The link is here.
Make no mistake. This is what the man really is.
On a funnier note, I cannot imagine in the Orthodox (!) convent of St. George of Rajcica they do not know that Popes haven’t been using tiaras almost since the onset of the Age of Insanity; nor can I imagine that they are not aware of what a disgrace this man Bergoglio is.
Therefore, I can well imagine that the Tiara might carry a kind of, how should I put it, critical message:
Get back to sanity, you nincompoop! And remember you are the Pope!
The Disquieting Crucifix
Look at the crucifix above. It is Lello Scorzelli’s crucifix in the papal ferula used by John Paul II and now also adopted by Pope Francis.
I find this crucifix disquieting for more than one reason. Apart from the obvious ugliness of the Christ (an anatomical ugliness that can’t be ignored: a Christ clearly undernourished almost to the point of starvation, and with arms that seem to me out of proportion to his legs), and of the theological implications some have remarked (with the arms of the Christ upwards as in the Calvinist and Jansenist tradition, rather than horizontal in an obvious gesture of openness and embrace of humanity) and which go beyond my pay grade, what I noticed first is the absence of dignity the image conveys.
Even when I was a child and looked at a crucifix in all his crudeness, the magnificence of this suffering never failed to impress me. Even as a child, you know He is on the Cross, but you also know He is God. This goes as a common element through all the crucifixes you can find pretty much everywhere in Italy (and they are everywhere: school rooms, hospitals, even court rooms). A well-made crucifix conveys an idea of majestic suffering, of virile power. Even when Jesus is represented as thin, he is never starving. This is, if you allow the expression, an Auschwitz Jesus, and a Jesus utterly crushed. Not good.
Think again of the movie “The Passion Of The Christ”, that you have probably seen again just a few weeks, or days, ago. In the movie, the very crude representation of Jesus’ suffering (a crudeness sparing the viewer absolutely nothing) is never separated from the sheer power and manliness exuding from the figure of Christ. Even beaten almost to death, barely able to look at Pilatus, or suffering atrociously on the Cross, you know our Lord is, at all times, firmly in control.
This must also have been the impression he made on those who witnessed His Passion. It is clear from the Gospel Pontius Pilate was extremely impressed from his encounter with this astonishing figure, towering over him with words of immense majesty whilst beaten to death and covered in blood. The conversion of the Roman Centurion (centurions were very smart people; here the contrast with the violent, stupid and greedy soldiers is extreme) must also have not come in a moment, but rather have been the result of a long observation of the man, and the clear perception something absolutely out of the ordinary was happening in front of his eyes. I can picture this Centurion (Longinus, many say) observing the proceedings among the profanities and the coarse sadistic laughs of the soldiers, and seeing with his prompt mind what they were unable to see. There must have been a magnificence in this suffering, a dignity in this humiliation, able to move an inquiring mind to stop and reflect before the famous words Longinus pronounced.
I see nothing of this in Scorzelli’s crucifix. I see ugliness without dignity, and humiliation without greatness. There is a reason, methinks, why the traditional representation of Christ on the cross is different than this one.
Still, this is the Christ people will get to see every time the Pope uses the ferula.
I try to picture Pope Pius XII with a ferula like this, or St. Padre Pio praying in front of a crucifix like this; and something doesn’t square.
Niceness, The New Religion
From Father Z’s blog, a barely believable – if we lived in normal times – story about a canadian Catholic school. In said Catholic school the idea of having a crucifix in every classroom was in the past considered – for reasons I do not even want to think about – not really necessary. I know, I know…..
This year, this state of things changed and every classroom was equipped with his crucifix.
Thinking that this would make some explanation necessary (a crucifix: what will then that be, one wonders….), a teacher (and principal of the school) decided to give some “explanations” to every class in the school.
The explanation centered about Jesus not having physically risen from the dead. Not only Easter, but the entire concept of divinity of Christ, and with that of Trinity, goes herewith out of the window as I can’t understand why God would decide that he can resurrect, but prefers not to and tells us a lie about it instead, clearly allowing this lie to be believed for some 20 centuries before a Canadian minus habens comes along.
