Friday, July 10, 2015

The Crucifix of Fr. Luis Espinal Camps, S.J.

The Holy Father appears to be disconcerted 
as President Morales presented a replica
of a crucifix originally carved by Fr. Espinal.

“No está bien eso” ¡Caramba! “Eso no lo sabía”

I'm not sure what the Holy Father said, yet both accounts seem fine to me, and I wouldn't be surprised if he said each.  "This is not right" - as well as the, "I did not know that" - emulating Johnny Carson.


So anyway - I was touched, learning that Jesuit Fr. Luis Espinal Camps carved the original image.  My first impression was what St. Paul wrote in Galatians:  "The world is crucified to me, and I to the world."  On that level, the primitive iconography strikes me as deeply meaningful, especially considering how many martyrs there were as a result of atheistic Marxist-Communism.  Thus the corpus on the hammer, above a down turned sickle - but that is my personal interpretation of the image.  I do not know much about Fr. Luis Espinal, but I know the Holy Father stopped to pray at the site of his assassination, and that was very touching.

As a North American of European ancestry, I'm not as familiar as I should be regarding Latin American politics and the plight of native peoples, I know there is a history of much social injustice in these countries, perpetrated by various ideological powers.  The Holy Father is not an ideologue, to be sure.  The purpose of his visit is apostolic, as he stated when he arrived in Bolivia:
“As a guest and a pilgrim, I have come to confirm the faith of those who believe in the Risen Christ, so that, during our pilgrimage on earth, we believers may be witnesses of his love, leaven for a better world and co-operators in the building of a more just and fraternal society.”VR
Yesterday I had a conversation with a priest friend in his 60's.  He mentioned that several of his colleagues are not all that supportive of the Holy Father - especially regarding the encyclical on the the ecology, and I'm gathering, his critique of the international economy.  I suggested that as an Argentine South American, the Holy Father certainly understands a lot more than we do regarding these issues which have at one time or another, more or less destabilized South American economies and politics over the last few decades.  He is well acquainted with the environmental threats to the rain forest, and the seas, as well as the economic disparity between the classes in some areas of Central and South America. Whatever - I'm not at all disturbed by the Holy Father's diplomacy and conduct.

Here's one for Larry and Badger:

"Luis, you got some splainin' to do."
(Not to me though, padre.)

Song for this post here.


  1. I reflected on the controversy the gift generated and what came to mind was the great oblisk that sits in St. Peter's square and what it represents. Was it not built for Nero's circus? Did it stand in the place where many Christians were martyred by the c Romans? I ask because since many online raked our Holy Father over the coals for his "acceptance" of that gift and yet like you said it too represents the oppression many suffered and died for under Communist rule.

    Does it make sense?

  2. Typing from a cellphone is tedious. What I meant to say was that every time I see the oblisk, I remember the many Saints who were martyred for the faith.
    In my opinion that is a good thing.
    If the president of Bolivia had an ulterior motive that's on him. But the Lord in his majesty is the only one who can take something ugly and turn it around for his greater glory.

    Just sharing what came to me as a result of all the brouhaha.

    1. Good point about the oblisk! Similarly - the cross was a symbol of shame and became the sign of our salvation. If Morales had another more sinister purpose - it is on him - but I see God turning these things into good - so Morales cannot defeat Christ - the opposite is true.

      Don't let the naysayers gets to you.


      Seems those two objects never made it to Rome as Papa Francis left them behind in Bolivia at our Lady Mary's feet.

  3. Countless Christians have been martyred by Communists. On one of our walls hangs an elaborate Orthodox icon of martyrs of the Soviet Union, tiny images of people being killed in gruesome ways because they were faithful to God rather than the state. My family and I are exiles from Latin American Communism, Cuba to be specific. I cannot think of two more contradictory symbols than the Cross of Christ and the hammer and sickle. To me the image is as obscene as that of the "Piss Christ," which someone tried to pass off as art.

    1. Thanks Maria - I had not considered it from that point of view. Perhaps that is why the Holy Father appeared perplexed. I haven't read as yet why Fr. Luis would have created a crucifix in that manner - it still suggests to me the communist symbol is defeated by Christ crucified - since the sickle is inverted and the hammer cross reminds me of the tau.

      I appreciate your comparison to the obscenity created by Serrano.

      I hope Fr. Luis never had those intentions.

      At any rate, I believe the Holy Father handled it well, and perhaps President Morales is the one to be criticized instead of him.

      I'm sorry for the tragedy suffered by you and your family, as well as all the martyrs under Marxist-Communism.

    2. Thank you, Terry. The incident was entirely Evo Morales's fault; it was a provocation of the Holy Father, whom I admire greatly.

    3. Thank you. I know people from Cuba and I totally understand. I'm happy you agree the Holy Father was maybe taken advantage of. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things ... 1 Corinthians 13:7

  4. The Holy Father saddens me deeply, and I think he is very ideological. I would say he's a very poor communicator and sows confusion among Catholics and the world at large. For one, I call him a fear mongering, tree-hugging pope.

    1. How sad you must be then. My sympathy.

      I've come to the point where I am more or less unaffected by the critics of Pope Francis - each to his own opinion and difficulties to work out. I disagree with your point of view, but as I indicated, this isn't a problem for me.

      The Holy father inspires confidence and hope in me - I see no fear mongering. What an odd thing to say.


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