Monday, October 15, 2012

Andy Warhol... Catholic studies.

Marc Barnes posts on Andy Warhol.

Nice to know.

Andy wasn't a model Catholic, but he was a faithful Catholic - in a way.  A new book discusses how that can be.

Fact is, he was gay and Catholic, before the hairsplitting on what all of that means began to be taken seriously, and subsequently sanitized and legitimized and normalized.  Pier Vittorio Tondelli was a gay Catholic too - faithful by the time he died - before, not so much.  People, gay people who are Catholic, are still Catholic - those whose conscience has been formed correctly do not try to say a sin is not a sin.  Homosexual orientation is not a sin of course - but the behavior is.  Some people who are active homosexuals are like that - hence they stay away from the sacraments.  In doing so they do not say the behavior is not sinful - they know it is - and they know that they cannot act out and be a faithful Catholic.  And in a very strange way - they are faithful in that.  Tondelli was like that, and so was Warhol.  For all of the issues within the manufactured reality and public persona of Warhol, he remained Catholic - and celibate.  Chaste?  That's what he said.

How some gay Catholics manage to live, how some gay Catholics find reconciliation, and what lifestyle they are accused of promoting by their mere existence, may not make them models of virtue, or good examples, or saints even - but one has to acknowledge their fidelity. 

Remember Mark Shea's friend?  Perry Lorenzo?  Now Mr. Lorenzo definitely lived as a very faithful Catholic, yet most would reject the notion that he was a model to be imitated - pretty much based solely on how he identified himself.  Yet SSA people who may struggle to live chaste lives in fidelity to Catholic teaching, can be helped and encouraged by such examples - simply by knowing there have been men, not unlike themselves, who have struggled and found salvation in the Church - even when church-people did not want them there.

Everyone works out his salvation as best he can - which is why the Church provides the sacraments, especially that of penance and Eucharist, and at the end, the sacrament of anointing, once referred to as Last Rites. 

Can a Catholic privately consider the virtue of another person to be heroic?  Yes indeed.  Does the Church always recognize such heroic virtue for public cult.  No.

Photo from an old post I did on The Factory and Warhol.

UPDATE:  I go online too late in the morning I guess - better late than never however.  I discovered  Dawn Eden has a great post up in response to Marc's post on Warhol.  I wish I was as articulate as Dawn, and I wish I had said what she said in her post.  Read it:  Defining deviancy down - Andy Warhol refashioned...

NB: What is notable about Warhol is that he did not try to promote homosexuality as something good or equal to heterosexual love and marriage.  He did not try to promote sinful behavior as virtuous.  In that respect he can be called a 'proud sinner' - although sitting at the back of the church during Mass pretty much cancels out the pride aspect.



  1. Good stuff, Terry.

  2. A very beloved family member of mine who is SSA was the first to tell me of Warhol's Catholic devotion. (He didn't know I knew he was SSA at the time.) I was obvious that Warhol's faith was a source of hope for him.

  3. I always saw Warhol as an egnima of sorts. Thanks for your insight into this part of the vale of tears.

  4. Terry, I do enjoy your posts, especially when tinged with much-needed humour; but, why so much focus on homosexuality and attendant issues?

    1. Thanks Chris. Homosexuality is big news in Minnesota these days - there is a vote coming up regarding marriage.


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