Saturday, March 04, 2017

Saturday Detention: Erotic Art in the Cathedral.

Fresco in Cathedral church of the Diocese of Terni-Narni-Amelia
depicts Jesus lifting nets full of prostitutes, 
homosexuals, and other lascivious characters, into heaven.

Theology of the Body Studies.

The work is incredible - I like it very much - but of course, I paint, and I'm a bit more open to such things.  That said, it's pretty gay, and I expect many will be disturbed by the content.  "Erotic" content, as the artist pointed out: “In this case, there was not – in this sense – a sexual intention, but erotic, yes,” said Cinalli. “I think that the erotic aspect is the most notable among the people inside the nets.”

The Lifesite article pretty much emphasizes the homosexuality of the Argentine artist Ricardo Cinalli commissioned by Bishop Paglia and Fr. Fabio Leonardis to do the mural.  Cinalli explains that he was guided at every step by the two priests, saying: “There was no detail that was done freely, at random. Everything was analyzed. Everything was discussed. They never allowed me to work on my own.”

That would drive me nuts.  The artist deserves time off purgatory for having endured that.

The angels are kind of skinhead looking.

Lifesite also seems to suggest something queer about Paglia and Leonardis.  I can see why, yet the composition is nonetheless very compelling - Christ rescuing sinners - as Today's Gospel of the call of Matthew reminds us, "I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners."  The fresco is on the inner wall of the Cathedral's facade, so in some sense, one is leaving that sinful life behind as one approaches the sacraments.  Christ, the fisher of men, pulls in the nets of salvation - filled with sinners, including the bishop and the priest.  It's a stunning allegory, very much in accord with the concept of mercy, going out to the peripheries, as proclaimed by the Franciscan papacy.

I don't see it as something scandalous, though I can understand while some who believe the Church is being undermined by homosexuals, modernists, and liberals would be.  I think of the scandal the Sistine Chapel caused when it was first completed, because of the nudity and the churchmen depicted in hell, and so on.  I'm not sure that there is anything ideologically subversive in the Terni fresco, albeit disturbing for the 'erotic' content - not explicit of course - more at intent.  In Italian art there is a great deal of nudity, much of it in churches.  It too can be considered erotic.

Knowing a bit about art history might quell the fears of some who appear to be scandalized by the work.  The nudity in the work of Luca Signorelli's Orvieto frescoes comes to mind.  Critics point out that the model for Christ in the Terni fresco was a gay hairdresser.  So what?  Throughout history artists have used models of 'ill repute', therefore I don't understand the problem.  And who knows, maybe the gay hairdresser is a former homo - living a chaste and celibate life now?  The critics are also scandalized that 'Christ's private parts' can be seen through his clothing.  It's not as if we've never seen it before.  Fra Angelico did that too, along with many other painters throughout history.  In art, on one level at least, it demonstrates that Christ was truly man and truly God.

So anyway - I like the work - but it is a bit queer... not that there is anything wrong with that.

The only Catholic thing lacking is any reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

That's Fr. Fabio with the heart on.

H/T Dad29

I would rather lie abject on the threshold of the House of God ...

Than dwell in the tents of the wicked. - Ps. 84

What to do if a bear shows up ...

Friday, March 03, 2017

Henry Louis Gates ... for Lent.

PBS' "Africa's Great Civilizations"

If you get a chance to watch this, I encourage you to do so.  I love this guy - ever since Obama had him over for a beer with the cop who arrested him.  If it wasn't for Gates, I would never have been able to know the depth of my internal racism... I know, sounds like I've been brainwashed, but it's true.  I've always believed I wasn't really racist - but thanks (in part) to Gates and his excellent scholarship - I'm serious - I was able to recognize what I'd call an internalized cultural racism and prejudice towards black people who were more 'hip-hop' culturally.  (Not sure what the PC term would be.)  More importantly, Gates' work has given me a much greater respect and esteem for African peoples and their heritage.

That sounds a bit over the top I suppose, but I'm really grateful to him and media which gave him a voice outside of the academic realm.

My appreciation of African culture has been limited.  For instance, I've always been fascinated by Ethiopian culture and Orthodoxy, my first introduction was through their iconography and monasticism, yet the rest of African culture I was interested in only grabbed my attention from an European perspective, as it related to the missionary efforts of the Catholic Church.  I ignored the exploitation colonialism which exploited African natural resources and people.  Therefore, this PBS series by Gates is very informative.

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
   releasing those bound unjustly...

During the night, I reflected on the sad state of humanity - wondering how we can do this to one another, century after century; how could God tolerate it?  We ask those questions over and over throughout history, saying 'never again'!  Yet we ignore the horrible crimes committed against indigenous peoples of every nation.  We think God will intervene to punish or put an end to the atrocities associated with abortion, but he has allowed humanity to slaughter and kill, to exclude and subject entire nations, not only in Africa, but around the world.

