Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Papal Medallions Pt.2

Here are some more Papal Medallions that one of my boys received as a Christmas gift. You can find the others in the May.7, 2011 posting.

 Once again...has anyone seen these before?


What is True, Good and Beautiful.......Moving Images!

This is a program that is needed....see a need ...fill it......awesome.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Catholic Mexico

BTS from our last trip to Mexico ( with a disposable camera )


 Perpetual adoration chapel

 Saint Pius X...with missing thumb

Viva Cristo Rey!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Passion of the Christ: 10 Years later

Within the last ten years the Internet has become an invaluable tool, so that you no longer have to travel for months or spend an incredible amount of money in order to enjoy art. This can become a danger as well. We definitely do not want to turn into a culture of armchair or laptop museum enthusiasts. Computers allow those who would generally be unable or uninterested to view art, to experience sacred art in a new and personal way.
An expert on Imagery Alison Griffiths makes her case for where you view art as being just as important as the artwork itself. She writes,

 “ What the medieval icon, panoramic painting, and motion picture share in common, on a phenomenological level at least, is their power to transform abstract ideas and representation of the world into a decipherable visual language that can be decoded by the spectator within an enclosed space.” (Alison Griffiths, Medieval Imaginary of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, Cinema Journal 46,No2, Winter 2007, University of Texas Press)

A filmmaker has a more powerful influence than an artist from a century ago, whereas a single painting can restrict you to the vision element. A filmmaker may add sounds and effects to tell you how an event actually took place and what it sounded like. This is evident in our media obsessed culture where virtually everyone relies on a news report or supermarket tabloid and takes it as gospel. However a nerve was struck with a feature film released in 2004. The film was “The Passion of the Christ” and everyone from the Pope to street corner theologians had an opinion. Australian Chris Eipper stated,

“Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ fused materiality and poetics, materiality and spirituality, as never before” (Chris Eipper, Moving Statues and Moving Images, Australian Journal of Anthropology, page 259, Latrobe University)

Like the boost of Baroque after the reformation, the Passion is equally aided by the cultural element of today. Society wants nothing to do with suffering. The Baroque style is emotional and exudes grandeur, which is why Baroque art dominates in the Passion. Chris Eipper makes his case by stating that you cannot be on the fence with this film, 

“The Passion of the Christ should be seen as the most sustained and unrelenting representation of penitential suffering ever depicted, an objective correlative designed to make indifference impossible.” (Ibid, p.260)

For it definitely achieved the desired effect by drawing people closer to Christ and those who did not know Christ began to ask questions. The incarnation aids us in this process. For we cannot make the Godhead visible. God comes to us in human flesh; he has revealed himself to us as the Word. Jesus Christ, the 2nd person in the Most Holy Trinity. This allows us to re-present Jesus, His life and teaching to others. Media outlets of all kinds were scrambling to decipher the popularity of the film. One reporter noted

“For believers the movie is not a docu-drama, but a religious experience” 
(David Gates, Newsweek, Mar.8 2004)

In the opening sequence of the film (approx 10 min mark) we have become witnesses to the moving image of one of Christendom’s most famous pieces of work. Caravaggio’s “The Betrayal of Christ”. Caravaggio uses illuminating light and dark shadows in a dramatic fashion to expose the reality of the world behind his paintings. In the original painting Caravaggio is placed at the scene with a lantern. The powerful irony of being betrayed with a kiss by someone that has a “personal relationship” with Christ reinforces the fact that obedience is important above all.

Two more works of art that I found familiar in the film were from artist Peter Paul Reuben’s (1577 – 1640) Mainly “The Raising of the Cross”, and  “The Disposition from the Cross” In the film it is a very powerful sequence around the 60:38:00 mark that only last 40 secs but seems like an eternity. The executioners turn the cross over and walk over the back of the beams to strike the backs of the spikes. This scene is such an odd disturbing sight that you actually feel like you are watching something that you shouldn’t be. For me this scene was key in getting lost in the movie, as I felt utterly helpless in everyway while watching my Lord be desecrated like that. Reuben’s painting does not turn the cross over completely but it still gives the effect of a total exposition of Christ and His complete obedience and surrender to the will of the Father.
In Reuben’s Disposition from the cross, the artist chose to keep the shroud that is carrying the body of Our Lord as pure white. In the film it is completely blood soaked.  Also the painting shows follower’s of Christ bringing the body down, where as Gibson chose to use Roman soldier’s and Nicodeamus as the ones who bring him down from the cross.

 The filmmakers of “The Passion of the Christ” have created a cinematic portal through which the average moviegoer can experience some of the greatest artistic imagery in the history of Western culture. The power of transcendence is what an icon is suppose to do, and when we can transcend the seat in the movie theatre the artist has done their job. Icons will continue to be an important part of the faith in our ever increasingly mundane culture. The young people of today are blessed with new tools in which they can continue the tradition of icons in a new and evangelizing way.

Clayton Richard Long

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blessed Pope Urban II

A thousand years later...what would Blessed Pope Urban II do today?

Council of Clermont 1095


Pope Urban II gave a Speech at the Council of Clermont in 1095 to garner support for a crusade to rid the Holy Land of the Turks who had overtaken most of Asia Minor. The following is an overview of different accounts of the Pope’s speech. Throughout all the accounts the same theme is repeated although using different methods of attraction. In some cases men are asked to mark themselves on the forehead or on their clothing with the sign of Christ’s passion, the cross.

Fulcher of Chartres states that Crusaders should fight so that more Christians are not killed and more Christian land is not occupied. The crusaders should fight because Christ commands it, not just the Pope. In this speech the Pope also appeals to remission of sins for those who will go out and fight for this cause.

Robert the Monk’s version of the speech of Clermont 1095 appeals to scripture verses. It is a very passionate speech that entices those who are listening that God is speaking to them through the Biblical scriptures. This version of the speech is very graphic and aims to tug on the hearts of every Christian who is listening. The descriptive tortuous acts are crying out for vengeance. Robert the Monk wants to compare fighting for the Holy Land to emulate that of nobility such as King Charles the Great.

The Gesta version is from an un-named source that focuses on the words of Christ. That if one is to be in eternal glory with Him one must suffer greatly. This version also mentions that the Pope traveled and spoke his speech everywhere he went to garner support.

Balderic of Dol version is an intense, spirited account that begins by painting the invaders as animals that should be flogged. Balderic writes that a true Christian soldier is one who kills for Christ and one who is prepared to die for Christ. The things of this world are not important (not even your wives). Balderic adrenalized the listeners by comparing this new crusading army just as important as the battles of Israel in the Old Testament.

Guibert de Nogent wrote an account that reminds the Christian faithful that they have been given a new life in Christ, and all that they have is owed to Christ, without Christians there is nothing. There is also an appeal on grounds of simple humanity and morals, even if one were not a Christian one should find the atrocities going on to be unacceptable. The Pope also gives his apostolic blessing to those who would take up this fight and blesses their family members under the protection of the Papacy as well.

Pax Christi

Holy Father Steps Down

Fratres carissimi
Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vita communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum.
Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene administrandum agnoscere debeam. Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commisso renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 20, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.
Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.
Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die 10 mensis februarii MMXIII


Monday, February 10, 2014