Thursday, December 14, 2017

Crib Controversy

I can't see what the problem some people have with the crib in St Peter's Square. The first image I saw of it was someone complaining that it contained an autopsy scene, actually just a little thought or a slightly more open look at the crib immediately show its really about burying the dead, indeed the whole thing is about the corporal works of mercy.

To feed the hungry.
To give water to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To shelter the homeless.
To visit the sick.
To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.
To bury the dead.

The broken dome set against the dome of St Peter's seems to offer an unfortunate ambiguity but the image of the destruction or degeneration of the pagan world or the Jerusalem Temple is part of the standard imagery of the crib scene.

My concern is that it is rather cluttered, and the Lord is lost in the confusion but in many of the huge permanent cribs, especially of Naples, one has to search for the Christ child.

A more real concern, which one blogger highlighted was the 'clothing the naked' scene, he highlighted it with the caption, "I was at Cocco's (Cardinal Cocopalmero) place partying and the next thing I woke up here", The naked figure does indeed look more like someone from a gay gym or party, rather than an emaciated beggar forced to sell even his clothing, which is unfortunate in the Roman Church which is torn by gay scandals and homo-eroticism.

What is interesting is that some people are scandalised by this crib. That perhaps highlights the fact that anything which comes from Rome today, or anythying touching the current Pope seems to be open to scandalising some people. I hope that being scandalised is actually genuine rather than forced.

I have genuine concerns about the present Papacy, and especially with the corrupt and decadent men that the Pope seems to want to surround himself with, as are obviously many. The only weapon we have is truth and objective judgement; lies and falsehood, petty quibbles and rash judgements are not our allies but our ememy, they are the weapons of those who reject the Truth that is Christ

How significant it is in the light of the publication of The Dictator Pope that yet another member of the Commission set up to deal with sex abuse scandals has signalled his resignation because he considers it a waste of time, and not a serious attempt at anything. This is a real cause for anxiety.


gemoftheocean said...

This is exactly the kind of junk pope make-a-mess promotes. He wants to divide and cause controversy. And the naked guy does look like someone hanging out in a bath house. 10-1 a hell of a lot of people at the Vatican have qualms about it, but fear the Bergolian clique that "himself" uses to report back to him those who may he personally "disloyal" to him as not being on board. Same with the garbage light display 2 years ago. He can dismiss and clean out the whole Vatican if he wants, and if people do speak out he gets rid of them. I bet people who are good there are just praying that when he is gone there will be enough survivors left to pick a pope faithful enough to teach the fullness of the faith, which all but he has upheld for almost 2000 years. My guess.

Nicolas Bellord said...

The resignations from the Sex Abuse Commission parallel the serial resignations and sackings of those dealing with the financial affairs of the Vatican. We were told that we would see reforms of the Curia - precious little sign of anything useful being done so far.

Anita Moore said...

Yes, I must join the ranks of those who look at this "creche" scene and do not find it edifying. The corporal works of mercy are good, but it is not the purpose of a creche to illustrate the corporal works of mercy. The purpose of a creche is to illustrate the Christ Child, God in the flesh, personally intervening in our world at a particular moment in history. Besides, if the intent was to depict the corporal works of mercy, and this isn't coming across, then it's a failure from that standpoint as well.

Several generations ago, our Elders and Betters told us we needed to rid ourselves of the "accretions" of tradition and go back to pure, unalloyed Christianity; but all they really ended up doing was to replace tradition with accretions of their own peculiar (and I do mean peculiar) tastes and agendas. Somewhere along the line, in snuck the idea that pastors can't really be pastors unless they are putting their own stinky personalities in our faces instead of the Gospel. They convinced themselves that we don't really want the same old pomp and pageantry and ceremony and tradition, imputing their own boredom to us and imagining that we need to be shaken up. But they are breaking the promise of the easy yoke and the still waters by which we were to have been led. We who are secular are already shaken up enough by the world. We neither need nor want to be shaken up by the Church, just for the sake of being shaken up.

I think I am not alone in crying out:

Why can't we just have the Gospel?
Why can't we just have the Mass?
Why can't we just have the Rosary?
Why can't we just have the Stations of the Cross?
Why can't we just have a Nativity scene?

And when are we going to be delivered from the Church of Hagan Lio?

Catholic 78 said...

Disgraceful people do disgraceful things that scandalize and harm faithful people

Liam Ronan said...

The Nativity scene is too 'noisy' for a silent night where we are to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation, God made made.

"You have the poor among you always, so that you can do good to them when you will; I am not always among you." Mark 14:7

I see no representations of the Spiritual Works of Mercy here, i.e. admonish the sinner, counsel the doubtful, etc. The naked man is too much, a bit of gay smirking I sense.

Christ did not deign to appear as a naked beggar to St. Martin de Tours when St. Martin shared half of his cloak with Him.

This is too much. I detest this supposed 'art'.

Gerard Larkin Haverstock Esq said...

One more the word Mercy come up and one more the truth seems not go out the door.

Ignatius O'Donovan said...

Greetings Fr Ray for the festive season and thank you for the time and effort you put into your blog. I feel you may be overreacting a little on the "dangers" posed by Pope Francis. In the history of the papacy there has almost always been controversy and scandal.
If we consider Peter the first pope then even he was rebuked by no less a person than Paul "because he was clearly wrong". Down the centuries we have countless other examples. Leo x was an absolute disaster in his handling of Martin Luther. Some historians doubt that Leo was even a believer. Then we had Borgias, , Farneses etc few of them corrupted with piety. One could go on. We had the great examples of Leo the Great and Gregory who were inspirational impeccable characters. The gentle and saintly Pius VII in his heroic defence of the faith in the French revolutionary period. More recently the much maligned Paul VI who was virtually crucified over Humanae Vitae but bravely fought to keep the Church together in the turbulent post Vatican II era. He was assailed by both liberals and conservatives. As long as the throne of Peter is occupied by fallible human beings it will always be a rocky perch. It is likewise with Pope Francis. Just a thought.

Cosmos said...

It's fine, the way a lesson on confirmation, or canon law, or the cardinal virtues is fine. But why is it there?

The problem is, like everything else in the Church right now, this nativity scene is a novelty that springs from the head of one of our bored or over-eager contemporaries. That man/woman (obviously a man) apparently thought that adoring the Baby Jesus, contemplating his lowly birth, and reflecting on the incarnation has become stale. We need to be shaken up! We need something that challenges us! So he turns my attention to whatever he has decided is truly important: here, the corporal works of mercy.

Again, the corporal works of mercy are GREAT. But the point of the nativity scene is to focus you on the birth of Christ. Why am I being led away from that simple imagery?

So now my critical faculties kick in. And I look around and see a naked man with the physique of a very dedicated bodybuilder (with well defined abdominal muscles) in the midst of the scene. Who could possibly think that such a sculpture worked in that setting? Obviously someone who isn't very deeply involved in the life of the church. And from there its hard not to conclude that the motiff was chosen because this is the part of Christianity that is justifiable to the secular progressive world. "The Incarnation is just religious background noise, but helping the needy is worthwhile. So that must be what the religion is really about."

So while I could say, "it's not really so bad," my reaction is, "please give it a break."

Pelerin said...

When I am lucky enough to be in Paris for a few days each January I do try and make a point of visiting at least a couple of Cribs. My favourite are always the traditional ones in the Italian style often with a myriad of tiny figures, many animated. You have to search for the actual nativity scene among all the country figures and landscapes depicted but it is always there somewhere - at least in the traditional Cribs.

I do agree with Cosmos that the point of the nativity scene is to focus you on the birth of Christ. Some of the modern ones I have seen do not do this. One in particular was nicknamed the Golden Doughnut and it was just that in one of the most prestigious churches in the city. A golden ring with nothing inside! I presumed you had to use your own imagination to imagine the nativity scene. As far as I could see the only good thing about it was the media publicity it sparked which undoubtedly drew people in out of curiosity.

Was I shocked by the photo of the Roman crib? As a former art student the naked figure did not shock me (and the unnamed blogger's comment quoted did make me laugh) but it would not be among my top ten cribs seen over the years. It also would not be among the worst I have seen either. Just one I shall probably forget.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

This is not true - there's no doubt Leo was a faithful believer (if we except his moral compromise over usury) and his moral reputation, was accepted as blameless as adverted to in at least one letter either by Luther himself or a diplomat. As for Alexander VI, people ha e to stop believing in evidenceless black legends. Even a South American anticlerical, masonic historian who investigated the standard claims against him was compelled to admit the typical historical portrayal of A VI was false.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Conservatives rightly assailed Paul VI.

Paul Hellyer said...

Anita, well said. Let's hope the Church gets over this phase and soon return to its authentic self and see the end of popolatry.

Ray Sunshine said...

It was an unexpected pleasure to see Peter Boyle cast as the “Feed the Hungry” guy. I can’t quite make out what that food is that he’s handing round. Whatever it is, there isn’t much of it. I don’t think it will feed many hungry people.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

The figurine (from the Robert Mapplethorpe school of art?) is attracting none of the eyes of the other figures in the scene.

Sodomites are naturally subversive and the presence of the figurine is the scene is witness to that fact and also the power of the sodomites whose perversions are so prevalent in The Holy City.

ABS remembers a few years ago it was revealed the Vatican owned a building that had a sodomite bath house in its basement and so one is disappointed, but not shocked, that what happens in the Holy City does not stay there.

Simple Simon said...

Ignatius, whenever a Pope can be fairly described as a disaster for the Church, it is the bad fruits of such a papacy that are so harmful and cause such great distress. It is cold comfort to know that Pope Francis may or may not be the best in the bad row.

Kathleen1031 said...

