Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Just some thoughts on the Met Gala ...


Why?  Because Anna Wintour and I are the same age.  What?

Seriously, I used to work in 'fashion' - or thought I did.  I worked in display at a well known department store which no longer exists.  Being involved with anything associated with fashion, ready-to-wear and or couture, carries with it an ambience of prestige.  From the very top of the industry down to the lowly mannequin dresser.  Fashion creates a mystique in every age.  It is frequently a sign of wealth and grandeur, as well as prominence and taste.  It is for the elite - or that is what those who 'work it' need to convince themselves and their clientele of.  No one is more deluded by that notion than the directors and promoters of the industry.  No one basks in the glamour more than those privileged to hob nob in that society.

Martin, Dolan, Clooney

The Devil really does wear Prada.

Carlo Caretto wrote about fashion in his book on the spiritual life, The God Who Comes.  I was especially struck by his writing at the beginning of my conversion, when I first left that little bubble of the fashion world which I considered myself an authority on.  (LOL!)  Caretto wrote: "To begin with, we must go against the ideas of the day, for these are always opposed to the Gospel. We must resist 'the latest fashions and the spirit of the times,' which are almost always influenced by the evil one."  Keep that in mind the next time you page through a fashion magazine or tune in to most any Red Carpet photo shoot.

It is also good to recall what St. Jacinta Marto had to say about fashion and the Church: "Fashions that will greatly offend Our Lord will appear. People who serve God should not follow fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same."  Elsewhere is another quote from the saint on the subject:  "Many fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much - do not follow fashion." That was in 1918.

Former Abbot Fioraso

Before the Met Gala - Friends of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme...

Several years ago, Pope Benedict shut down the playboy mansion style Abbey of Santa Croce in Rome.  The abbot of Santa Croce was "Simone Fioraso, a flamboyant former Milan fashion designer, who had bee already moved out of the basilica two years" before to abbey was suppressed.  I have no idea what happened to him or if he remains a priest today.  The fashionable Friends of Santa Croce were entertained in the cloister-refectory, a classic sign of decadence as depicted in the art and filmography of life in the great abbeys of history.  "The basilica had become a hub for the Friends of Santa Croce, an aristocratic group, and had been criticized for some unorthodox practises including dances in which nuns pranced around the altar."

Fundraising is easily corrupted when Cardinals, Bishops, Abbots, monks and priests adopt an entrepreneurial spirit to obtain donations and support for their lavish residences and lifestyles.  Know what I'm saying?  Religious people just do not want to acknowledge that, and whenever anyone, even a Pope points out the corrupting influence of worldliness, money and prestige, they turn on him and anyone else who dares to question their involvement.

Dance at Santa Croce

"How ought Catholics to receive the Met Gala and its supposed sacrilege."

So asks America magazine.  First - Catholics can and do receive, reject, and opine about the Met Gala any way they want to.  Some see it as decadent and sacrilegious, others see it as a sort of abomination and one comment I came across likened it to the scene in the Book of Daniel asking: "Did the Met guests happen to notice a hand writing on the wall?"  That was a wonderful comment.

The America magazine coverage of the event is trending and cool and superficial.  Justin Shaun Coyne's opinion piece was naive and condescending, with a ridiculous connection to the passion of Christ, expounding upon his hypothetical question, "What has Golgatha have to do with the Met?"  It's a smart article, but it misses.  

The Gala and the exhibit are two different things.  Society ladies and their escorts will attend an 'opening of a door' as Nan Kempner once famously stated, and so will society clergymen.  The exhibit is just okay, in my opinion - a wonderful opportunity to see examples of real couture and the very best in religious vestments.  The connection between fashion and sacred vestment is a great commercial idea, especially today when the rich and famous love to accessorize their own homes with religious artifacts and textiles, often deaccesioned and/or ransacked from Catholic monasteries and churches and their treasuries.  The Gala is what it is - kind of a joke played by the fashion world on the Church.  The exhibit is a marketing strategy.

Prelates and priests have always hob-nobbed with society types.  Prelates and priests and religious have always scandalized the faithful, especially the poor and the marginalized and humble.  That's what they did at the Met Gala.  Closing churches and selling off church goods is a lucrative market these days.

So yeah, as America Magazine's Justin Shaun Coyle observes: "Maybe it constitutes sacrilege after all. But it might remind Catholics that our aesthetic positively thrums with apocalyptic irony ..."  

"Apocalyptic irony" indeed.



  1. My favorite royal fashion blog has a post on the gala today and it seems all the readers are loving it. At least that's what I got out of the first few comments. I decided to refrain from reading any further and especially from commenting. I would get jumped on (and possibly banned) due to the religious nature of my comment - ironic, no?
    In any case I have received two message today from people that need prayers for health problems (Bill) and marriage problems (J and L) - in your charity if you would pray for them I am sure they would appreciate it. Also prayers for the repose of the soul of Mrs. F would be welcome.

    1. Be assured of my prayers for your friends.

    2. Thank you Yaya!

    3. My prayers for your friends Angela.

  2. The recent Met Gala event does not even compare to the vulgarity/blasphemy that is to be had every Halloween in West Hollywood, CA. Streets are blocked off so that some drag queens and homosexuals, who despise the Church, can parade themselves around wearing ugly "church" attire that sometimes depict certain sex acts.

    Hopefully, they have toned it down in that department but who knows since an old friend told me once, "anything goes at that event."

    1. It reminds me of the Spanish Civil War when the rebels would wear the vestments of the priests they killed and dump all the sacred vessels into a pile in front of the churches they desecrated. I think I might post that.

    2. Wow ... too much to ponder when one considers where these rebels may have ended up if they did not stop and cry out to God and repented for the evil done to His faithful ones.

  3. Terry, if you don’t know already, the dagging on the sides and back of the green dress worn by the woman in Jan van Eyck’s ‘Arnolfini Portrait’ represents the side curls and beard of Christ. His face is more clearly seen on the reflection in the mirror. It’s a pointer (as is the whole painting) to Van Eyck’s fascination with what we know today as the Turin Shroud.

  4. The fashion industry has their own god. Themselves. I happen to like fashion, real fashion. Where people dress in smart, beautiful cloths in appealing colors and fine materials. The history of fashion is interesting to. Nothing wrong with that. All custome balls have an assortment of Louis XV's and Marie Antoinnette's, a few Popes and Cardinals too. This Met Ball however seems something different. I get the sense it is mocking, disrespectful and boarding on desceration. Maybe I am wrong.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.