The J.G. Schütz Family Coat of Arms

There is a discussion on the Hermeneutic of Continuity about coats of arms for priests. He has a picture of one on his blog, and a commentator has pointed out that Fr Z has his own crest.

I am no expert in the area, but I did listen to the papal heraldic expert in an interview with Fr Mitch Pacwa a year or so ago which was perfectly fascinating. Apparently everyone and anyone can have a coat of arms made up for themselves and their family, as long as the local civil law does not forbid it. For eg. the legal right to a coat of arms is restricted in the United Kingdom, but not in the US, or, as far as I know, in Australia.

Which leads me to this interesting fact: My family has a coat of arms. Back in 1985, when we were celebrating 130 years since my great great great grandfather Johann Gottfried Schütz came to this country, the attempt was made to find a Schütz coat of arms. Research in “the old country” (aka Der Vaterland) turned up no less than 26 separate Schütz coats of arms. Not being able to lay claim to any of these exclusively, the family (about 5000 of us at the time, must be twice that since) decided to register their own unique coat of arms. And this is it:

The meaning can be explained as follows:

The blue southern cross on the right hand side is obvious enough: it represents Australia. However, the Southern Cross also stands for our family’s Christian (read “Lutheran”) faith, while the blue stands for peace.

On the other side is an image that occurs in many Schütz crest (naturally enough since “Schütz” means “Archer/Shooter”), the bow an arrow. I can’t remember why the bow and arrow are gold, but the red background represents the difficulty, war and trouble which beset the family in Silesia (actually, in one version, the red is said to stand for the religious persecution the Old Lutherans experienced in Prussia, but by 1855 most of the religious trouble which originally forced the emigration of many of my other Silesian ancestors from the years 1838 and following was over). After decades of European warfare, the continual peace experienced in Australia must have seemed a dream. The three arrows represent 1) the laying down of arms (the arrow pointing down), 2) migration to Australia (the arrow pointing to the right), and 3) hope in God (the arrow pointing up to heaven).

Back to the program with Fr Mitch on EWTN, the Heraldic expert even spoke about deacons having coats of arms. He said that the two aspects that appeared on every diaconal shield was the upper half marked with a diagonal stripe representing the deacons stole, and, in place of the hat above the shield, a ciborium draped in the humeral veil.

Thus, I imagine that if I were ever to achieve the exalted rank of deacon in the Church, a coat of arms could look something like this:

Of course, the interesting thing is that in contradistinction to a priest’s or a bishop’s coat of arms, the deacon’s children would be entitled to inherit his.

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