On December 15, 2017 the Most Rev. Joseph M. Siegel (54), Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet, Illinois will be installed as the sixth Bishop of Evansville, Indiana. His coat of arms is:
Bishop Siegel of Evansville has correctly impaled his own personal arms, assumed when he was first made a bishop, with those of the See of Evansville. His is a pretty standard type of arms assumed by many American bishops. There’s nothing particularly bad about the design, except for that tendency, in which he is hardly alone among American bishops, to use what is often jokingly referred to as the “lucky charms” style of heraldry. That is, it includes too many charges attempting to represent too many things. Time and again I remind bishops that their coat of arms is not their CV in pictures. Time and again they adopt designs that attempt to do just that. Bishop Siegel’s coat of arms isn’t bad; it just isn’t very good either. There is a lack of coherency to the design.
Bravo to him, however, that in being translated from Auxiliary of one diocese to Ordinary of another the only change is to impale his personal arms with those of the See. He made no changes to his personal arms and did not see his translation to a new See as an opportunity to change his personal arms. This is, as readers of this blog will know by now, a pet peeve of mine and a problem which is occurring with increasing frequency. Too many bishops, advised by self-proclaimed “experts”, are tweaking, slightly changing or even entirely redesigning their coats of arms when they move from one diocese to another. This is why it is important to settle on a good design at the time arms are assumed. You CANNOT change them later on a whim! Your coat of arms identifies you. Moving to a new assignment doesn’t change your identity.
I also find it unfortunate that the arms of the See of Evansville continues to be depicted with a chief that is too narrow. The standard in heraldry is that a chief should occupy the upper one third of the field.