On March 15 the Most Rev. Mario Toso, SDB will be installed as the bishop of Faenza-Modigliana, Italy. His very attractive coat of arms makes reference to the motto he has chosen. The motto, “Caritas in Veritate” is taken from the first line of the encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI. The red wavy bars on the shield represent love and the gold background the splendor of the truth. Thus, the arms illustrate the motto, “Love in Truth”.
This is the real official version of the coat of arms of Bishop Mario Toso, by style, I would say that it was made by Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo. It is a beautiful coat of arms.
What I don’t understand is why those in charge of the web site of the diocese instead of using the real version, took the version of Wikipedia and changed the tone of the colours for a very exaggerated. (Sorry for the errors, I used a translator online.)
What I would hope you would learn from reading this blog is that there is no such thing as a “real” version of a coat of arms. There may have been an original version done by Montezemolo but that doesn’t make it more “real” or even more “official” than the one on the website. Sometimes, the original artwork is not used for various reasons. Sometimes another version is desired. The fact that the diocesan website uses a version other than Montezemolo’s suggests that it is, in fact, the version in official use. Either way, as long as the blazon is followed correctly, one artistic rendering does not take precedence over another as the “real” one.
I must say this coat of arms is highly inclined to provoke confusion.
In itself it is a variation of the blazon of the Counts of Barcelona, Kings of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca, Sicily and Sardinia: Or, four pales gules. Because of this, multiple variations have been used in these territories by municipalities which wated to use the royal emblem but couldn’t and changed the pales to pales wavy, fesses, old vairs, lozenges and such to imitate it.
Fortunately, I have been unable to find any exact depiction of these exact arms and, for this reason, I will recognise Most Rev. Mario Toso, SDB as the owner and user of them, as small as may be of the importance of a simple reviewer. (This does not mean they exist somewhere and, in this case, I may vary my judgement)
Nevertheless, the possible confusion with the arms of Tarragona (Vairy ancien en-pointe paleways of four Or and Gules), Centelles (Lozengy of twenty Or and Gules) and especially Sant Feliu de Buixalleu (Vert, a northern goshawk Argent over a fountain pomety of four (?) Or four fesses wavy Gules) still exists.
You may be right in that the coat of arms could cause confusion, but that is a possiblity, though not very probable. There is also the matter of context, in this case geographical or historical context, which you leave out of the equation. Faenza is, to my knowledge, in Northern Italy, to be exact in the former Pontifical States, where the Kings of Aragon had no say (Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia might be another matter). Consequently, the arms of these Kings could not influence the ‘heraldic landscape’ very much. So, in or around Faenza there is no opportunity for confusion. If, however, the bishop were transferred to a see in Catalonia or in the Baleares, he’d be well advised to modify his coat of arms. In Northern Italy there certainly is no need to do that, or at least not for the reasons you mention, since the shield “Or four pales gules” is not readily associated with Aragon, but with Pope Benedict XIV (Pope 1740-1758). To my knowledge, the “Lawyer Pope” (he was an expert on Canon Law) came from a patrician family of Bologna and used, of course, the arms his family bore.
All in all, a beautiful and distinctive coat of arms.