A bishop’s motto

During the morning the topic of episcopal mottos came up.

Some of the suggestions my priest friends came up with have been a little facetious… if you can imagine that.

How about your suggestions?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. DavidJ says:

    Veni. Vidi. Vici in nomine patri et fili spiritus sancti.

    (I am not a Latin scholar, so pardon any inaccuracies).

  2. haleype says:

    “I have passed on that which I have received.” Or, does the fact that this was Archbishop Lefebvre’s motto discredit it from any consideration? By the way, does the remitting of the excommunications incurred by the SSPX bishops apply as well to Archbishop Lefebvre and Bishop De Castro Mayer or does Divine Justice take over when the deceased meet the Ultimate Judge?

  3. Jack Hughes says:

    Semper Fidelis (Always Faithfull)springs to mind in these dark times, Ecclesia Militans (Church Millitant)would be an excellent moto for Either Archbishop’s Burke/Dolan. Also does anyone know the Episcopal Moto of Bshp’s Williamson and Felley? the most I know about Williamson’s is that its thre words from 1st Corrinthians.

  4. Bthompson says:

    I was just in my diocese’s cathedral yesterday, and we have all the old bishops’ coats of arms in the vestibule (the current one is above the cathedra). I liked one of them especially: Omnia Omnibus. A difficult task, especially these days.

  5. ljc says:

    How about “Instaurare Omnia In Christo” in memory of St. Pius X?

    Or, a little less likely, “Illegitimi non carborundum.” OK I’m joking about that one…

  6. FrCharles says:

    Ut Melius Catholice Observemus

    (From the Testament of St. Francis)

  7. oledocfarmer says:

    Ad Iesum per Mariam cum Petro

  8. Short, folks! Keep ’em short!

  9. Tim Ferguson says:

    Sedete et Tacete

    Fodere non Valeo, Mendicare Erubesco

  10. ThomasL says:

    This was my favorite from Bishop Dougherty of Philadelphia:
    Ipsam sequens non devias
    (If you follow her, you will not stray)

  11. Prof. Basto says:


    Perhaps Father has been advised that he is to be appointed a Bishop?

    Anyway, here are some suggestions:

    – Christo nihil praeponere (I motto that is taken by especially by Benedictine abbots and bishops, as it is a quote from the Rule of St. Benedict);

    – Instaurare omnia in Christo, the motto of St. Pius X.

    – Ipsa conteret;

    – Mihi vivere Christus est;

    – Impendam et superimpendar;

    – Tradidi quod et accepi;

    – Oboedientia et pax, the episcopal motto of bl. John XIII

    – Credidimus Caritati (beware that this was Archbishop Lefebrvre’s motto; it is a good motto, but perhaps picking a motto that was used by a high profile excommunicated prelate could create problems. Still, I would consider the bishop-elect a corageous man if he were to pick the this motto);

    – Sine timore serviamus illi;

    – Christus imperat;

    – Ecce filius tuus;

    – Initium sapientiae timor Domini;

    – Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus;

    – Viderunt oculi mei salutare Tuum;

    – Visitavit nos Oriens ex alto;

  12. Matthew in Vancouver says:

    I quite like our Archbishop’s: Veritati Servire

  13. Greg Smisek says:

    Sine spina
    (in honor of Our Lady, of course)

  14. FrCharles says:

    Too long or not, blocutus sum quod blocutus sum.

    From bloquor, bloqui, blocutus sum, “to blog,” with apologies to Pontius Pilate.

  15. lacrossecath says:

    Well do you want good ones or bad ones? Short like twitter names?


    Pardon the Latin ignorance.

    How about SAY the BLACK, DO the RED!

  16. Jack Hughes says:

    Bishop Z, nice ring to it.

