“Oh Maria keep my data safe”: semi-serious reflections on the taste of some Catholic merchandise.

Good Lord......

The Catholic Herald has a nice article targeting the questionable taste of much Catholic merchandise. The style is light-hearted, but the problem is real 😉

Yours truly also had his moment of shame, as the “luminous statue” therein portrayed reminded him of a similar (though technologically less advanced, no doubt) statue of Mary his sister used to have when a child. It was one of those blueish things which became luminous when you were in the dark. We darkened the room just to see it glow and were lost in wonder. Happy days.

In my eyes, there are two different problems:
1) the overabundance of tacky material and
2) the scarcity of good material.

I wouldn’t be too concerned with 1) as in the end de gustibus non est disputandum and if there is such a good market for these articles it means that a lot of people take the conscious decision of buying them 😉 . In the end, a questionable sacred image is better than no image at all and one can only be proud that Catholics do want to show their allegiance.

I am more concerned with 2), or the difficulty one has in finding articles in a reasonable price bracket which are not diabetes-inducing. I have looked for ages for a fitting Sacred Heart of Jesus for my bedroom. All the ones I saw had Our Lord depicted with an expression (I am sorry to say that, but it is merely a reflection on the quality of the relevant artist’s product) as if He had eaten too much chocolate, was not completely awake or had doubts about his manliness. I couldn’t imagine having any of such images on the wall of my bedroom for who knows how long and so I continued to postpone the purchase until I found a beautiful one from the excellent Southwell Books, (unfortunately not on sale anymore on that site) which instantly persuaded me. A manly Jesus, extremely expressive, with a serious but at the same time loving expression, looking straight at you and opening his arms to you in a beautiful embrace. Can’t look at it without a small act of contrition and a sign of the cross. No masterwork of the Renaissance, but the artist who made it surely put some thoughts into his work.

Same problem if you want to find a crucifix. The all-metal ones I always found too cold; plus, a lot of crucifixes nowadays have unconventional forms (the need to constantly re-invent everything is one of the most disquieting signs of the times….); the ones with a clearly plasticky Body I always found a fist in the eye; the “Christ on the Cross but surprise, already resurrected”-ones seem to me to downplay the message I want to get from a crucifix in the first place. I settled for a wood-and-metal one from the beautiful “Padre Pio Bookshop” near Victoria Station. Wood with metal body; very classic; timeless.

But try to find something nice about padre Pio to hang at the wall and the problems starts again (it would seem that tacky plastic statuettes are all the rage…..).
Also, still looking for a beautiful Padre Pio window sticker because I have no intention to settle for this, though I am sure it is far more stylish than the Sacred Heart of Jesus you see in the image above or the Maria USD stick whose inscription also adorns the title of this entry. A short google reaearch showed that you can buy it for EUR 59. For a USB sticker. I’m sure the producers will thank Mary, a lot.


Posted on August 4, 2010, in Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Mundabor — Wow, you really brought back memories in mentioning those fluorescent statues! They were all the rage. Are they still around? I, too, could hardly wait until it got dark to see the one a relative had in the guest bedroom glowing in the dark. Brilliant! Some of the ladies in the family had large fluorescent rosaries — five decades but because of the size of the beads, they were about the size of a 15-decade rosary. I really liked those.

    • Hello Churchmouse,
      well I do not know whether the traditional fluorescent statues are still around, but the article I mentioned shows a strange thing which charges itself during the day, I suppose it make a much better light but I am opposed ti such consumerism 😉

      I have read somewhere of people writing that it is good to have a fluorescent rosary near the bed as if one wakes up at night one immediately knows where it is. I assume one would find them on ebay if he looks long enough 😉 . Not my style of rosary I must say but, thinking of it, it would be an excellent way to introduce a child to the rosary, wouldn’t it?


  2. Yes, it would indeed. Plus, there are so few classic fluorescent items around now that children would be very intrigued.

    Even now, thinking back, I spent a lot of time looking at the statue and, when it was possible (because it was in another bedroom), catching a glimpse of the rosary at night.

    A rechargeable item just doesn’t seem quite right, somehow.

  3. Yes, I think the modern “diavoleria” of the rechargeable thingy is not what one wants. If I decide to be tacky, I want to be tacky in a time-honoured manner… 😉

    All this talking of fluorescent religious items makes me want to go on the ebay site and see what they have.. ;). Could it be that the CH article obtains the contrary result of what was intended ? 😉


  4. Who cares? The author of the CH article probably wasn’t even alive when we were gazing at fluorescent statues and probably doesn’t even know what they are. If s/he did, they’d be giving a thumbs-up today.

    You’ve got to figure that whoever is writing this is half our age, keeping in mind we’re not even really ‘old’. 😉

    If you do check eBay — maybe Amazon has some, too — please update us! Many thanks! 🙂

  5. Oh, that’s the ticket! 🙂 Yes, indeed, we’re on! 🙂

    Thanks so much, Mundabor! 🙂 May I just say … BRILLIANT! 🙂

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