Arms of the RC Archdiocese of Singapore

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Leonardo Almeida
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Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Re: Arms of the RC Archdiocese of Singapore

Postby Leonardo Almeida » 07 Sep 2015, 23:46

Does the College of Arms currently grant arms for Roman Catholic clergy? I have the impression that Catholic arms in that jurisdiction are always assumed for centuries, with the notable exception of the arms of the Archdiocese of Westminster, granted by the Sacred Congregation for Propagation of Faith in 1894, a probably unique event. One can read that decree here; is it me or current arms don't follow the blazon?

The Court of Lord Lyon, however, grants arms for Roman Catholic clergy. Armorial Bruno B. Heim's introduction tells that Heim has once the grant of his propasal for Mario Conti, then-bishop of Aberdeen, denied, because of Scottish heraldic precedent against checky fields.

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Re: Arms of the RC Archdiocese of Singapore

Postby JMcMillan » 08 Sep 2015, 14:08

The English kings of arms grant personal arms to Catholic clergy. In the past, they have not granted corporate arms to Catholic dioceses because of a somewhat involved legal issue arising from the acts on Catholic emancipation in the late 18th-early 19th centuries. My understanding is that there were two issues. One is that Catholic dioceses, unlike Anglican dioceses, do not have the status of corporations under English law. By the college's logic, the Archdiocese of Westminster has no corporate existence and therefore cannot lawfully be the recipient of a grant of arms. The second, and I believe now obsolete, objection was that the law prohibited Catholics from naming dioceses and other ecclesiastical jurisdictions after English place names, and thus for the college to grant arms to, for example, the Archdiocese of Westminster, would be condoning illegality. This latter law, however, has been repealed in the last several decades.

On the other hand, the restriction on the legal status of Catholic dioceses also applies in Scotland (although not the restriction on the naming of them), yet Lord Lyon does grant arms to them on the same basis as to other religious bodies. Perhaps Lyon does not require legal corporate status for a collective organization to receive a grant, as his English counterparts do. The grants of armorial devices to temporary organizations such as international congresses of genealogy and heraldry would suggest that he doesn't.
Joseph McMillan
Alexandra, Virginia, USA

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