  17. Cortney says:

    Agere sequitur credere (Action follows belief)

  18. tiggermom says:

    lex orandi lex credendi, always a favorite for me…

  19. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    Ut salvum sint

  20. ridiculusmus says:

    resonare Christum
    Cardinal Wright’s motto

  21. dimsum says:

    “Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini”

    (which happens to be the motto of the high school I attended)

  22. dimsum says:

    I meant: “Timor Domini Initium Sapientae”

  23. Hamburglar says:

    “Crux sacra sit mihi lux” (May the holy cross be my light) or simply “Crux mihi lux”

  24. JoeGarcia says:

    In a STRICTLY tongue-in-cheek vein:

    “Fac Imaginem Diutius Durabit”
    “Sed Vere Spectatores Pulchri Fuistis”
    “Ad Aeroportum Propera”
    “Nil Sine Nivibus”
    “Quanta Mora Volatui Fiet”
    “Gero Rem Magisterialem”
    “Quando Prandimus”


  25. Mickey says:

    “Quodcumque Dixerit Vobis Facite”

    Do whatever He tells you. John 2:5

  26. Mary Ann says:

    Thank you to those providing translations!

  27. cor ad cor loquitur says:

    Fortis Ut Mors Dilectio (Love is as Strong as Death) — Abp Vincent Nichols’ motto

  28. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Tongue in cheek, for a bishop who advocates the “open to a page, point, and read” approach to Holy Scripture: “Se suspendit (Mt 27:5) – fac similiter (Lk 10:37)

  29. SidMJr says:

    “Semper Idem”

    “Zelus domus tuæ comedit me”

  30. Ernesto Gonzalez says:

    Durum est contra stimulum calcitrare (It is hard to kick against the goad).

  31. zgietl says:

    I remember a priest telling the story of the pastor of the parish being appointed Bishop. He asked his then associate pastor this question, and he replied “And Jesus Wept”.

  32. Dan says:

    Et Lacrimatus est Iesus.

  33. frere wilfrid says:

    Vatican Who?

  34. Hidden One says:

    sine Te nihil – literally. Without You, nothing!
    Mors ante Peccatum – Death before sin.
    Caritas in Veritate – Hey, Cardinal Van Thuan’s was “Gaudium et Spes”.
    Perpetim in Manus Dei – Forever in the hands of God.
    Diligere sicut Dilexit – To love as He has loved.
    Adversus Haereses – Against heresies
    Tabula Delenda Est – The Tablet must be destroyed.
    Salva Liturgiam Salva Munda – Save the Liturgy, Save the World!
    Hermeneuticus Continuationis – Hermeneutic of Continuity (ought to be reserved for Bp. Finigan, if we ever get so blessed.)
    Cum Petro Contra Mundo – With Peter, Against the World

    I’m sure I’ll have more later, but a lawn needs mowing now.

  35. Phil_NL says:

    Nec laudibus, nec timore – Neither praise nor fear (as in that those will drive your decisions). Obviously not something I came up with: not only is it a phrase from the liturgy for consacration of bishops, but it was the motto of Blessed Clemens August Cardinal von Galen, Bishop of Munster during the war and thorn in the flesh of the nazis. Rarely have I heard of a bishop with a motto so befitting his life.

  36. Paul from Cork says:

    Quantum Potes Tantum Aude
    “As much as you can do, so much dare to do”

    From the sequence “Lauda Sion” by St Thomas Aquinas…

  37. TNCath says:

    Vive Jesu in cordibus nostris! (Live, Jesus, in our hearts!)

  38. Amice ad quod venisti? — Mt 26:50

    (Would serve as a good reminder, anyway…)

  39. Athanasius says:

    Perhaps if he is going to serve on the USCCB environmental committee this would be useful:

    Ut carbonem vestigium meum amplificetur.

  40. Jane says:

    I feed the sheep, not entertain the goats!

  41. mitch_wa says:

    a formor bishop in these parts had “Fidem Scit” as his motto and according to my latin teacher when he was in seminary this bishop’s photo and motto hung in the refectory much to the seminarians enjoyment. Think of ecclecial pronunciation on this one.

  42. frobuaidhe says:

    O quam terribilis est iste locus – for the next Archbishop of Glasgow when this one has finished with the cathedral.

    Seriously: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me

  43. Marcaccio Vincent says:

    “Ut non emittam flatus trans Missam Pontificam”

    (That I may not pass wind during a Pontifical Mass)

  44. ruben says:

    “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.”

  45. Prof. Basto says:

    Another idea:

    “Iota unum non praeteribit” (adapted from Matthew 5:18).

  46. Dismas says:

    “qui habet aurem audiat…”

    Archbishop Burke’s is: Secundum Cor Tuum
    Archbishop Dolan’s is: Ad Quem Ibimus (“Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?”)

