St. Corbinian and the Bear

I often find myself waiting for Stephen to address the fact that Pope Benedict has a bear on his coat of arms. So I went to the Google to get more info on the coat of arms. The saddled bear is the symbol for St. Corbinian, an 8th-century saint:

A legend states that while traveling to Rome, Saint Corbinian’s pack horse was killed by a bear. He commanded the bear to carry the load. Once he arrived, he released it from his service, and it returned to Bavaria. The implication is that “Christianity tamed and domesticated the ferocity of paganism and thus laid the foundations for a great civilization in the Duchy of Bavaria.”[1] At the same time, Corbinian’s bear, as God’s beast of burden, symbolizes the weight of office that Benedict now carries.

And in fact, according to Wikipedia, Stephen made a very subtle (okay, the original quote called it “facetious”) reference to it back in January:

After engaging in traditional sports trash-talk about football teams he disfavored, the character then broke into “treasure-talk” delivered in the same exaggerated and confrontational style, but meant to encourage the teams or players he prefers. Speaking of an upcoming New Orleans Saints game, Colbert’s character said, “Hey, Saints! You “saint” gonna lose! Drew Brees is gonna tame the Chicago Bears like St. Corbinian tamed an actual bear in the eighth century!”

Ah, the subtle obscurity of the reference! But of course DB at NoFactZone caught it.

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1 Comment

  1. Diane-

    I did not know about the bear on the coat of arms! It is *obvious* that you are the person to do this blog…


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