JESUS "Having eyes, see you not?" – Gospel of Saint Mark
published April 25, 2016
written by Tom M and Paul Joseph C
Seven Artists in Seven Churches
On March 13, 2016 (the 3rd anniversary of the election of 'Pope Francis') an art exhibit debuted and was blessed by churches in the historic district of Rome as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The event, officially titled '7 Artists in 7 Churches for the Jubilee of Mercy' was coordinated by Father Daniel Libanori (a personal friend of one of the artists), supported by Il Cigno GG Edizioni and Hexagon Art Solutions, and curated by Paola Di Giammaria, head of the Photo Library of the Vatican Museums.
The 7 Churches:
Sant’Andrea della Valle, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Church of the Gesu', Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, Holy Apostles, St. Mark, and St. James in Augusta
The 7 Artists:
Ernesto Lamagna, Ennio Calabria, Vincenzo Gaetaniello, Giovanni Tommasi Ferroni, Riccardo Tommasi Ferroni, Giuliano Vangi, and Alessandro Kokocinski
The Manifesto of Artists signed by Lamagna (one of the contributors) says the artists were deeply affected by the invitation of 'pope Francis' to recognize in Jesus Christ 'the merciful face of God the Father'.
The Work of Human Hands – Nothing Sacred
Speaking of Art
'Pope Francis' writes in EVANGELII GAUDIUM that "Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new 'language of parables'. We must be bold enough to discover new signs and new symbols, new flesh to embody and communicate the word, and different forms of beauty which are valued in different cultural settings, including those unconventional modes of beauty which may mean little to the evangelizers, yet prove particularly attractive for others."
Surely the images below are bold and surely they do 'transmit' and 'communicate' something. But, what exactly is it that they are really saying and what evangelical message do they honestly give?
'Pope Francis' also once said that "through art the Church in every moment of history and in every culture explains and interprets revelation for the good of the People of God.”
Well, he is only partially correct. The artwork below unleashed for the Jubilee of Mercy certainly does do a very good job in 'interpreting' our time by visually revealing a metamorphosing (if not decaying) faith and exposing the advancing ancient objective of warping the truth beyond all recognition.
This is, of course, however in no way 'good for the People of God'.
Here are some of the works chosen for the 7 Artists in 7 Churches exhibit.
E. Calabria – The Man and the Cross – Basilica of Sant' Andrea della Valle
Although words might not be needed as the image above comments itself, our sense of duty towards decency still obliges us to underline a few aspects of this alleged "portrait" of a crucified "Christ".
The inevitable reaction caused by the sudden display of such work can only mirror the sense of horror which transpires from the martyred canvas, amputating any possible transcendental experience or meditative reflection which often envelope a person's soul upon encountering the beauty of God. Instead, the deformed figure of this pseudo-Christ evokes all the dysfunctional desire of today's society to morph the sacred Body of the Incarnate God into shapes and forms of which disfigurement seems to rather be the very reflection of the human soul's imprinted stamp of darkness – sin.
It is, indeed, a sin for Christ's Church to choose ugliness over grace and to place what is nothing less than a visual blasphemy inside a church – Sant'Andrea Della Valle – which contains works of artists of the caliber of Carlo Maderno, Giacomo della Porta, Giovanni Lanfranco, Domenichino, and Carlo Fontana.
One of the most disturbing elements in this (mis)representation consists of the torso, or we should rather say what was supposed to be the torso of a man. A grotesque protuberance defeating all laws of nature, anatomy and logic – as well as the ones regarding good taste – seems to punch a hole through the remains of the crucified upper body: the skin. This same protuberance seems to somewhat possess the head of a zoomorphic monstrous creature whose swine-like face showcases an evil grin. What was supposed to be the head of the "man of the cross" almost appears as if it was the ending part of that creature's tale which, cutting through the skin of the person, is meant to represent the disproportionately long neck of the same.
The amount of horrifying imagery one can begin to see emerge from the chaotic textures and lines of this visual nightmare is never-ending: from demonic-looking figures forming from the roughly painted shadows to the patterns extending over the skin of the main subject.
We can conclude this brief analysis by underlying a detail of no lesser importance although not uncommon in nowadays "art" world: the absence of the nail in the left hand of "the man" who, in order to support himself, holds his grip unto the cross itself by wrapping his arm around it in an almost serpentine fashion, an undulating characteristic which recurs throughout in the hyperbolic curves of the supposed-to-be Messiah.
Please look at this particular work more closely now and see the details.
More works from 7 Artists in 7 Churches for the Jubilee of Mercy (with only limited commentary):
E. Lamagna – Kenosis or Christ – Chiesa del Gesù
Is this Jesus? Here we are asked to believe that this figure who is missing both arms is Jesus Christ. His Cross has been replaced by an iron construction stake. Is that face really representative of 'the merciful face of God the Father'?
A. Kokocinski – On Earth, Above Heaven – Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva
This painting of a golden astral body with a distinctly feminine shape and pose floating above and to the left of a transparent cross would blend in rather nicely with many eastern philosophy and new age works, but is this Jesus?
G. Tommasi Ferroni – Christ Crucified – Santi Apostoli
What is being called "Jesus" here again assumes a feminine posture and the viewer's attention is unfortunately and very calculatingly first drawn to what can only be described as bright red underwear. There is no red blood gushing forth from Christ's hands, feet, or side, but the always dominant color is instead reserved to highlight an undergarment. Why? Is this right? Is this good?
