Friday, July 28, 2017
Modern Art. . .
Why do we work so hard to improve upon the crucifix? Why does modern art delight in the oblique rather than the concrete? The Pope has a new crozier and it is is a prime example of something new, modern, strange, and unintelligible. What does it mean? (I will admit, a Lutheran question for a Roman pontiff but a worthy one.)
For my part, I like good clean lines when they are used to highlight the crucifix and the sufferings of Christ that have paid sin's debt and given us new life death cannot steal. But not this one. I just don't know what to make of it and the entire purpose of church art is to give a visual image to the faith. Here is a clean fail in that department. Maybe you like it. Me, not so much.
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I wonder if it doesn't come down to who gets to define what it means. You said the purpose of Church art was to give a visual image of the faith. If we redefine the faith then the visual image reflects that redefinition. It is no longer about God's definition but our definition. It is no longer about what God has said but what we think. Just more of us playing at being god.
There's more to the story, as provided in a June 26, 2017, ILVA article:
"At the Corpus Domini service on 18 June the Holy Father used the crozier that ILVA employees gave him when he visited the Cornigliano facility.
"The crozier made by employees at Genova Cornigliano [an Italian specialized steel manufacturing plant] and donated to the Holy Father when he visited the facility on 27 May has appeared in an event broadcast worldwide. On Sunday 18 June in fact, Pope Francis went to the Corpus Domini celebration in the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano with 'our' crozier.
"1.70 m long and weighing around 3.5 kg [7.7 lbs], the crozier is made of stainless steel recycled from old spare parts. To make this precious tribute – which packs away into an overnight bag - our colleagues at Genova Cornigliano worked with passionate devotion for around a month. The form of the cross, with the Tau symbol, was produced by a pantograph and a high precision plasma cutting process, while the body of the staff was fashioned on a lathe in the workshops."
In any case, for Lutherans, a crozier is more of a symbol of an episcopal (if not sacerdotal) view of the office of the ministry.
Actually, this is highly appropriate for this pope who is "new, modern, strange, and unintelligible."
I happy to like the new crosier... and if it is a crosier rather than a processional cross or crucifix... perhaps even more reason why might not see a corpus ... I tend to like crucifixes more than simple crosses in the main but this one has some interest to me as a modern depiction... and indeed as I sometimes am loath to admit... the cross also says a great deal even as the crucifix certainly does... I am not sure if someone dislikes the present pontiff, his crosier ought automatically to symbolize or capture the essence of one's reason for dislike...
Whatever you say about the steel-worker-built crozier, it's better than the one that got raked over the coals in the September 28, 2014, Novus Ordo Watch article, "That Seventies “Pope”: Bergoglio’s New Pastoral Staff Ugly as Hell":
"Dentists and hygienists around the globe must be envious: The world’s largest dental explorer was carried in procession by the Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio, 'Pope' Francis, on Saturday, September 27, 2014, as he celebrated the 200th anniversary of Pope Pius VII’s re-establishment of the Jesuit order. The hideous crozier Francis carried really did resemble an oversized toothpick or a dental sickle probe more than a Pope’s pastoral staff and so made one wonder if Pope Clement XIV didn’t perhaps have a vision of our times when he decided to suppress and abolish the Society of Jesus in 1773."
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