  47. insisto Veritas, docui veritas

  48. tomseeker says:

    Fortes fortuna Juvat – Fortune favors the brave

  49. A. J. D. S. says:

    Succisa virescit: Pruned, it grows back stronger (a Benedictine motto, I believe)

  50. THREEHEARTS says:

    Instead of a motto how about changing for many Bishops, the great anthem as they enter the Church from “Ecce Sacerdos” to “How Great I am”

  51. dcs says:

    Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

  52. trespinos says:

    Lacordaire’s “All that I know of tomorrow is that His Providence will rise before the sun” could possibly be Latinized and excerpted for a motto. It’s beautiful in English; no doubt in the original French as well.

  53. Dan says:

    “Noli Me Tangere” is another one we have also jokingly tossed around.

  54. papaefidelis says:

    “Ego episcopus in his partibus” (“I’m the bishop in these parts.”)

  55. aeneas says:

    “Fidem Scit” (He knows the faith.)

  56. Ed the Roman says:

    A Maryknoll friend told me a story of the priest who ran the novice’s refectory (in the 1950s), with poor culinary results. At year’s end they made a cut-out bishop’s hat for him and presented it with a flowery speech on his depth of theological knowledge, and an appropriate motto for such a man: “he knows the faith.”

    Of course, the motto *was* inscribed in Latin, so he didn’t take it quite as well after he thought about it.

  57. Phil_NL says:

    Now one for the funny category:
    Requiro vestes nigrae – I need black vestments! to be used by any bishop taking posession of a see that’s yearning for the ‘biological solution’. (I just hope my latin grammar isn’t too rusty)

  58. Manrique Zabala de Arizona says:

    Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis

    Maybe too much of a Cister-benedictine, huh?

  59. cdnsem says:

    I personally like Lacrossecath’s last suggestion, with perhaps a small addition. In Latin, it could be translated as:


    (“Saying the black, doing the red…saving the world”)

  60. irishgirl says:

    All these suggestions are great-even the funny ones! Sorry if I can’t make up one-my Latin is still rather rusty!

    I’d like to see Bishop Z! But I don’t think you’d want it, right, Father?


  61. edwardo3 says:

    Right Rev. Jacques M. Maurice Landes d’Aussac de Saint-Palais Bishop of Vincennes from 1849 until 1877 had Post Tenebras Lucem (After the darkness I shall see light) as his motto.

  62. universus Verum (et nusquam tamen verum)

  63. Fenton says:

    “Diriget Deus”

    God Directs…old family motto from my Scottish roots

  64. JoeGarcia says:

    To help MaryAnn (and others) here are the translations to my wiseacre suggestions:

    “Fac Imaginem Diutius Durabit” (Take a picture, it lasts longer)
    “Sed Vere Spectatores Pulchri Fuistis” (You have been a beautiful audience)
    “Ad Aeroportum Propera” (To the airport, quickly!)
    “Nil Sine Nivibus” (Nothing without snow)
    “Quanta Mora Volatui Fiet” (How long will this flight be delayed?)
    “Gero Rem Magisterialem” (I’m on Magisterial business!)
    “Quando Prandimus” (When do we eat?)


  65. Thomas S says:

    I love Cardinal Sean’s motto: QUODCUMQUE DIXERIT FACITE (Do whatever He tells you.)

    I also like the motto of Cardinal Ottaviani: SEMPER IDEM (Always the same.)

  66. bookworm says:

    Don’t know the Latin on this one… but I kinda like the current motto of Bp. Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Ill. — “His Will Is Our Peace,” a quote from Dante’s “Paradiso.”

  67. Jeff Pinyan says:

    bookworm: Voluntas sua pax nostra [est]

  68. Dr. Eric says:

    Illum oportet crescere me autem minui.

  69. cnaphan says:

    Vana salus hominis (Vain is the salvation of man) from the 107th Psalm “Paratum cor meum” has always struck me as a solid motto.

  70. PatrickJude says:

    Don’t know if anyone has said it, but I always find this motto most fitting for a Bishop

    Qui Servire Regnare Est ~ Roughly translated to as “To Serve is to Rule” or in saying.. as a Bishop, I am your shepherd who is here to serve you…

Comments are closed.