Because this is, according to one brave girl who immediately challenged him, what is all about: Jesus “never resurrected”, the whole thing is “like a metaphor that you follow” and, you know, “people have taken the Bible too literally”.
In the view of this “enlightened” teacher in a Catholic school, the “moral” that Jesus died is right but hey, “the story is wrong”. The man is, at this point, launched toward the creation of a completely new religion and dutifully delivers: “Because He died in our honour we should be nice to each other,” or if you prefer to put it another way “the crucifix represents helping others” and when the students look at it “that’s all it’s supposed to mean”.
And there, a new religion is born. This new religion, “BeNiceAnity”, has a vague flavour of Christianity and actually can even tolerate a Crucifix, but not without an explanation that says: “hey, don’t take it all too literally with this Christ: the chap is still six feet under (at which Mundabor would have asked: “where’s the body? Who has stolen it? Who has lied about it? Why?”) and you must just relax, be nice to each other and try to be helpful” (and, no doubt, inclusive).
I don’t want to think what private issues a man can have to want to blasphemously offend Christ in this way, in his role as teacher, in a Catholic school, but one doesn’t have to be a genius to see that they must be huge.
One would wish the chap all the best in his chosen new professional path. Whatever that is, I’m sure he’ll be better at that than he was at teaching.
Crucifix: Victory Is Ours!
In the very early days of this blog I wrote about the scandalous decision of the mickey-mouse tribunal called Europe’s Human Right Court (an organisation not even part of the EU and mainly created, as all these institutions are, to give jobs to the friends and the friends of the friends), that said that a crucifix in a schoolroom was, well, not atheist enough.
It seems a long time but it was, in fact, a little more than eights months ago. Today the matter comes to its provisional (and hopefully: definitive) conclusion with the decision of said mickey-mouse tribunal (appeal, this time) that er, no, well, the crucifix is a religious symbol but, er, ah, well, it also isn’t.
What has happened is, in my eyes, very simple:
1) the “court” is a motley conglomerate of well-connected, lefty cretins mainly without experience as a judge, or a legal background in the first place;
2) said cretins enjoy playing God, but they would also like to keep their, no doubt, very well paid jobs;
3) in order to do so they must avoid ending in the centre of the public opinion, their incompetence and ideological bias exposed;
4) their decision about the crucifix was clearly against point 3). They angered the Vatican and the Italian government massively, and the latter were certainly not isolated at all. In short, our cretins were biting more than they could chew.
5) A backpedaling was clearly in order, as otherwise the shutting down of this useless, senseless, non-Eu (“what”? Yes. “Are you sure?” Yes, I am) organ would have become a real possibility.
Only eight months after the blunder, the solution: the absurd decision (which everyone pretends to believe) that the Crucifix is a social symbol.
The Crucifix. A social symbol.
What’s next: that Muslims bow in direction of the Mecca because it’s good for your back?
Of course, crucifixes have a vast social importance in countries like Italy, or in places like Bavaria or rural France. A country that is Catholic in its very social fabric will obviously see its religious symbols acquiring a cultural role. They’ll be part of the landscape like the pizza, the Weissbier, or the baguette. But this role is there exactly because of its religious significance, not because, say, Italians like football, pizza, beautiful women and, of all things, crucifixes.
By all the efforts of my imagination, I really can’t see how the realistic depiction of a Man horribly suffering whilst being tormented to death can be something of a social phenomenon. Cricket is a social phenomenon, not crucifixes!
Be it as it may, the idea of the “social” significance has been the argument of the Italian government from the start. Gotta love these Italians, really 😉 : always ready to twist and turn with suave shamelessness, as long as they reach their goal 😉 . The “social” argument allows the Italian government to play “secular” whilst making very clear (what, make no mistake, more than 99,99% of the Italians will immediately grasp) what the real issue is and where the journey goes. At the same time, this kind of argument allows the above mentioned cretins (or their colleagues, equally concerned with their job) to backpedal in a halfway elegant way, keep their job, congratulate themselves on the continuation of the lucrative employment and promise to themselves that they won’t do anything so stupid anymore, ever.
