Tuesday, February 21
So, we're familiar with the standard version of the Pope's arms, with the curious three-banded mitre and the pallium, but Wikipedia notes, "However, there have been papal documents since his inauguration that have been appearing with the papal tiara present." I'd not seen much photo evidence of this, outside of a few unofficial representations, but it appears that the papal tiara appears above Benedict's arms in the bit of gardening back behind the Vatican where the hedges and flowerbeds are cut to resemble the papal arms. I say, use 'em both and enjoy the variety. I just wish they'd switch to a variation with a better drawing of the pallium and the mitre.
This image appeared in the October number of the Italian Salesian Bulletin, if you're interested. And we've talked about this already, but here's a close-up of the Swiss Guard flag where the papal arms appear with their traditional accountrements:
One could argue that Benedict or his gardeners didn't want to unnecessarily rip up the flower beds, or that departing from the existing Swiss Guard flag pattern would be too much work, but Benedict's triple-banded mitre appeared in the border of complex, Renaissance-style tapestries displayed at recent beatifications, arguably more work to re-design and weave than a single planting bed or a new military banner that was going to be replaced anyway.
These last two images are from the (somewhat contentious) discussion that arose on the American Heraldry Society back after the election (yes, I know, I am a geek), incidentally, which also includes some interesting examples of pontifical colleges whose arms include the tiara, and some other fun POD heraldic stuff.
The American Heraldry Society, incidentally, cooked up an interesting theoretical compromise between the tiara and the mitre, suggesting the Pope should use a variant of the historic camelaucum, the primitive ancestor of both tiara and mitre. The results are intriguing, if a little strange. The main problem I see with this is the camelaucum is even more removed from reality than the (unworn) tiara, having not been used since the early Middle Ages. It's a little too archaeological, in the sense criticized by Pius XII in Mediator Dei. Anyway, the camelaucum never had the little cross on top or the stripes, so it's a wholly artificial headgear, neither historical nor contemporary.
For more information, see Wikipedia's article on the subject.