Friday, March 08, 2013

Now what is this saying?



Now what is this saying?

This one legged image hanging from its scalp around a Cardinals neck is a far cry from the traditional pectoral cross containing relics of the saint that most Prelates still wear.

It is being worn here by the U.S. Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick as he attends a prayer at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican March 6, 2013.
I know nothing about McCarrick but choosing a distorted image of the Saviour as costume jewelry is something he obviously feels is important. It is both theology and culture of rupture on a chain.
thanks to Eponymous Flower

39 comments:

John Nolan said...

I suspect the left leg was broken off at some point. BTW, if the new pontiff readopts the Paul VI papal staff abandoned by Benedict XVI, we'll know we're in for trouble.

Colonel Mustard said...

The symbol is also used in Cambodia - which is perhaps where this comes from, as the design is the same - as a sign of the solidarity our Lord has with persons injured by landmines. I'm sure most readers would agree that the 'cons' profoundly outweigh the 'pros' of this symbol!

Seaneinn said...

Looks like someone who doesn't want to be the next Pope, and I agree

justin said...

Non-voting Cardinal and NOTORIOUS liberal who collided with the then Card Ratzinger and who has thankfully left the scene. His replacement +Wuerl is more Ratzingerian.

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

It looks like he was bored in a meeting and started fiddling around with a paperclip and voila! Ugh.

Anne said...

The Paul VI Papal Staff was used by the now Blessed John Paul II. So whats the problem.

Jonathan said...

The poor cardinal must be short-sighted, he's accidentally picked up a set of tyre levers for his bicycle instead of his pectoral cross.

Annie said...

Google 'Cardinal McCarrick" if you want to know what his "issue" is. It was an open secret here in New Jersey when he was the Archbishop of Newark.

parepidemos said...

Fr. Blake, This type of cross comes from SE Asia. The missing piece of leg represents the closeness of Christ to those who have lost a limb due to the many landmines in certain parts of that continent. I understand that this particular pectoral cross was given to the cardinal by the family of young boy who suffered in such a way. Whilst wearing it outside of the context of SE Asia may be unwise (due to the understandable ignorance of others) we should not rush to read into it non-existent ruptures.

John Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lepanto said...

The very idea that this notorious man is present in any capacity at the Vatican at this time is outrageous. The Vatican is fully aware of many credible accusations against him of the most disgraceful kind. What on earth is going on?

parepidemos said...

Fr Blake, Please consider removing the scurrilous and unfounded accusations made by John Fisher regarding Cardinal McCarrick.

servusmariaen said...

If you knew Cardinal Mccarrick this would hardly surprise you.

romishgraffiti said...

I understand that this particular pectoral cross was given to the cardinal by the family of young boy who suffered in such a way. Whilst wearing it outside of the context of SE Asia may be unwise (due to the understandable ignorance of others) we should not rush to read into it non-existent ruptures.

I don't think anyone disputes the good intentions, but there is an obvious rupture. Namely, the idea that the symbols of Our Lord are whimsically malleable and can be forced into servitude to whatever current cause blows down the pipe.

nickbris said...

He is ANTI-WAR so will inevitably tread on warmonger's toes and that lot are unstoppable in their quest to destroy the Church.

Supertradmum said...

Horrible. Immature use of symbolism. Grow up and be a Cardinal.

Greg Collins said...

Symbols of Our Lord are works of art. These images have been malleable since the very earliest depictions were created.

Is the design of a Cardinal's pectoral cross a matter upon which uniformity must be insisted in order to maintain unity? I think not.

In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas

We seem to be a little lacking in caritas.

romishgraffiti said...

Symbols of Our Lord are works of art. These images have been malleable since the very earliest depictions were created.

Without limits? Anything by anyone at anytime? Please. The "Amputee Jesus" spells only one thing: trivialization.

Caritas without veritas isn't caritas at all.

Anita Moore said...

Symbols of the Lord cannot be "malleable" to the point they cease to represent the Lord. It is certainly never permissible to hold something up as a symbol of the Lord if it is so bad as to approach or even cross over into blasphemy. And a thing that is not really a pectoral cross cannot become a pectoral cross just because it pleases someone to wear it as if it were one and call it by that name. There are such things as objective standards, without which we slide into tyranny.

parepidemos said...

nickbris: "He is ANTI-WAR so will inevitably tread on warmonger's toes and that lot are unstoppable in their quest to destroy the Church". Forgive me, but I am somewhat confused. Whom do you believe are out to destroy the Church: those who are against war or the warmongers? Thanks

Ma Tucker said...

"Now what is this saying?"

I think this is saying that everytime we grab Our Lord and use him for our pet projects, no matter how well intentioned, we end up distorting Him, distorting His message and drawing attention away from the only true mutilation - the effects and the horror of sin.

NBW said...

It's horrible! It in no way looks like Christ on the cross. Why not wear a smiley face medallion; it's just about the same thing.

EFpastor emeritus said...

I recall the image of a crucifix without ARMS or LEGS.
underneath there was the caption:
Christ has no arms but your arms; no legs but your legs.

I just cannot recall the name of the saint to whom it was attributed. The Little Flower?

Greg Collins said...

romishgraffiti & Anita Moore

Who determines veritas in the matter of Christian Art in general and pectoral crosses in particular?

Who sets these 'objective standards without which we slide into tyranny'?

If folk want to criticise the aesthetics of that cross, which is a piece of folk art, that is one thing but to equate someone wearing it as the beginning of a slide into tyranny... well it isn't really is it.

Christ is generally represented in the great mass of Christian art, including a good many pectoral crosses, as a European male. You do accept he wasn't don't you?

Patricius said...

"Christ has no arms but your arms; no legs but your legs."