Ignatius O'Donovan, I could not disagree more, but I notice you have no problem with this scandalous debacle of a nativity scene, which is a blatant slap in the face to Catholics who still have a sense of spiritual discernment left. This nativity is a gross, vulgar insult. If Bishop Fulton J. Sheen were alive to see it, he would probably drop dead out of horror. We have all been corrupted and our sensibilities lowered due to this world and these horrible men, but if this outrageous spectacle, this insult to Jesus Christ and the Holy Family, doesn't fill us with revulsion then we may be too far gone.
That naked man is there for a REASON. He is there to give Catholics the middle finger. "There you go Catholics, we will flaunt our disgusting sodomy and obsession with the naked male figure right in your faces, and what are you going to do about it? Nothing. These men are ENJOYING this. A pox on them. May God rebuke them and may He end this madness and come to our rescue soon!
And that is 100% bona fide, genuine scandal and outrage Fr. Blake, not one bit of insincerity or falseness, I assure you. Thank you for your blog.

landshark said...

The reason the Corporal Works of Mercy are being emphasized here over the Nativity, is because this is what Social Justice Warriors like Bergoglio do. To hell with the teachings of the Church, we must solve poverty. We must allow the Muslim invasion of the West. Who am I to judge? Hell doesn't exist. Worship mother earth and resist climate change..... Make way for the NWO, folks.

Unknown said...

Without or without consultation the "artist" (individual, most likely, or a workshop project) the naked man was designed to evoke homosexual references in the viewing public.

It did just that. Nothing trivial here. Intention matters here. What the artist(s) intended it got.

Unknown said...

Once more, Pope Francis (via proxy) send up a "Who am I to judge" provocation. As with the earlier one he could have clarified and corrected.

He did not. Again, as with the first instance, the hue & cry evoked from this one suits his larger purposes.

Unknown said...

The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum aren't much better. Ripped nude men fly all over heaven touching and embracing. God's naked butt is on display. There's even a gay Vatican art tour advertised. 'Tis no secret Michaelangelo was gay as Mardi Gras, but that popes allowed that stuff to remain is unforgivable. And yes I know one pope did have fig leafs placed over all the hoo-hoo's but it all still looks as gay as ever.

This is making it so much easier to leave Catholicism for Orthodoxy. Have yet to encounter a nude or lewd icon there.


Sue Sims said...

While I agree that the crib is not edifying, some of the reactions (not on this blog, I hasten to note) are even less so. I first saw the image of the crib (or part of it) on another site which shall be nameless (mostly because I can't recall which it was, and don't want to waste time searching). Someone had Photoshopped the image so that the naked man, rather than being well off-centre and being offered a garment, was now in the middle of the Three Kings/Magi - the kneeling king/magus therefore looked as though he was adoring the naked man rather than the Infant Saviour. I was truly shocked by that - so much so that the authentic photo, seen on this blog, was actually a relief!

We don't help our cause (whatever that cause might be) by lying and cheating. The reality is bad, but it could be worse.

Unknown said...

A frail thin old man curled into a ball for warmth---might've bought that.


Annie said...

Sue Sims,

Vox Cantoris points out that the picture hasn't been photo-shopped; it's just the angle that makes it appear so.

Facebook btw has prohibited the Vatican's Nativity Scene from being displayed on its pages. The reason they give is that it is sexually provocative. I'm no fan of Facebook and am amazed that even they find they Manger display objectionable.

Sr. Marianne Lorraine Trouve said...

I think the problem with it is in downplaying the Incarnation in favor of works of mercy, as if what we do is more important than God's initiative. Like Pelagiaism.

Pelerin said...

Fr Z's blog has a picture of a 'Hipster Nativity' on display in a US cathedral.

Whilst I am amused to see the Three Wise Men enter on Segways carrying their Amazon presents (a clever modernisation), I am disgusted by the figure representing the Virgin Mary. It depicts her showing her underwear in a style which sadly is so popular among certain young girls today. Was this really necessary? She could have been shown in a t-shirt and still looked modern. I am surprised the Cathedral authorities allowed this 'crib' to be displayed there.

Catholic gal said...

Please don't leave for Orthodoxy. I am Roman Catholic but attend sometimes in a Ukrainian Catholic Church the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrystostom. I may start attending more - there is a service in English. Certainly their icons are clothed - I, too, am put out by the semi- or near-nudity of some artwork in the RC church. Some art and music is so not beautiful, so banal, etc that it is all I can do not to howl at Holy Mass (Novus Ordo.) I came from the outside in to the RC Church as an adult. I read recently that both the Latin Mass and Divine Liturgy mention hell more. You might enjoy free email from New Liturgical Movement. Anyway, please stay and fight the good fight under Rome. This is only my 2nd comment on this site - I am new to it. I have only ever commented maybe 8 times ever, but always really appreciate others comments and learn from them. I am in Saskatchewan, where the Protestant influence seems to have infiltrated/infected so much, so I feel for you. I suffer so - I will pray for you.