I'm writing about the English Reformation-era split allegiance to the king and pope, and I want to write a sentence comparing allegiance to "The Crown" to the equivalent metonym for the papacy. I thought of "mitre" for the Catholic headdress but I don't believe the mitre is exclusive to the Catholic church.

The sentence so far:

In her book Shakespeare and the Grammar of Forgiveness, Sarah Beckwith broadly contextualizes Shakespeare as initially occuring at the moment of a profound splitting of the self, painting the picture of a society under pressure to speak allegiance to the crown while thinking, or feeling, an interior allegiance to the pope's mitre.

I want to replace "pope's mitre."

  • I don't see why mitre doesn't fit. By saying the Pope's mitre you cannot be misunderstood. - What’s the name for Pope Francis’ hat? Papal vestments, explained - billypenn.com/2015/09/22/… – user66974 May 4 '17 at 19:17
  • @Josh Thank you! I'll go with it if there's no replacement, but I would preferrably be able to drop "pope's" as well, because I'd like something like "The Crown" that iconically and instantly evokes the whole power structure. – jaxuru May 4 '17 at 19:19
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    There are different symbols of the power of the Pope - en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_regalia_and_insignia - in your piece I'd simply go with the term "papacy". – user66974 May 4 '17 at 19:27
  • The papal symbols are the Fisherman's Ring and the Triple Tiara. The latter features with the Crossed Keys on the square Vatican flag. Of these, the Fisherman's Ring might be the best known and easiest to contrast with The Crown. – Ronald Sole May 4 '17 at 19:32
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    @Josh All bishops in the Western Church wear mitres; the Pope wears a mitre because he is Bishop of Rome. This also goes for the ecclesiastical ring and the crosier. – choster May 4 '17 at 19:38

I don't think there is a symbol equivalent to "the Crown" to refer to the power of the Catholic Church. The more commonly used expression is:

The Vatican:

  • the authority and government of the pope.

..... to speak allegiance to the crown while thinking, or feeling, an interior allegiance "to the Vatican."

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    Thank you, "the Vatican" best aligns with the way that "the Crown" evokes the whole tradition and power structure of English kingship. – jaxuru May 4 '17 at 19:54

Just as the Crown is a symbol of the State and its authority, the papal ring symbolizes the church and its authority. The first use of the ring appears to be with Pope Clement IV in 1265.

The Vatican provides this description of the meaning of the ring:

It was customary since the early days of the catholic Church that the faithful would kneel and kiss the ring of the Church's representatives. This courtesy to the Pope reflects the beliefs that the Pope who is the successor of Peter who was tasked by Jesus to establish his Church on earth

The priests are the vessels through which Jesus Christ manifests himself to lead His Church. By kneeling before these chosen Representatives and kissing their rings, (the symbol of authority), the believer acknowledges that they were appointed by Jesus Himself and shows his adoration of Christ. This is a symbolic gesture of respect to an authority figure and it is no different really than when the British stand up when the Queen of England enters a room.

On the other hand, the parallelism of headgear and its symbol of authority may be diminished by the fact that the papal "crown" has changed over time. It was once referred to as a tiara and the the triregnum, but now, with the Pope's wishes, it is a simple mitre. This evolution to the mitre came about as recently incoming popes determined that the coronation was not how their papacies should begin.

This abandonment of the tiara has come with some controversy, as many traditionalist Catholics still consider the tiara "to be one of the most striking symbols of the papacy." (Wikipedia)

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    All bishops wear a ring symbolizing their responsibility and authority, not just the Pope. – choster May 4 '17 at 20:25
  • But not all bishops wear the pontifical or papal ring. Traditionally, the ordinary bishop's ring would have his coat of arms and symbolizes the office of the bishop. The papal ring contains a gemstone, typically amethyst and symbolizes the papal office and the church. – Canis Lupus May 4 '17 at 23:46

A common way to refer to the Pope in a similar way as the crown is by referring to his seat (or throne, if you like):

Holy See

Although the accepted Vatican is certainly clear, it is more of an equivalent of saying Paris when you mean (the government of) France.

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