Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sorry Dr. Jones, It Belong in a Church

Recently I visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.  The museum had many fascinating items on display.  Of particular interest to me was exhibition of Catholic liturgical art such as this beautiful 15th Century Spanish altarpiece:

And this French reliquary from the 12th or 13th Century:

I enjoyed viewing this exhibit, but as I continued to explore the museum I remembered the liturgical items and thought, what are they doing here?  This is sacred art. Liturgical art.  It belongs in a Church or in a Catholic museum, not in the Nelson-Atkins.  In a secular museum, an altarpiece is cataloged by probably irreligious curators who see it not as ornamentation for the focal point of the Mass but as a cultural curiosity, of no greater significance than the lewd Hindu statuary on display in the room adjacent.  The curators and patrons of the museum at least appreciate the beauty of traditional liturgical art, which is more than can be said for many contemporary bishops.  If you want to see the glory of God reflected in art, don't go to a Catholic Church, go to a secular museum.  Catholics have traded away their artistic birthright for ugly architecture and felt banners.


  1. Patrick, I hope you don't mind but I have nominated you for a Sunshine Award. A Happy New Year to you!