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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 January 24, 2021

Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, not ev...

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January 24

 

Do not lose your inner peace
for anything whatsoever,
not even if your whole world seems upset.
If you find that you have wandered away from
the shelter of God,
lead your heart back to Him quietly and simply.

St. Francis de Sales


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Francis de Sales

Francis suffered a terrible temptation to despair of being s...

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St. Francis de Sales

Francis de Sales was born in the Duchy of Savoy, in present-day France, in the Château de Sales. His father was Francis, Lord of Boisy, Sales and Novel and his mother Frances de Sionnz, the daughter of a prominent magistrate.

Born prematurely, Francis was delicate but slowly strengthened, though his health was never robust.

Being the oldest son of six, his father destined him for a secular career, despite Francis’ early leanings to the religious life. He attended the Jesuit college of Clermont in Paris where he excelled in rhetoric, philosophy and theology. During this period, Francis suffered a terrible temptation to despair of being saved. He was miraculously delivered before an image of Our Lady and there and then made a vow of chastity.

At twenty-four he received his law degree in Padua. With a brilliant career ahead of him, and a noble prospect of marriage, Francis declared his intention of following an ecclesiastical career. A sharp struggle ensued between him and his father who only relented in his opposition when Bishop Granier of Geneva offered Francis the post of Provost of the Chapter of Geneva in the patronage of the Pope.

Francis was ordained in 1593. The next year he volunteered to evangelize the region of Le Chablais, recently returned to the Duchy of Savoy from Calvinist Geneva and on which the Genevans had imposed their creed. With enormous tact, charity and zeal the young provost confuted the preachers sent to debate him, converted several prominent Calvinists and at great personal risk and traveling extensively brought back to the Church tens of thousands of the people of Chablais.

He was consecrated Bishop of Geneva in 1602, ruling his diocese from Annecy in France where he immediately established regular catechetical lessons for young and old. He himself taught the children of  whom he was beloved. He visited the parishes throughout his rugged diocese, made provisions for the clergy, reformed religious orders, and preached incessantly, everywhere known for his kindness and patient zeal. Those who flocked to hear the holy bishop said, “Never have such holy, apostolic sermons been preached.”

With St. Jeanne Frances de Chantal he founded the Order of the Visitation for girls and widows who had not the health or inclination for the austerities of the great orders.

In the midst of all his activities he found time to write numerous letters and works, among the most famous being his Introduction to the Devout Life.

Francis de Sales died in 1622 at age fifty-six and crowds thronged to venerate him. He was canonized in 1665 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1877.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a con...

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Our Lady and the Three Dresses

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

One day, their priest-confessor advised them that, as a preparation for the feast of the purification of Mary, they should recite the whole Rosary every day for forty days. The three nuns obediently complied.

On the night before that holy feast day, the Heavenly Mother appeared to the three nuns as they gathered in the choir. To the first of these three sisters she handed a rich garment, embroidered with gold. Holy Mary thanked her and blessed her.

She then handed to the second nun a much simpler garment, and also thanked her. Noticing the difference in the two garments, the second sister asked, "Oh Lady, why have you brought my sister a richer garment?" Mary Most Holy lovingly replied, "Because she has clothed me more richly with her prayers than you have done."

Mary then approached the third nun with a canvas garment. Being an observant young lady, this sister at once asked pardon for the half-hearted way in which she had prayed her rosaries.

A full year had passed when all three fervently prepared for the same feast, each saying her Rosary with great devotion. On the evening preceding the festival, Mary appeared to them in glory, and said to them: "Be prepared, for tomorrow you shall come to paradise."

The following morning dawned, full of promise. Each nun wondered if this would be her last day in this vale of tears. When evening came, would they retire to their modest cells once more, or did Holy Mary have something else in store for them?

The sisters related to their confessor what had occurred, and received communion in the morning. At the hour of compline (evening prayers) they saw again the most holy Virgin, who came to take them with her. Amid the songs of angels, one after the other sweetly expired.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

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