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.

Tell my people their wickedness,
   and the house of Jacob their sins...

Every day online you read someone on Facebook, or on their blog, bitching about Trump or the Pope, catching every single little (or big)  faux pas or misspeak.  Like we are so morally superior or correct about what is to be done or what should be corrected.  Over and over, repeated day in and day out, this harping on this or that - how can we even know the depth of our hypocrisy when our contempt for others blinds us?

"Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"
Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! - IS 58:1-9A

I know people do not like Gates and disagree with his historical research and conclusions, even the question of racism may be more complex and politically defined than many of us understand - so one needs to be alert to false narratives which claim everyone and all of Western culture is hopelessly racist.  Nevertheless, I appreciate the work of Henry Louis Gates and find it an important POV on African history.  So there.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

So, what was really wrong with Baby Jane Hudson?

She was a drinker.

Unrelented Lent ...

Late yesterday I went to Mass at my parish.

I arrived early to pray.  The religious ed sister was rehearsing the child readers, the choir was practicing, and there was a lot of activity.  Normally I take that in stride, but yesterday it was like the rug was pulled out from under me spiritually.  I was crushed in spirit.  I prayed my rosary as best I could - respecting and accepting what was happening, all the time struggling against the temptation to leave, to just walk out.

By the time Mass started, the church was packed. I was surprised.  The children who did the readings did so very well - it wasn't a performance, they sounded like angels proclaiming the Word of God.  I felt completely immersed in the 'assembly' if you will - I felt I was truly a part of the congregation, repenting, seeking God's mercy, praying, worshiping, and so on.  After all the temptations not to be there, I felt I was in the heart of the Church.  Nothing outside could separate me from that experience.  It was unique.

Later in the evening, my temptations returned.  I recalled that something like this happened to me once before, and I fell away from the spiritual exercises and observances of my spiritual life.  At the time, I had been disappointed to learn a few spiritual persons whom I looked up to changed their lives, left their religious lives, and so on.  The effect was devastating to me at the time, these people were my spiritual guides and mentors in those days so soon after my return to the sacraments.  It was like I too lost the faith.

I felt that way yesterday.  It seemed to me I felt, or was in the same state as those Catholics who are fed up with those cardinals and bishops and theologians who appear to be teaching in error.  I wondered if this sudden loss of certitude and stability was perhaps similar to the experience of St. Therese when she felt herself to be seated at the table of sinners, sharing the lot of unbelievers ... hence my reference to the 'attraction of nihilism' in my post yesterday.

Long story short, I was praying through these thoughts when I concluded I needed to embrace that emptiness - while not leaving, not excusing myself from the 'heart of the Church' - the assembly, the parish.  I wish I had a better way to express that understanding - because there was something very profound about it.

Give up the Church for Lent.

I was thinking of attempting to write something 'deep' about this intuition, but then this morning, I came upon David Mills article in Aleteia - Give Up the Church For Lent.  He expresses the very same sentiments I was attempting to articulate.  An excerpt:

Hence my suggestion for Lent: Give up the Church. Not the Church as she comes to you, in the Mass, confession, adoration, prayer, devotion, and calendar, in the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and the saints, and in her spiritual and theological works. I mean the Church as you see her when you see her from outside, as a thing, particularly as a battlefield or a political object, as a competition between good guys and bad guys.
We only have so much time and so much energy. We can only sustain so much indignation and outrage, and the time and energy we spend being upset is time and energy we drain from our interests and callings. Being upset is rarely fruitful and most often a waste of time and energies of which we are stewards. We need to use our time and energy better than many of us do.
Your feelings about the goings on in the Knights of Malta, or Cardinal Burke’s assignments, or the famous footnote in Amoris Laetitia and the Dubia, or the pope’s addresses, or the American bishops’ declarations on immigration, or Fr. James Martin, or whose feet are washed on Holy Thursday, or the extraordinary form, or church music, don’t matter. They don’t affect anything, especially not the decisions of the people who decide these things. Francis does not eagerly scan your Facebook page for instructions. Neither does Cardinal Burke.
Give up the Church for Lent. Don’t read the usual controversial websites. Don’t open the email messages from the friend who’s always sending stories of scandal and offense. Skim through Facebook and Twitter and skip over the items tempting you to jump into battle, and definitely don’t click on the links. - Aleteia

Works for me.

[I'm still keeping comments closed, which cuts down on internet time since I won't be checking for comments or email alerts.  How contemplative, huh?]

That's right - throw the bishop out with the bathwater.


Cocomotion ... Cardinal Coccopalmerio

I blame Cardinal Coccopalmerio.

