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Catholic Dictionary




A device or badge associated symbolically with a person or thing suggesting some ideal or spiritual sentiment. thus a cross is an emblem of sacrifice, an anchor of hope, a palm of victory or martyrdom. Emblems were used in the early days to express the mysteries of the Catholic faith, to give inspiration and protect spiritual doctrines from the ridicule of unbelievers. Badges distinctive of a society and banners in Church may also be classified as emblems. They should always be clearly symbolic of a religious truth and consistent with Catholic faith and practice. Emblems also give expression to certain virtues practiced by individual saints, e.g., the eagle is an emblem of the sublimity of St. John the Evangelist.