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.

Education Update

I survived yet another semester.  I am looking forward to my graduation in May, and to whatever comes afterwards.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The President's Christmas Card

Many legitimate criticisms are made of our current President, but some are bizarrely petty.  For example, in 2011, Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio condemned the Obama's Christmas card design in a blog post titled No Christmas in White House Holiday Card.  (This happened two years ago, but it's Christmas card season, and that makes it topical.)  He reported ominously that the card features First Dog Bo and poinsettias but no Christmas tree. Sarah Palin offered her opinion,
“It’s odd,” she said, wondering why the president’s Christmas card highlights his dog instead of traditions like “family, faith and freedom.” Palin said the majority of Americans can appreciate the more traditional, “American foundational values illustrated and displayed on Christmas cards and on a Christmas tree.”
Palin may find the card odd, but I think it is odd to associate "American foundational values" with something that withers and dies in our living room.

This was the offending Christmas Card:













I don't know about you, but I like this card.  The room looks cozy and the poinsettias and the evergreen on the mantle certainly indicate that it is a Christmas card.  I have no problem with highlighting Bo.  I like Bo.  He is the only member of the Obama household that would happy to see me if I showed up unannounced in the White House living quarters.  Sure it would be nice if the card included something religious, but I rather doubt that a non-religious Christmas card is an affront to God.  Pick your battles and leave Bo alone.