Saturday, May 27, 2006

Papa Benedetto

Pope Benedict XVI in Poland. In every photo he looks absolutely delighted and very much at ease with being the Pope.

The Holy Father is enjoying a tremendous welcome in Poland, the German Pope speaking to the Poles in their native language - does that not seem to assuage, somewhat, the crimes of Nazi Germany on a spiritual level perhaps?

Speaking to the crowds he expressed his hope of beatifying his "beloved Predecessor" and called upon the faithful to pray for this to happen soon. Many hoped and half expected that he would beatify John Paul II on this trip to Poland, but it doesn't look as if that happened.

Viva il Papa!

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Monsignor

"Monsignor" - Fernando Botero

As one might expect,Botero is one of my favorite contemporary painters. Others are George Tooker (deceased) Jared French (deceased) and Frida Kahlo (deceased) -to name a few.

Botero's clerical paintings certainly resonate with me. Their voluminous presence does not imply a shred of mockery, nor is it meant to. Their baroque oppulence says much more about status, position, worldly honor, even pomposity, etc. Nevertheless, in our anorexic culture the images remind me of the more common temptations vexing the celibate. If one successfully avoids sins of impurity, the next greatest temptation is usually gluttony, or seeking in food consolations the denial of intimacy imposes. This means of course that the celibate has not developed an adequate interior life that ought to be the reward of the vow of chastity, as well as the defense against loneliness. An unhappy celibate often uses food to fill a void, or deal with an unresolved conflict. Sometimes the celibate does use sex, sometimes possesions or travel, sometimes alcohol or drugs, and sometimes in severe cases, it's all of these things. Aside from all of this, I just like Botero's work.

From the Dialogue

Pictured, St. Catherine of Siena, beseiged by devils, but she herself is not one. (Refer to my post yesterday.)

Still troubled by events in the Archdiocese and deceptive clergy, I returned in prayer to the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena. She wrote about the troubles and scandals of her own day, not in order to spread scandal but to reassure the faithful that Our Lord was aware of what was going on and was going to remedy it. She spoke that her words might bring to repentence those who offend God and give scandal to the faithful. That we might listen to her discourse again, I will quote from the Dialogue concerning homosexual priests.

"I am telling you this to make you see what great purity I demand of you and them, and especially of them (priests), in this sacrament. But they do just the opposite to me, for they come to this mystery wholly impure - and not simply with the sort of impurity and weakness to which all of you are naturally inclined because of your weak nature (although reason can calm its rebellion if free choice so wills). No, these wretches not only do not restrain their weakness; they make it worse by committing that cursed unnatural sin. As if they were blind and stupid, with the light of their understanding extinguished, they do not recognize what miserable filth they are wallowing in. The stench even reaches up to me, supreme Purity, and is so hateful to me that for this sin alone five cities were struck down by my divine judgment. For my divine justice could no longer tolerate it, so despicable to me is this abominable sin. The stench displeases not only me, as I have said, but the devils as well, those very devils these wretches have made their masters. It is not its sinfulness that displeases them, for they like nothing that is good. But because their nature is angelic, that nature still loathes the sight of that horrendous sin actually being committed. It is true that it was they (the devils) who shot the poisoned arrows of concupiscence, but when it comes to the sinful act itself they flee..."

Perhaps I will do best in the future to simply let the saints speak for me, although someone will still attempt to refute them as well. Our Lord is aware of what is going on, yet why does He delay the correction? St. Catherine pray for us for patience - but not too much patience! With your prayers help us in our repentance to be faithful to the Holy Father and the dogma of faith. Amen.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Painting of a Bishop

"Bishop in the Woods" Fernando Botero

I like this image as well. It speaks to me. Representational art is more effective in expressing ideas - for me at least - than words. Sometimes when I express myself in words it sounds too harsh or mean-spirited. When I paint something, and maybe when Botero and other artists do so, even if its "in your face" one may always excuse what may seem confrontational. If a painting is naive, as many Latin American works can be, and the style I like, one might overlook many things, dismissing it in precisely that way, calling it naive. Thus the painter may speak his mind with impunity.