I was going to do a post about some of his statements - before doing so I looked for a song for the post - Cocomotion.  Old disco.  I got distracted ...

I don't like what Cardinal Coccopalmerio says.  I don't like what a few other prelates are saying either.  

I don't understand what is going on in the Vatican.  

It is very unsettling, disturbing, and I must admit that I am scandalized.  

I see it as a temptation.  So I must pray.  

I don't think there is any Catholic online who knows what is happening.  Not one.  There is not one to help me.  Not one.

I'm closing comments.

Priest, prophet, forage in a land they know not.
I said in my alarm;
'no man can be trusted'
all have gone astray,
there is not a good man left -
there is no one who does good,
no, not even one. 

Song for this post here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The attraction of nihilism ...

I should write about that.

Song for this post here... here... 

and here.

and here...

and here.

Lent is a time to repent and believe in the Gospel.

When no counsel, leads to comfort...

I think it may be easier to do that if I ignore what comes out of the Vatican and Vatican spokesmen.

Some things have been bothering me lately.  For instance, to suggest that couples living in sin should be admitted to Holy Communion, repeated by so many Churchmen, simply contradicts Catholic teaching.  It's not Catholic.

I say that after considering the life and repentance of St. Margaret of Cortona, in preparation for Lent.  It has troubled me, considering how Our Lord himself explained to St. Margaret the gravity of her sinful life, calling her lover 'the enemy of your salvation'.

While she was at prayer, Margaret heard our Lord make mention of the different stages of her vocation from its first beginning:
"My child," He said to her, "think on the manifold graces and lights with which I have endowed thy soul, in order to turn thee to Me. Think of how, on the death of the enemy of your salvation, overcome with sorrow, with downcast looks, bathed in tears, and clothed in black, you came in confusion to Laviano, to your father's house. Think of how, at the instigation of your stepmother, he altogether forgot fatherly compassion, and drove you from the house... - Life and Revelations

I need to look to the saints, to the penitents this Lent.  I need solid doctrine.

No more useless information ...

St. Alexis and St. Mary of Egypt,
pray for us.

Ash Wednesday ... what to do for Lent.

St. Francis bathing the lepers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

That's right! Four years ago Pope Benedict quit.

Pope Benedict said he resigned for the good of the Church.  We're still waiting.

I blame Burke and Bannon.



The Day Before Ash Wednesday

"I firmly wish that my face reflecting the intimate pains
of my soul, the suffering and love of my heart, be more
honoured! Whoever gazes upon me already consoles me."

Shrove Tuesday.

It is the feast day of the Holy Face.

Look at Him
looking at you...
Golden Arrow Prayer 
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored, and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

On 17 April 1958, Venerable Pope Pius XII approved the observance of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Our Lord made the following promises to those who honor His Holy Face:
  1. All those who honor My Face in a spirit of reparation will by so doing perform the office of the pious Veronica. According to the care they take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemers, so will I take care of their souls which have been disfigured by sin. My Face is the seal of the Divinity, which has the virtue of reproducing in souls the image of God.
  2. Those who by words, prayers or writing defend My cause in this Work of Reparation I will defend before My Father, and will give them My Kingdom.
  3. By offering My Face to My Eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained.
  4. By My Holy Face, they will work wonders, appease the anger of God, and draw down mercy on sinners.
  5. As in a kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the King’s effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of My Holy Face.
  6. Those who on earth contemplate the wounds of My Face shall in Heaven behold it radiant with glory.
  7. They will receive in their souls a bright and constant irradiation of My Divinity, that by their likeness to My Face they shall shine with particular splendor in Heaven.
  8. I will defend them, I will preserve them and I assure them of Final Perseverance.

Monday, February 27, 2017

When We Rise

I watched the first segment.

I dunno - it's not very well done.  Sorry.  It's also a little 'evangelical' in tone - in a queer way.  I actually watched since it dealt with churches in San Francisco and I was wondering if a certain Roman Catholic priest might be mentioned, since he was out there back in the day marrying gay people.

I think they are condensing a lot of history for prime time - and I get that - but it comes off a little cornball.

When did Rosie lose so much weight?  (She really should have been a nun - SSND.)

If you ever want a real experience of what it was like, read or watch Armistead Maupin's, Tales of the City.

Sounds like something Pope Francis might say ...

"My daughter, I see
more Pharisees
among Christians
than there were
around Pilate."
- Christ to St. Margaret

Looking for love ...

"We are made for love.  This is evidenced as much by human experience as it is by faith.  If I am not certain that I am loved, I am susceptible to any approximation of love that proposes itself.  I am easily manipulated by those who want to exploit my need for friendship and belonging." - Fr. Richard Veras