Monday, May 18, 2015

In hoc signo perturbes

This post offers only a series of images, and I invite you, gentle reader, to peruse them at your leisure (the images can be viewed in a larger format by clicking on them). I'm not drawing any conclusions from this, and it's not meant to tempt you to wild speculation, either. It's just a starting point for a potentially interesting conversation, either here or elsewhere. Those who feel inspired to research the images further are welcome to add their own insights in the comments section.

Pope Francis

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga

Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández

Cardinal Chibly Langois

Archbishop Ludwig Schick

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne

Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger

Bishop Myron J. Cotta
Bishop Jaime Soto

Bishop Pierre Nguyên Van Kham

Bishop Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan

Bishop Gabino Zavala (Ret.)*

Bishop David O'Connell

Bishop Luc Van Looy

Bishop Kevin Doran

Bishop Justin Mulenga

Bishop John Conway McNabb

Bishop Moses Hamungole

Bishops Robert Barron, Michael G. O’Connell and Joseph V. Brennan

Bishop Robert Barron
(just making sure)

Newly Recognized Chinese Bishops at Youth Synod 2018

*Note: Bishop Zavala resigned in 2012 after it was discovered that he had two children. The picture is from before his resignation, and is the earliest confirmed sighting thus far. Interesting, no?


  1. Looks like something that is standard issue to the "club members".

  2. I just added two more to the list. You know, finding them is not all that hard, once you know where to look. ;-)

  3. Any information on where they are made or a close up image?

  4. Dear Aloysius,

    The point is simply what's contained in the pictures. In all my years, I've never known a specific pectoral cross to take on this kind of life of its own. I could understand two or maybe three bishops having it. But ten? And that's only counting the ones I was able to find in a few hours of rather superficial searching. That has to be something of a record. But, I admit, it's possible that this kind of "trending" has been going on for some time, and it's just that no one noticed thus far. Are you aware of anything comparable?


  5. Dear Stefan,

    You can find a detailed image here:

    There are various analyses of the imagery to be found floating around the internet. Google "Pope Francis Pectoral Cross" for a sampling, including the history behind how the cross came to be.

    God bless,


  6. Interesting. Very likely it is just a matter of one factory or workshop being very popular with a given supplier of clerical accessories.

  7. Dear Aloysius,

    It's surely more than just a matter of one supplier selling a lot of crosses. I mean, the fact that Pope Francis made the cross known - it's been referred to as his "signature" - certainly has something to do with its popularity, and the rather transparent symbolism of the cross itself is also very likely playing a role. That is to say, these bishops are very consciously choosing to make a show of allegiance to Pope Francis and the program of Pastorality. This is not entirely surprising, as all of them - with the possible exception of +Zavala - have been promoted by Pope Francis in one way or another. The objects which are typically unique to a bishop are his coat of arms, his ring, his crosier, and his pectoral cross. Choosing one of those to be an exact replica of that of the Pope is rather symbolic, don't you think?

    Also worth noting - I haven't added a picture yet - is the fact that Cardinal Joseph Zen has the same pectoral cross, but in gold - the only one I've seen so far. That, too, is symbolic, I'd say.


  8. MOre here:

    Looks like a fashion accessory. The "Francis cross"

  9. Did you notice ALL THREE new auxiliary bishops for Los Angeles were swearing this pectoral cross when Archbishop Gomez introduced them recently? Very weird. It's as if the Church has become a Dear Leader Cult.

  10. Indeed, I did, Brother Ass. In fact, I've noticed it appearing so conspicuously since the original writing of this post that I gave up trying to document all the cases. I've never seen anything like it. Yes, the so-called "Bent Cross" of John Paul II became popular among Catholics of that papacy, and can still be found on countless rosaries. But this takes things to a whole new level of weird.


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