbourne. Which he later changed.

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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby Chris Green » 28 Jun 2016, 20:23

I was thinking of illustrative examples.
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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 29 Jun 2016, 08:51

I have McCarthy's book which I could scan or photograph if examples of his work are needed for comparison.
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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby GSelvester » 01 Jul 2016, 21:52

Marcus Karlsson wrote:Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane come to mind. If my mind serves me right McCarthy designed Arms for him while Auxiliary in Melbourne. Which he later changed.


Actually, when Coleridge was named Auxiliary of Melbourne he assumed arms designed by someone else. I don't know who. These are his original arms.

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When he was promoted to Archbishop of Canberra Michael McCarthy redesigned his personal arms and impaled them with Canberra.

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Abp. Coleridge intensely disliked this redesign but stayed quiet out of respect for Michael's reputation. After Michael's death he approached the President of the Australian Heraldry Society, Mr. Richard d'Apice about once again redesigning his personal arms while still in Canberra. The reworking of the design was undertaken by d'Apice and myself and emblazoned by Mr. Sandy Turnbull also of the AuHS.

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When the archbishop was translated to Brisbane he retained the third version of his personal arms and impaled them with the arms of Brisbane.

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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby Chris Green » 02 Jul 2016, 07:42

Thanks Father Guy for that guide through the maze of Abp Coleridge's arms.

Two points:

1) The last version of his arms has bendy of eight gules and argent. The previous version has bendy sinister of six argent and gules. So the Archbishop did not "retain the third version of his arms" he assumed new arms for the fourth time in 11 years (which has to be something of a record).

2) On the doubtful assumption that it is acceptable for a subject of HM The Queen to assume arms in Australia (the authority of the College of Arms in Australia being, I understand, a matter of dispute), it still behoves the armiger, having once assumed arms, to stick to the same design for life. Arms are intended to express one's identity. Coleridge has had three identities as a bishop/archbishop, but these are expressed heraldically by marshalling his arms with those of his see. Assuming new arms, whether because one changes jobs, or because one takes against the design, is at best confusing. The alteration of the arms he latterly used in Canberra on his move to Brisbane, strikes me as plain sloppy. Bendy of eight gules and argent is not the same as bendy sinister of six argent and gules. There are of course no Letters Patent granting the current arms, so which version should be considered "correct" is a matter of conjecture, perhaps as much to Archbishop Coleridge as to us.
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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby GSelvester » 03 Jul 2016, 03:54

I checked back in my files and indeed he did decide to modify the design again because he felt it harmonized better with the arms of the See. So the number and direction of the bends was changed as well as the tincture of the chief.

As for the question of changing the design of the arms all I can say is welcome to the world of ecclesiastical heraldry. Archbishops are their own bosses. They do as they like.

Less facetiously, let me say that the question of the College of Arms in London claiming jurisdiction over Australia is indeed a disputed question. However, it's not quite as open-ended as you imply. Like the situation in Canada those care deeply about heraldry in Australia wish to lobby for a separate heraldic authority for Australia. In the mean time there is a "both/and" approach. Many Australians choose to petition the English College of Arms for a grant and are not incorrect in doing so. Many in Australia assume arms and are also seen as being not incorrect.

Certainly it is the case that Australia's Roman Catholic bishops assume arms. As for which version of Abp. Coleridge's arms are "correct" the answer to that is simple: it's whichever one he says is the correct one.

Don't misunderstand me. I agree with you that a coat of arms should not be changed once assumed. However, this is often not the case with (arch)bishops and, as I alluded to earlier, in places where there is no clear and undisputed heraldic authority there is no one to stop them.

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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby Chris Green » 03 Jul 2016, 07:01

Archbishops are their own bosses. They do as they like.


The Vatican's inexplicable abdication of all heraldic authority was the signal for the anarchy that now prevails. Coleridge's arms (whichever version one chooses) are at least heraldically defensible unlike many of the ecclesiastical monstrosities to be found around the world.

The problem with heralds and heraldic artists bowing to the concept that one RC Archbishop can do as he likes heraldically, is that others will use it as a precedent. "If Archbishop Coleridge could change his personal arms, so can I!"

You say, Father Guy:

in places where there is no clear and undisputed heraldic authority there is no one to stop them.


There may be no formal heraldic authority to stop them, but the whole weight of 800+ years of heraldic and genealogical tradition should be deployed as a form of peine forte et dure until the fancy passes. The alternative is for the herald or artist concerned to shrug his/her shoulders and contribute to the decline of heraldry into a mere art-form. "Oh dear, all that gules doesn't go with the new wallpaper. I'm going with azure this year!" That may sound far-fetched, but heraldically it is no different to changing bendy of eight gules and argent to bendy sinister of six argent and gules because it "harmonizes better".
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Re: Archbishop Fisher of Sydney

Postby GSelvester » 13 Jul 2016, 21:50

Chris Green wrote:
Selvester wrote:Archbishops are their own bosses. They do as they like.


The Vatican's inexplicable abdication of all heraldic authority was the signal for the anarchy that now prevails.


The Holy See never claimed any heraldic authority. Those who suggest that they once did and later relinquished it are, sadly, misinformed.

Chris Green wrote:The problem with heralds and heraldic artists bowing to the concept that one RC Archbishop can do as he likes heraldically, is that others will use it as a precedent. "If Archbishop Coleridge could change his personal arms, so can I!"


Actually, I think you've misunderstood me. I'm not complementing bishops when I say this but they aren't interested one bit if there is precedent. They do what they like, precedent or not which is why they don't heed the advice of learned people when told, "You may not do that". In addition, the problem is compounded by the flood of self-proclaimed heraldic experts that have arisen after the advent of the internet. Being "expert" in heraldry or even a simply well-educated heraldic enthusiast used to be something people attained with scholarship. These days anyone who joins any number of online entities having to do with heraldry claims to be a heraldic expert and starts offering themselves to design coats of arms. In addition, the rise of the herald/heraldic artist (rather like the singer/songwriter) has made for many a person with artistic talent but not a great deal of knowledge in the science of heraldry butting in where they don't belong. This, in turn, has increased the instances where a bishop wants his own way and gets it because he's not dealing with a heraldic expert but with a person who can draw/paint well who thinks they know a lot about heraldry. The problem is twofold: bishops abusing power and people within the "heraldic community" who don't know what they're doing!

Selvester wrote:in places where there is no clear and undisputed heraldic authority there is no one to stop them.


Chris Green wrote:There may be no formal heraldic authority to stop them, but the whole weight of 800+ years of heraldic and genealogical tradition should be deployed as a form of peine forte et dure until the fancy passes. The alternative is for the herald or artist concerned to shrug his/her shoulders and contribute to the decline of heraldry into a mere art-form.


See my comment, above, about the rise of the combination heraldist/artist. I'm not overstating it when I say: I blame them!

Chris Green wrote:"Oh dear, all that gules doesn't go with the new wallpaper. I'm going with azure this year!" That may sound far-fetched, but heraldically it is no different to changing bendy of eight gules and argent to bendy sinister of six argent and gules because it "harmonizes better".


Well, all I can say is (as you have also acknowledged) at least the archbishop's decision had to do with heraldry. He requested changes that made for greater heraldic harmony, in his opinion, rather than some external concern, like wallpaper.


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