Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Can you imagine being a Christian without a powerful devotion to our Blessed Mother?

I know, I know, May 1st is Saint Joseph the Worker Day. But our Blessed Step Father would be a nobody without our Blessed Mother who would be a nobody without our Blessed Lord.

Which "Mary" do you love best in art or popular piety. For me "Our Lady of Perpetual Help" has
special significance for me for an important event when I was in the first grade.

But after I watched Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" I have to say that the manner in which Our Sorrowful Mother was portrayed was for me the most realistic portray of our Blessed Mother in art. She was believable as a human mother of our Divine Lord.

What about you? Kitsch or reality?


Anonymous said...

The Passion of the Christ (Gibson) was as kitschy as it gets. The "realism" of the movie was anything but, based as it was not on Scripture, but on Emmerich's "visions" and Gibson's traditionalist anti- semitism.

Anonymous said...

Kitsch? The Blessed Mother?


How anyone can scoff at the Blessed Mother after 70,000 witnesses to the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima and the 100% accuracy rate of the Fatima prophecies is impossible for me to understand.

The promises given to those who will honor Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrows are, in themselves, incredible. Even more so, a devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows is essential for overcoming personal defects, habitual sins and uncovering the generational spirits that have afflicted our families. Remember the words of Simeon to Mary: "This child s destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradictedl (and you yourself a sword will pierce)* so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Finally, I too have a special bond with Our Lady of Perpetual Help, because when I was not yet born, my mother dedicated me to her in the womb.

Anonymous said...

Gibson's movie is kitsch, not the BVM. Were the movie worthwhile, it might be considered religious film noir. It's not a particularly worthwhile movie, unless one is into imaginary 1st century Palestine gore.

Film Consumer said...

One cannot help but suspect that the first commenter is suggesting that Traditionalism = Anti-Semitism, which is, of course, patently untrue. One would also caution against attempting to "de-bunk" the visions of St. Anna Katerina Emmerich or any other visionary for whom the Church has found a credible basis for their personal revelation. While we are, by no means, obliged to accept their revelations, the Church would not permit us to consider them if they contradicted the Gospels in any way. And in Emmerich's case, they most certainly do not.

One definition I found of Kitsch offered this: art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

For anyone who has seen the passion, the film certainly presents unbridled violence and sorrow. Are they garish? Certainly not in the sense that many R-rated films are garish, appealing the the lowest human tastes. The film finally strips the candy-coating from the story of the Crucifixion. Mary's all-consuming sorrow isn't mere sentimentality, but openly demonstrates the sword of sorrow that pierced her heart.

If you want kitsch, look no further than older religious films like The Greatest Story Ever Told, which was, in fact, a fine film for its time. However one cannot help but snicker when hearing John Wayne declare "Truly this man was the Son of God."

The Passion isn't for everyone and that's why it earned its R rating. But denouncing the film because you don't like traditionalists, or denouncing Mel Gibson for his faith which has been too difficult for him to live--at least for now--denouncing it as "kitsch"....I dunno. I think that's kind of a cheap shot.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I agree with the two Anonymouses (Anonymi? :-) above: Gibson's movie is kitsch.

First of all, it seems to me Gibson is fascinated by blood and gore. So I think he made this movie to do the blood and gore. Other examples of bloody gory movies he was involved with include The Patriot and Braveheart. I'm not a big Mel Gibson fan, so I don't know if there are others that follow this pattern too.

The portrayal of the Blessed Mother in his movie was just not believable. I imagine the Blessed Mother being a lot like a cloistered nun who is no innocent to the world and the sins of the world. She also, being a woman of faith and love and living her vocation as a wife and mother, knew the capacity of mankind toward evil, man's capacity of inhumanity toward man.

I expect when she heard Jesus say things like "...did you not know I must be in My Father's house?..." or " then the owner sent His Son, thinking they will respect Him, but they said to themselves, 'here is the heir...let us kill him and then all this will be ours...'" it was a foreshadowing for her of his suffering and death. Certainly she knew the history of her forefathers, and the words of the prophet Isaiah. Certainly she knew that the Christ would have to suffer and die. Certainly there was a second "fiat," as it began to become clear her Son would have to suffer and die for the sins of the world, and for the salvation of mankind, and He was going to do so.

I believe Our Lady had a very real sense of all this, putting together the puzzle pieces in her own mind long before the events occurred. So when events began to unfold, I see her as solid and resolute as a rock, as was her Son, helping Him with her presence, PRAYING CONSTANTLY for God's will to be done, walking with Him, and bearing with Him the weight of the cross in the spiritual sense.

I know actors have to use their faces to portray internal emotions, but I do not believe Our Lady was as dramatic as portrayed in the movie. She was, in my mind, stoic, and because of that, the disciples (Mary Magdalene, John and the others) clung to her because they could see and feel her obvious emotional and spiritual strength.

Her steadiness steadied them, and helped them trust in God.

The actress of the Gibson movie portrayed Our Lady as a grieving, near-hysterical mother; confused, desperate, panicked, undone.

No. I cannot believe it. So in my mind, kitsch.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

No, I do not think that traditionalism equals anti-Semitism. I made it very specific when I said, "...Gibson's traditionalist anti- Semitism."

Some traditionalists, including Gibson, adhere to anti-Semitism. It can be expressed as denial of the Holocaust or support for The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as we hear from traditionalist former-SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson. Or it can be expressed in films based on visions.