Once again, I must point out to what I have written on several occasions: that the government of the rather uncontrolled Berlusconi is making things for Christianity that a Cameron would find not only inconvenient, but positively “intolerant” and “discriminatory”. Whilst I do not think that any of them has big chances of avoiding hell, my pint is on Berlusconi any day.
Summa summarum, the situation as per today is that a huge suppository is hovering around the offices of the so-called Europe’s Human Right Court.
I wonder whether the suppository is a social symbol, too.
The Crucifix, the Classroom and the Court.
I was born and raised in Italy. In those years, Catholicism was the “Official Religion of the State” and this was anchored in the Italian Constitution. A Crucifix adorned every classroom. This was, besides its obvious religious significance, a most natural cultural factor. The mere idea of questioning its presence would have seemed bizarre in the extreme.
Then came the (disgraceful) “Revision of the Concordate”. Catholicism was not the Official Religion of the State anymore, but the State recognised the “cultural role” played by the Church in Italy’s life. The Crucifix remained on the school walls, but in “superior schools” at the beginning of the year the teachers had to ask whether there was opposition to it. In my school of twenty classes, opposition never came.
Mind you, this was not because of the absence of atheists (sometimes rather vocal ones; Communists were, after all, still around), but because even the Communists and Atheists would have been ashamed of asking for the removal of something so naturally part of the country’s cultural backbone. It would have been a bit like declaring pasta “fascist” and in those years even the Communists possessed the basic decency to respect commonly and widely spread religious feelings. In short: even those who insisted in being wrong took care not to appear stupid.
There might have been exceptions. I am sure they weren’t many.
Not anymore, you might say, but you’d be wrong. The support for the Crucifix is still widely spread within the Italian society. The biggest party of the Centre-Right coalition (yes, that one!) and the biggest party of the Centre-Left coalition (yes, the one with the ex-Communists in it!) are both in favour. So are many of the smaller parties. So is, in his overwhelming majority, the Country. The Crucifix, some years ago challenged by a Muslim father because – hear this – it “scared his child” was even upheld by the Italian Constitutional Court.
All right, then? Well, er, no. A not-so-well-known organ called Europe’s Human Rights Court (constituted by an even-less-known supranational organisation called Council of Europe, nothing to do with the EU by the way) has decided that the Crucifix has to go. What the tradition, the people, the political parties and the judicial system of the country all consider right is actually, we are informed, wrong.
The Italian government has now presented an appeal, together with another dozen or so countries. Even if they should lose the appeal, I do not doubt that as long as the Centre-Right coalition is in power they will do whatever they please for as long as they please. Italian governments have this down to a fine art and the Italian electorate – always fond of the “furbi” – would like it a lot. I can’t imagine that they would just give up. They might even be hoping to lose the appeal and reap a rich harvest with the opposition to it, but that’s just me.
Still, I must reflect on a couple of things (three, actually):
1) this is what happens when a government consents to participate to feel-good initiatives only meant to create jobs and to show some humanitarian activism. Italy is no Zimbabwe. No, really. It knows a thing or two about human rights, democracy, and Crucifixes. Yes, even the actual Prime Minister 😉
2) I am fed up (as many of you I am sure are) with delegation of Sovereign Powers (at least nominally) to supranational organisations. If you ask me, it means to put your cultural patrimony at the mercy of a bunch of feminists (of whatever sex) and atheists largely of other countries. You don’t want that.
3) This must be reversed. Italy must (as every other European country) proudly re-claim the *right to decide for itself* in matters like this. It can’t be that a bunch of judges start to remould the cultural fabric of an entire Country against the will of its Parliament, Judiciary and people.
If we don’t wake up, we’ll all end up in the hands of a bunch of social nannies playing God at our expense.
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