emblem

Greek: emblema, an insertion, mosaic

Any object or device suggestive of something ideal or spiritual, e.g., the cross of faith or of sacrifice, the anchor of hope, the lily of purity, the palm of victory. The use of emblems is characteristic of the Catholic religion, partly in the early days to express the mysteries of faith and the ideals of the Church so as not to submit them to the ridicule or suspicion of pagans, but chiefly to give expression to the poetic inspiration of Christian faith. In Christian art various emblems are used expressive of the characteristic virtues or actions of saints, e.g., the eagle for Saint John the Baptist because of the sublime flight of his inspiration. The dove is used as an emblem of the Holy Spirit; a lamb, for Our Lord. Badges, banners, or signs distinctive of a society or rank, exhibited at burials, are also called emblems. If these emblems portray any mark of hostility to the faith or discipline of the Catholic Church, they should be removed from the church or at the grave, before the exequies allowed by the Church may be performed.

Articles referring to specific emblems and symbols include