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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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COAT OF ARMS

The emblem of a person, place, or institution that is traditional in the Catholic Church. Cardinals, bishops, and other prelates display these emblems on their thrones and elsewhere. It is generally forbidden for the coat of arms of an ecclesiastic to be of a secular character. National Catholic directories commonly picture the coat of arms of each ordinary of a diocese. With no exceptions, episcopal coats of arms bear some short Latin, Greek, or vernacular inscription. The emblem of Vatican City is a tiara alone above two crossed keys, gold on red.

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