I heard this attributed to St Teresa of Avila but I do not recall where.

Greg Collins said...

Ma Tucker

"I think this is saying that everytime we grab Our Lord and use him for our pet projects, no matter how well intentioned, we end up distorting Him, distorting His message and drawing attention away from the only true mutilation - the effects and the horror of sin."

Well said. Very well said. And it applies to us all, and we all have our pet projects be it promoting a particular form of Liturgy over another or a certain kind of Church music over another, et cetera.

Very well said.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Greg there are "norms", according to the "dress code" it should first of all be a "cross" unadorned by a figure.
Secondly, the "tradition" or at least convention sets norms. If a Cardinal chooses to disregard these then presumably he is choosing to make a statement, such as Cardinal Nguyễn Văn Thuận who wore the wooden cross he made whilst in prison, or a Capuchin Cardinal who wore a tin cross.

Anita Moore said...

Greg, there is only one Veritas, and He is a Person. Christian art must somehow reflect that, or it is not Christian art.

And yes, cardinals disregarding norms on pectoral crosses is indeed the beginnings of a slide into tyranny. The saints tell us there really are no small matters in the spiritual life. Disobedience to legitimate authority in small matters leads to disobedience in big ones; and when cardinals disobey, they teach others to do likewise. Starting out by holding that there are no legitimate norms when it comes to a little thing like a pectoral cross sets us up to reject norms on slightly bigger things, and slightly bigger things, until finally, we end by imitating Pontius Pilate and saying, "What is truth?" And once we have wholly succumbed to relativism and fail to recognize objective truth and acknowledge legitimate authority, by what standard do we live? Of course we are stuck with that set by whoever has the power and the will to impose whatever is most pleasing to him. The ultimate logic of relativism is that might makes right. And that is tyranny.

Tony Flavin said...

They shall know you by your love

Joe Potillor said...

Regardless of the so called symbolism, Rome is not a place to make "symbols"...I agree with supertradmum, man up and be a Cardinal...I think traditionally the pectoral crosses did not have a figure of Christ on them because the Bishops are the direct successors to the apostles and supposed to die for the Faith if called upon

Fr Ray Blake said...

So they should Deacon Tony, but then I think the Cardinal wants to be know by his choice of costume jewellry.

Greg Collins said...

iirc the last three Popes rejected the use of the Papal Tiara. Thus we can safely conclude, without sliding into tyranny, that norms and convention may change. They may change in ways which disappoint us, or even offend us, and may change in ways which are aesthetically less than pleasing like the Cardinal's cross and which seem to communicate a vision of Christ which may not be our own. But as they are not essentials these norms and conventions may, and do, change from time-to-time

in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas

Anita Moore said...

Greg, the difference with Popes rejecting the papal tiara is that, whatever one may think of the prudential judgment behind such a decision, no one can doubt that they had the authority to do it.

BJC said...

I think what he's saying is that he prefers the social gospel to the gospel gospel.

For anybody who hasn't worked it out yet Cardinal McCarrick has got all the makings of another Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

http://www.richardsipe.com/Comments/2008-04-21-McCarrick_Syndrome.html

The journalist who wrote this is a liberal who writes for the NCR so he's got his own agenda but no one seems to be disputing the allegations from what I can see. To be fair to Cardinal McCarrrick he did also submit this strong statement defending religious freedom to a recent US Senate subcommitte.

http://protectthepope.com/?p=2849

John Fisher said...

We should not be shocked. I woul;d suggest readers google the "good" NOT cardinals name with the word abuse attched. You will see. Fr Blake don't be shocked. It is just an indication of the man and his lifestyle choices/ theological choices.

Angele Dei said...

I hate it when self-righteous moralisers march into comboxes and throw the conversation of course.

As has been repeated numerous times before, the good cardinal is quite obviously trying to make a statement here and the faithful are well within their rights to comment on the appropriateness of such a statement.

To all who want to jump in again harp on about how we are not being "nice" or "charitable" - please don't insult our intelligence. We are not attacking the man, we are attacking his very questionable choice of pectoral cross.


Damask Rose said...

Interesting comment Joe Potillor at 6.37.

Well said Fr Ray at 3.49 and 8.53.

Cardinal McCarrick's pectoral cross is anthropolgical. People may tend to react to his cross initially on an emotional level.

Now, I know God said "vengeance is mine", and Jesus warned those who would harm children. Jesus, too, cured the sick and the lame. Jesus wanted to help our suffering.

The suffering here as depicted on this cross - my personal opinion - is not the same as "offering up" your suffering for Christ's Passion, or reparation for sins or to somehow make an effort to join with Christ's Passion.

I think it's making Jesus (God) suffer the same way as MAN. "Jesus, you suffer like us now."

Yes, I know that some people suffer horrific torture from their fellow man's hands, but then I think their physical suffering will never be the same as Christ's physical suffering during the Passion and Crucifixion (not to mention Jesus' suffering of soul, emotion or mind).

We ought to be able to in our little and massive sufferings be able to look up at a Crucifix and seeing the painful Christ stretched out on a cross be consoled, or moved to reparation or adoration.

McCarrick's pectoral cross is not, in my mind, depicting somehow the same suffering that Jesus required of certain mystics and victim souls throughout the centuries. Or depicting the fortitude the martyrs had. Think of St Lawrence joking on his grid iron.

I don't know. Just my musings. I could be reading too much into it, drawing the wrong conclusions.

The Rad Trad said...

I don't think the commenters here are being self righteous, Angele Dei. They are expressing their confusion pertaining to an odd, even strange, pectoral cross which seems to be without traditional grounding and which conveys unclear symbolism.

Dymphna said...

Cardinal McCarrick is a delightful man but he does as he pleases. I'll say no more.