R. Tommasi Ferroni – Deposition – Basilica of San Marco Evangelista
Do you see Jesus? Where is he? Are you sure? Why is most importance given to the crouched figure in bright red at the bottom right? Look at the alleged body of Christ, really look at the details of the body. What is being emphasized and how?
V. Gaetaniello – Church Sant'Andrea al Quirinale
Here again it seems that"Jesus" must not be shown fully on His Cross and here again is the recurring 'Year of Mercy' theme of a double-headed Christ.
E. Lamagna – Look Sweet Mother – Chiesa del Gesù
Saint Gemma Galgani once exclaimed "Oh, how beautiful our heavenly Mother is!" Apparently this artist would not agree. Is this really the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ? Is this now how our generation and our Church chooses to call her blessed?
The Logo at The Center of It All
The works above on some level must be partially excused if we view them as the predictable offspring of the visual offense below: the official 'logo' of the Jubilee of Mercy fashioned by Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik.
Those with only a simple understanding of occult symbolism will easily recognize the craftiness of this sinister design. However, it takes absolutely no special knowledge to instantly and strongly perceive the wrongness of the image on a gut level. Here is a two-headed, three-eyed, serpentine monstrosity that we are commanded to believe somehow represents the Mercy of God the Father.
"Be not deceived, God is not mocked." – Galatians 6
Aesthetic Terrorism – Coloring Outside The Lines
"Aesthetic Terrorism sees art as an agent of cultural deconstruction with a mission to displace traditional values and the enshrinement of a new moral code; a revolt against classical culture on behalf of moral anarchism." – Carl Raschke, Professor of Religious Studies
Art is and always has been a powerful force of spiritual life and nowhere has it played a greater role than that of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church – Michelangelo's The Sistine Chapel, DaVinci's Last Supper, Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ – the list is endless.
What has happened?
The way and manner that our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ and the core tenets of our Faith are depicted and expressed has deep and profound ramifications, especially when these expressions are presented within the context and under the blessing of the Catholic Church.
Art really matters.
All of the contemporary works above may to varying degrees fall into the very lose category of postmodernism. Postmodernism is a school of thought which teaches that all is in a state of unending incompleteness and constant change. It demands that there are many truths. Everything is uncertain, subjective, open to question and personal interpretation. Truth is relative and plural. The established traditions and even accepted core foundations of artistic expression (and technique) are now passé, irrelevant and even intentionally challenged to ignite debate and conversation. Personal perception is King. It loves deconstructing established norms and hates certainty and rigidity. It delights in chaotic conflict and rebukes narrow judgement. It embraces cultural context and evolving ideas and shuns the absolute and the established. It praises dialogue and mocks fundamentals. It transgresses boundaries and seeks the peripheries. It lives by veiled suggestion and dies by direct declaration.
Does any of this sound like the current state of our Church under the regime of False Prophet Pope Francis?
We have now heard this alleged 'Pope' say that 'Jesus begged forgiveness', that 'there is no punishment for lost souls', that the miracle of multiplying the bread and fish was really just about 'sharing', and on and on. Most recently via a much anticipated post-synodal Exhortation he unleashed further confusion, doubt, and uncertainty about the Church's position on giving Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried.
It's all a matter of interpretation.
We have heard a Bishop proclaim that we can reasonably hope all are saved, and a media apologist teach that Satan has 'many good qualities'.
We have watched a video mixing Shiva and Allah with Jesus Christ, witnessed Holy Communion given to protestants at the Vatican, seen the Dome of Saint Peter transformed into a light show honoring beasts on the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, and are left constantly wondering if the Church will change the teachings of Jesus – in doctrine or practice.
If you should dare to assume you are even remotely qualified to see this art or this movement in our Church for what it really is, you will be called a 'fundamentalist' and a 'hater'. You will be told you do not understand. Your mind lacks the sophistication necessary to discern what is beautiful and what is ugly, what is right and what is wrong, what Jesus may have said and what He really meant. You will be laughed at for clinging to 'old laws' and being narrow minded. You will hear that you are archaic and afraid to embrace the 'new'. You are in desperate need of learned critics, bearded professors, acrobatic theologians, trendy media priests, and colorful columnists to explain to you that you never really believed what you thought you believed and never really understood the infinite nuance of what you thought you knew after all. Shame on you for daring to think otherwise and be more careful from now on – or else – you will be told.
When you are confronted with these blessings labeling you 'dangerous' and 'hateful' for not approving and accepting of all, and when you are vilified for violating the New Commandment "Thou Shalt Not Judge – Ever!", and when you might feel a hesitation to speak up or a reluctance to justifiably detest what you see right in front of you, please take courage and remember these words:
Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen – "Real love involves real hatred: whoever has lost the power of moral indignation and the urge to drive the sellers from the Temple has lost a living, fervent love of Truth."
J E S U S
"When you see a cloud rising from the west, presently you say: A shower is coming: and so it happeneth: And when ye see the south wind blow, you say: There will be heat: and it cometh to pass. You hypocrites, you know how to discern the face of the heaven and of the earth: but how is it that you do not discern this time?"
– Gospel of Saint Luke –