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Catholic Dictionary




Pontifical decoration begun by Pope Gregory XVI in 1852 and conferred in recognition of distinguished service in military or civil affairs. The military medal has on one side the image of Gregory XVI and on the other an angel bearing a scroll with the word benemerenti (to a well-deserving person) under the papal emblems. The civil medal has benemerenti surrounded by a crown of oak leaves engraved on its face side. They are worn on the breast, suspended by ribbons of the papal colors.