"The film finally strips the candy-coating from the story of the Crucifixion." THE story of the Crucifixion is give to us via Divine Revelation. Much of what Gibson included in his movie was extra-Biblical.

I did not denounce the film. I think the film is, in many ways, poorly made. It certainly presents an un-Biblical "vision" of the Lord's Passion. Much of what makes it a poorly made movie comes, I suggest, from Gibson's traditionalism.

George said...

The Blessed Virgin Mary, the New Eve

The first Eve was fashioned by God from a man, and this man we know as Adam. The Son of God, the new Adam, was fashioned according to God's plan from a woman, who we honor as the Blessed Virgin and the New Eve.

The first Eve was created without sin. The second Eve was conceived without sin.

The first Eve was created directly by God, from a man- the First Adam, without the aid of a human mother; the Second Adam was created by God from a woman, the New Eve, without the aid of a human father.

The first Eve was seduced by the serpent and was complicit with the first Adam in bringing sin and death into the world. The second Eve, never knowing sin would, being the obedient instrument and humble servant of the Divine Will, crush the head of the serpent.

The first Eve was driven from Paradise because of her disobedience to God. The New Eve would be first among those in the Heavenly Paradise because of her willing obedience to God.

The first Eve gave her assent to a Fallen Angel and this brought sin and darkness into the world. The New Eve spoke her assent to a Glorious Angel and this would bring Salvation and the Divine Light into the world.

The first Eve disobeyed God and so her life would be one of sin and its deathly consequences. The New Eve, being conceived immaculate and being ever obedient to God, would escape sin and its deathly consequences.

The first Eve is known as the Mother of the all who is Earthly born. The Blessed Virgin, the New Eve, is the Mother of All who is spiritually re-born.

Pray to Our Lady
By St. Augustine of Hippo

Blessed Virgin Mary,
Who can worthily repay you with praise
And thanks for having rescued a fallen world
By your generous consent!
Receive our gratitude,
And by your prayers obtain the pardon of our sins.
Take our prayers into the sanctuary of heaven
And enable them to make our peace with God.

George said...

Autocorrect replaced "are" with "is" and so the below should have been:

The first Eve is known as the Mother of the all who are Earthly born. The Blessed Virgin, the New Eve, is the Mother of All who are spiritually re-born.

George said...

Mary, Blessed and Holy Virgin

Mystical Splendor of the Celestial Realm, Heavenly Fountain of Divine Grace, Holy Channel of God's Blessing, Radiant Lamp of Divine Light, Supernal Paradigm of Holy Virtue, Pre-eminent Embodiment of Divine Love, Unsurpassed Model of Divine Mercy, Exemplar in serving the Divine Will, Paragon of Holy Wisdom, Treasure of God's Creation.

John Nolan said...

In October 1866 Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a long letter to his father explaining his decision to become a Catholic. In it he remarks:

'I am surprised you shd. say fancy and aesthetic tastes have led me to my present state of mind: these wd. be better satisfied in the Church of England, for bad taste is always meeting one in the accessories of Catholicism.'

True enough. Yet Catholicism has also given rise to the greatest artistic and musical achievements of mankind.

A paradox, or evidence of genuine universality?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it was "Catholicism" or wealth that underpinned the significant artistic and musical achievements.

Were there poor churches, bishops, abbeys, etc., that patronized artists, enabling them to produce the "greatest" achievements?

The ability of the wealthy to support artists is universal, but is this an indication of the "genuine universality" of the Catholic faith?

John Nolan said...

Anonymous, you miss the point. Gregorian Chant was not commissioned by wealthy patrons, yet it is not only the greatest body of pure melody in existence and proper to the Roman liturgy which developed alongside it, it is also the fons et origo of all western music.

Tomas Luis de Victoria did not compose his exquisite liturgical music for mercenary reasons. Nor did Anton Bruckner when he dedicated his last symphony to God. Mind you, I get the impression that neither Gregorian Chant nor Renaissance polyphony figures large in the repertory of your parish.

The Byzantines would never tolerate an icon of the Virgin like the second picture, with a saccharine female face (with roses) that would make an advertiser of cosmetic products blench: yet it is undeniable that Orthodox iconography and music has not had much of an influence on secular trends.

So the western (Catholic) Church's tolerance of bad taste, as remarked on by Hopkins, might be evidence of inclusivity. However, in 1866 it had not taken over the liturgy to the extent it has since Vatican II.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan, your comment was "Yet Catholicism has also given rise to the greatest artistic and musical achievements of mankind." The Church, because she was wealthy, was able to act as patron to thousands of artists, musicians, window makers, and craftsmen of all kinds.

We both know the dictum, "There's no accounting for taste," so what one considers "bad" taste is another's preferred style. For some the heavily embroidered silks used in some vestments is more appropriate for a grandmother's living room furniture than for ecclesiastical use. Lace, to some, is the height of fashion in albs. Other's find it off-putting and too reminiscent of lingerie.

John Nolan said...

'There's no accounting for taste' does not mean there is no such thing as good taste and bad taste. It is actually a disparaging comment on those who cannot distinguish between the two.

You similarly misuse 'post hoc ergo propter hoc' which is a fallacy in logic, but does not mean that there is no such thing as cause and effect.