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Where bad morals and ugly art meet

 

Take a deep breath. Sit down in a comfortable chair.  Avoid distractions. Ready?

 

image of the ugly art described in article

Now, take a good look at this picture on the right!

Don't immediately try to name it, or figure out what it is. That will come later.

For now, just allow the impression of this statue to enter your mind. Ponder it slowly for a moment or two. Don't rush it. (Pause)

Okay, now, what did you see? I really cannot imagine. But I can only tell you what I saw, if you have the patience to listen.

Well, to start with, I saw a trunk-like whitish piece of stone, faded in some areas, with a brass rounded cup on the top that seems to be spilling some liquid down the face of the object. About six feet tall. The background gives a faded stucco look, and the floor and wood sideboard are ultra modern.

Quite honestly, when I first saw it, I could not figure out what it was. Hhmmm, I thought, what could it be?

For a better insight into this object, I tried to find things that I knew that were similar or dissimilar, things that would afford me a frame of reference to understand this object.

Well, let's see -- a mummy? Debris from a construction site? An ancient coffin? A mistake? Spilt milk?

To save you some time and headache, I'll solve the riddle. This is supposed to be a statue of the Blessed Mother. That's right. The Holy Mother of God.

It is located at the chapel of Catholic Jesuit run Seattle University. And it is called Gratia Plena (Full of Grace).

It is made from one single slab of Cararra marble with some gold leafing.

According to the Seattle University website, Steven Heilmer, associate professor of art at Greenville College, in Greenville, Illinois, created the piece and said: "I wanted to take a life-sized block of Cararra marble and carve a flowing stream of milk."

If you and I are in anyway similar, to be told that this object is supposed to be a statue of Our Lady is a shock.

How different is this Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of FatimaIt's different than any statue of Our Lady I have ever seen.

But being different does not bother Fr. Jerry Cobb, S.J., chair of the committee from Seattle University that awarded the job to Heilmer. He said:

"This sculpture will console and challenge both believers and those struggling with their faith. It is a powerful contemporary image of the grace that Mary can be for college students and for our world today. It will provide one more reason for our neighbors and friends to visit campus for prayer and reflection."

Hhmmmm… let me read that again.

"It will provide one more reason for our neighbors and friends to visit campus for prayer and reflection."

Wow! Prayer and reflection... really?

Do you feel inspired to prayer and reflection by this statue? Inspired to prayer, no!

Inspired to reflection, yes! My reflection developed in the form of a question: how in the world did a Catholic Jesuit run University commission such a hideous piece of “sacred art?”

How does the faculty and student body accept this ugly statue as something good and holy?

Something is not right here. And this leads me to my next point: the link between morals and art.

 

Doctrine, morals and art – self portrait

It's is a well established fact that every society produces art that reflects its values, morals and beliefs. In turn, those same values, morals and beliefs are reinforced and passed on from one generation to another by the art they produce.

Therefore, it is logical to deduce that a Catholic institution of higher learning, such as Seattle University, would adorn its campus with art that reflects its moral values. Right?

Well, unfortunately, at Seattle University students are offered the option of interning for Planned Parenthood of Western Washington on its web site.

But there's more.  The Women Studies department at Seattle University encourages students to “get involved” with pro-abortion groups.

The Women Studies web page states:  “On the Seattle University Campus, in the Northwest, and across the Nation there are countless women's organizations for you to get involved with. Here are some links to help you get started.”

Under this “get involved” offer, students find pro-abortion groups such as the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and Legal Momentum.

In the field of morals, students are offered the option to join pro-abortion groups.

In the realm of sacred art, students are introduced to a marble slab wet with spilt milk as ‘Our Lady'.

Bad morals and ugly art are apparent at Seattle University. Coincidence? Or are they linked?

I think so.

In fact, due to the degree of free will involved in both moral behavior and art, it's not difficult to see how morals and art are deeply and inseparably linked.

The Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky wrote:

"Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions.1"

And Dr. Nanda Dimitrov wrote:

“Art forms do not merely reflect a society and its culture, but also heighten cultural integration by displaying and confirming the values that members of a society hold in common…The arts make dominant cultural themes visible, tangible and thus more real.2

In my opinion, the “Gratia Plena” statue (Full of Grace) is a visible, concrete expression of the pro-abortion culture at Seattle University.

What do you think?


Notes:

1. (From On the Spiritual in Art) [back to text]

2 (From Communication Between Cultures, by Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter, Edwin R. McDaniel, page 33.) [back to text]

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for September 28, 2020

We must practice modesty, not only in our looks, but also in...

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September 28

 

We must practice modesty,
not only in our looks, but also in our whole deportment,
and particularly
in our dress, our walk, our conversation, and all similar actions.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Wenceslaus

The jealous brother stabbed the king and held him down as ot...

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St. Wenceslaus

Wenceslaus was born near Prague in the year 907. His father was Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and his mother, Dragomir, a pretended Christian, but a secret favorer of paganism. One of twins, Wenceslaus was raised by his grandmother, St. Ludmilla, while his brother, known as Boleslaus the Cruel, was raised by their mother. Jealous of the great influence which Ludmilla wielded over Wenceslaus, Dragomir instigated two noblemen to murder her. She is said to have been strangled by them with her own veil. Wratislaw died in 916, also at the hand of assassins, leaving the eight-year-old Wenceslaus as his successor. Acting as regent for her son, Dragomir actively opposed Christianity and promoted pagan practices.

Urged by the people, Wenceslaus took over the reins of government and placed his duchy under the protection of Charlemagne’s successor, the German Henry I. Emperor Otto I subsequently conferred on him the dignity and title of king. However, his German suzerainty and his support of Catholicism within Bohemia were vehemently opposed by some of his subjects and a rebellion ensued.

After the virtuous monarch married and had a son, the king’s brother Boleslaus, seeing himself displaced from the direct succession to the throne by his nephew, joined the rebellion. At the instigation of their mother, Dragomir, Boleslaus conspired with the rebels to murder his royal brother. In September of 929, Boleslaus invited Wenceslaus to celebrate the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian with him. The king accepted, and on the night of the feast, said his prayers and went to bed. The next morning, as Wenceslaus walked to Mass, he met Boleslaus and stopped to thank him for his hospitality. Instead, the jealous brother stabbed the king and held him down as other traitors killed him. King Wenceslaus’s last words were addressed to his brother. “Brother, may God forgive you!” His body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of the murder.

Three years later, having repented of his deed, Boleslaw ordered the translation of his brother’s remains to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague where they may be venerated to this day. The martyr-king is the patron of Bohemia, Hungary and Poland.

Photo by: Ales Tosovsky

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort...

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The Rosary, the Devil and the Queen

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As such, he was known for his powerful, moving sermons on the Rosary, which led people to adopt this devotion to their great benefit.

Furiously jealous of the holy man’s success with souls, the devil began to so torture Thomas that he fell sick, and was so ill for so long that the doctors gave up on saving his life.

One night, when the poor man thought he was near death, the devil appeared to him in a hideous form, coward that he is, seeking to frighten Thomas into despair.

But, making an effort, the good priest turned to a beautiful picture of Our Lady near his bed crying out with all his heart and strength:

“Help me, save me, my sweet, sweet Mother!”

No sooner had he pronounced these words, the picture came alive and extending her hand, the heavenly Lady laid it reassuringly on the priest’s arm, saying:

“Do not be afraid, Thomas my son, here I am and I am going to save you. Get up now and go on preaching my Rosary as you did before. I promise to shield and protect you from your enemies.”

No sooner had Our Lady pronounced these words, than the devil fled in a hurry. Getting up, Thomas found that he was perfectly healed. 

Thanking the Blessed Mother with tears of joy, Blessed Thomas again went about preaching the Holy Rosary, now with renewed favor and gumption, and his apostolate and his sermons were enormously successful. 

St. Louis the Montfort concludes this story saying, “Our lady not only blesses those who say her Rosary, but also abundantly rewards those who, by their example, inspire others to say it as well.”

 


 

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In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort relates that Blessed Thomas of St. John was a great devotee of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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