Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It has been quite a while since I have posted on any of my sites. There are many reasons, too much going on, still recovering from the death of my father last year, finishing my M.A. is historical theology and enrolling in M.S. in Church Management at Villanova and making my entrance into a Ph.D program at Catholic University in Washington. However, despite all  of these excuses on my part, the quality of Catholic Sacred Art is at perhaps the most destructive period since Henry VIII sacked Roman Catholic Churches during the Protestant reformation.While I have been busy, I have been diligent in visiting endangered Catholic sites in the area, and thankfully witnessing remarkable transformations of some Catholic Churches that have a restored sense of quality for the sacred, through design, materials and craftsmen.
, Saint
Earlier in the year I was made a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a distinction of knighthood that binds me to the preservation of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land. With the remarkable and fatal events ongoing in the Holy Land, all peoples living there need our prayers and help to restore the land that gave us the Incarnation, a restoration of fragile peace to a world of broken promises.

At the same time, we need to mount a campaign in our own United States against the silent sub-culture that continues to undermine the sanctity of our Catholic Churches through clousures, consolidations, vandalism and well...plain old mismanagement. Recently my own parish Saint John the Beloved added two new statues, one of Saint John the Beloved and one of Saint Francis of Assisi. They are not sacred art, but rather a standing illustration of the lack of reverence we have lost for qualitative craftsmanship in executing church art. They are composed of some sort of polyfiber compound and spray painted in the most unattractive tone of gold, right out of the Rustoleum spray can. Yes, indeed they provide a place for devotion. However our places of devotion need not scream, "Made in  China!" With all of the closures, consolidations and decommissioning of local parish churches, I am certain statues of these revered saints could be found  from a now suppressed site and relocated to a position of veneration sans gold spray paint. Everytime, a parish community orders items of this nature, without design consideration, without artistic participation and without considering the items qualitative ugliness, we continue to diminish the role of good stewardship to which we are all called as the People of God.

In the next few months, many dioceses and archdioceses throughout the United States will continue the swath of closures and architectural destruction of our Catholic historical story, told from not just the age of the Great Immigration periods, but also a complete disdain and disregard for the teachings of the second Vatican Council, 50 years young on the need for qualitative art and design to reflect not only our human efforts to glorify God, but our theological interpretative need to reorganize the Church as designed by Vatican II, and consistently hindered by lack of good design, lack of encouragement to the arts and crafts and an ignorance of the new ecclesiastical structure envisioned by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council. In this proclaimed year of faith by Pope Benedict XVI, we need to reclaim our living Catholic heritage and  appreciation for the functional reason for the arts, namely to give glory to God, assist our faithful community to worship in a prayerful and qualitative manner and finally strive
 for the quality we all seek in the Kingdom of God, here and now.
 The year of faith again calls for the aggiornamento of John XXIII, but this time when we open the windows we need to rid our churches of the clutter and clutter of poorly made, designed and implemented liturgical art and accessories. We as a living Church cannot cling to the 19th century holy card visions of religious art and remain satisfied that it glorifies God and aides us in faith. We need a reformation of the bad, and a yard sale of what is less than dignified for our Catholic liturgical worship and veneration practices.

Most especially, like the unfortunate burning of Savonorola, we need to burn all of those liturgical supply catalogues and call the faith to a higher appreciation of a new liturgical and spiritual Renaissance that was mandated in 1962 by Blessed John XXIII, continued by Paul VI and continues to resound in an liturgical and artistic subculture that wants their art and talents to give glory to God and the living Church which constitutes all of us.


No comments: