Monks & Beer: 13 Paintings by Eduard von Grützner

Listers, Eduard Theodor Ritter von Grützner (May 26, 1846 – April 2, 1925) was a German painter and professor of art especially noted for his genre paintings of monks. Grützner was, along with Carl Spitzweg and Franz von Defregger, one of Munich’s leading genre painters in the second half of the 19th century. The paintings of Grützner are best known for their combination of detailed academic rendering with humorous and anecdotal subject matter, often depicting monks drinking.1

 

Other Lists on SPL

 

  Eduard Grutzner (1846-1925), Monch Mit Bierkrug. Oil on canvas.
Eduard Grutzner (1846-1925), Monch Mit Bierkrug. Oil on canvas.

In der Studierstube.
In der Studierstube.

Beschauliche Ruhe.
Beschauliche Ruhe.

Brotzeit.
Brotzeit.

Das Kartenspiel.
Das Kartenspiel.

Lesender Mönch mit Weinglas.
Lesender Mönch mit Weinglas.

Mönch bei der Weinprobe.
Mönch bei der Weinprobe.

Nach schwerer Sitzung.
Nach schwerer Sitzung.

Moine dégustant.
Moine dégustant.

Kardinal mit singenden und trinkenden Weissen Vätern.
Kardinal mit singenden und trinkenden Weissen Vätern.

Das Backhändl.
Das Backhändl.

Mönch.
Mönch.

Benediktinermönch mit Wein beim Frühschoppen.
Benediktinermönch mit Wein beim Frühschoppen.

  1. Taken verbatim from the Eduard Grutzner Wikipedia page; all paintings were taken from Wikicommons. []

In Dust and Ashes: 21 Images from the Book of Job

Listers, the following is the entire gallery of William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job. The gallery displayed is known as the Linell Set (AD 1821) and contains 21 watercolor pieces. There is also an earlier watercolor gallery known as the Butts set (1806). Later, Blake went on to recreate the images on engraved plates (1826), which is widely consider his greatest work in that medium.

“Therefore I reprehend myself, and do penance in dust and ashes.”

– Job 42:6

Blake never titled the pieces, so each title and respective verse was added later by scholars.1

 

 

Thus did Job continually.
Job 1:5

Job and His Family.
1. Job and His Family.

 

When the Almighty was yet with me, When my Children were about me.
Job 29:5

Satan Before the Throne of God.
2. Satan Before the Throne of God.

 

Thy Sons & thy Daughters were eating & drinking Wine in their eldest Brothers house & behold there came a great wind from the Wilderness & smote upon the four faces of the house & it fell upon the young Men & they are Dead.
Job 1:18–1:19

Job's Sons and Daughters Overwhelmed by Satan.
3. Job’s Sons and Daughters Overwhelmed by Satan.

 

And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Job 1:15

The Messengers Tell Job of His Misfortunes.
4. The Messengers Tell Job of His Misfortunes.

 

Then went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord.
Job 2:7

Satan Going Forth from the Presence of the Lord and Job's Charity.
5. Satan Going Forth from the Presence of the Lord and Job’s Charity.

 

And smote Job with sore Boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
Job 2:7

Satan Smiting Job with Boils.
6. Satan Smiting Job with Boils.

 

And when they lifted up their eyes afar off & knew him not they lifted up their voice & wept, and rent every Man his mantle & sprinkled dust upon their heads towards heaven.
Job 2:12

Job's Comforters.
7. Job’s Comforters.

 

Let the Day perish wherin I was Born.
Job 3:3

Job's Despair.
8. Job’s Despair.

 

Then a Spirit passed before my face the hair of my flesh stood up.
Job 4:14

The Vision of Eliphaz.
9. The Vision of Eliphaz.

 

The Just Upright Man is laughed to scorn.
Job 12:4

Job Rebuked by His Friends.
10. Job Rebuked by His Friends.

 

With Dreams upon my bed thou scarest me & affrightest me with Visions.
Job 7:14

Job's Evil Dreams.
11. Job’s Evil Dreams.

 

I am Young & ye are very Old wherefore I was afraid.
Job 32:6

The Wrath of Elihu.
12. The Wrath of Elihu.

 

Then the Lord answered Job out of the Whirlwind.
Job 38:1

The Lord Answering Job out of the Whirlwind.
13. The Lord Answering Job out of the Whirlwind.

 

When the morning Stars sang together, & all the Sons of God shouted for joy.
Job 38:7

When the Morning Stars Sang Together.
14. When the Morning Stars Sang Together.

 

Behold now Behemoth which I made with thee.
Job 40:15

Behemoth and Leviathan.
15. Behemoth and Leviathan.

 

Thou hast fulfilled the Judgment of the Wicked.
Job 36:17

The Fall of Satan.
16. The Fall of Satan.

 

I have heard thee with the hearing of the Ear but now my Eye seeth thee.
Job 42:5

The Vision of Christ.
17. The Vision of Christ.

 

And my Servant Job shall pray for you.
Job 42:8

Job's Sacrifice.
18. Job’s Sacrifice.

 

Every one also gave him a piece of Money.
Job 42:11

Every one also gave him a piece of Money.
19. Every one also gave him a piece of Money.

 

There were not found Women as fair as the Daughters of Job in all the Land & their Father gave them Inheritance among their Brethren.
Job 42:15

Job and His Daughters.
20. Job and His Daughters.

 

So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning.
Job 42:12

Job and His Family Restored to Prosperity.
21. Job and His Family Restored to Prosperity.

  1. William Blake: All images and information was taken from William Blake’s Illustrations on the Book of Job. []

The Story of the Magi in 12 Works of Art

isters, the Three Magi are wrapped in mystery yet remain an indispensable part of the Nativity Narrative. The term magi has strong connections to a Persian religious caste that produced pagan priests for Medes.

Listers, the Three Magi are wrapped in mystery yet remain an indispensable part of the Nativity Narrative. The term magi has strong connections to a Persian religious caste that produced pagan priests for Medes. It is arguably the same caste from which the Zoroaster of  Zoroastrianism arose. The priestly caste held much clout amongst the people and watched the stars as part of their religious adherence. Mitigating the pagan connection of the term magi, the sojourners were also known as wise men. The Western Church has traditionally celebrated three wise men: Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar. In contrast, the Syrian Christian tradition recounts the three magi as Larvandad, Gushnasaph, and Hormisdas, while the Ethiopian, Armenian, and Chinese traditions all hold to different names. Furthermore, no patristic Father claims the magi were kings nor is there a general consensus on how many there were.1

Adoration of the Magi. Panel from a Roman sarcophagus, 4th century CE. From the cemetary of St. Agnes in Rome.
Adoration of the Magi. Panel from a Roman sarcophagus, 4th century CE. From the cemetary of St. Agnes in Rome.

While the Gospel narratives lack many details, they do highlight the faith of the three wise men. The Gospel of St. Matthew tells their story:

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet:

And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them; And sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come to adore him. Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.2

The following pieces of art recount the story of the magi and their importance in the Nativity Narrative.

Gothic Style: 13th-century French glass at Canterbury Cathedral with the full story of the Magi and typologically related scenes. Canterbury Cathedral, upper half of Poor man's Bible window.
Gothic Style: 13th-century French glass at Canterbury Cathedral with the full story of the Magi and typologically related scenes. Canterbury Cathedral, upper half of Poor man’s Bible window.

St. Andrew's Anglican Cathedral, Sydney. The Magi, one of a set of 27 windows illustrating the life of Jesus and his teachings as described in the Gospels. manufactured by John Hardman and Co. of Birmingham, about 1860.
St. Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral, Sydney. The Magi, one of a set of 27 windows illustrating the life of Jesus and his teachings as described in the Gospels. manufactured by John Hardman and Co. of Birmingham, about 1860.

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men" (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar). Detail from: "Mary and Child, surrounded by angels", mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called "Master of Sant'Apollinare". credit Nina-no, wikipedia.
Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men” (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar). Detail from: “Mary and Child, surrounded by angels”, mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare”. credit Nina-no, wikipedia.

The Journey of the Magi, Stefano di Giovanni (1392–1450). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The Journey of the Magi, Stefano di Giovanni (1392–1450). Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The Journey of the Magi by James Tissot, 1894. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
The Journey of the Magi by James Tissot, 1894. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

The three Magi before Herod, France, early 15th century. Stained glass: colored glass, grisaille; lead. Restored by F. Pivet, 1999.
The three Magi before Herod, France, early 15th century. Stained glass: colored glass, grisaille; lead. Restored by F. Pivet, 1999.

Albrecht Altdorfer, c. 1530, the Adoration of the Magi. Oil on panel.
Albrecht Altdorfer, c. 1530, the Adoration of the Magi. Oil on panel.

Early Renaissance: Adoration of the Magi by Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Early Renaissance: Adoration of the Magi by Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Mannerism. Jacopo Bassano, the Adoration of the Magi. 16th Century. National Gallery of Scotland.
Mannerism. Jacopo Bassano, the Adoration of the Magi. 16th Century. National Gallery of Scotland.

Adoration of the Magi, Rubens, 1634. Baroque and Rococo style. King's College Chapel, Cambridge.
Adoration of the Magi, Rubens, 1634. Baroque and Rococo style. King’s College Chapel, Cambridge.

Early Medieval Western: German illuminated manuscript with two scenes of the Magi, c. 1220.
Early Medieval Western: German illuminated manuscript with two scenes of the Magi, c. 1220.

Massacre of the Innocents

Following the departure of the magi, Herod committed what is now known as the Massacre of the Innocents. The Gospel of St. Matthew 2:16 states:

Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

SPL has catalogued the massacre in the list The Massacre of the Innocents in 10 Works of Art

"The Massacre of the Innocents at Bethlehem" by Matteo di Giovanni
“The Massacre of the Innocents at Bethlehem” by Matteo di Giovanni

  1. The Magi: For more information about the Magi see The Biblical Magi and the Catholic Encyclopedia article, The Magi. []
  2. St. Matthew 2:1-12, Douay-Rheims Version. []

Our Lady of Milk: 20 Images of Mother Mary Nursing

Known by many names – Maria de la Leche, Maria Lactans, Nursing Madonna – the art arguably challenges certain modern Western sensibilities.

Listers, our Blessed Mother nursing the infant Christ has a long, rich, and multifaceted history within Sacred Art. Known by many names – Maria de la Leche, Maria Lactans, Nursing Madonna – the art arguably challenges certain modern Western sensibilities.1 More information and images may be found at the La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto Facebook Page and the Fisheaters Maria Lactans Gallery.

 

Maria de le Leche & Maria Lactans

 

"LA VIRGEN DE LA LECHE at the Letania de Maria: Marian Devotees of Rizal Exhibit  at SM City Taytay September 22-28 2013. Photo courtesy of Rodney Torres. Image under the care of Randy Fernandez." - La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.
“LA VIRGEN DE LA LECHE at the Letania de Maria: Marian Devotees of Rizal Exhibit at SM City Taytay September 22-28 2013. Photo courtesy of Rodney Torres. Image under the care of Randy Fernandez.” – La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

 

Parish of St. Sebastian, Lumban, Laguna, Philippines — at San Sebastian Parish Church Lumban Laguna. h/t La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto.
Parish of St. Sebastian, Lumban, Laguna, Philippines — at San Sebastian Parish Church Lumban Laguna. h/t La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto.

 

h/t La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.
h/t La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

 

"AT THE HOSPITAL LOBBY San Juan de Dios Hospital Pasay city, Metro Manila  August 17, 2012" - La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group
“AT THE HOSPITAL LOBBY
San Juan de Dios Hospital
Pasay city, Metro Manila
August 17, 2012″ – La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group

 

"AT THE HOSPITAL LOBBY San Juan de Dios Hospital Pasay city, Metro Manila  August 17, 2012" - La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group
“AT THE HOSPITAL LOBBY
San Juan de Dios Hospital
Pasay city, Metro Manila
August 17, 2012″ – La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group

 

"6th Veritas Grand Marian Exhibit SM Mall of Asia, Pasay city November 7-29, 2011" - La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.
“6th Veritas Grand Marian Exhibit SM Mall of Asia, Pasay city November 7-29, 2011” – La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto, Facebook Group.

 

Artist: Circle of Gil de Siloe   Title: Virgin of the Milk (Virgen de la leche)   Date:  c. 1500   Medium: Polychromed wood  h/t The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Artist: Circle of Gil de Siloe
Title: Virgin of the Milk (Virgen de la leche)
Date: c. 1500
Medium: Polychromed wood
h/t The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

 

Friesach, Austria, c. 1230.
Friesach, Austria, c. 1230.

 

"Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Leonard and Peter," c. 1270.
“Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Leonard and Peter,” c. 1270.

 

Maria Lactans, France late 14th century.
Maria Lactans, France late 14th century.

 

Taddeo di Bartolo, c. 1395.
Taddeo di Bartolo, c. 1395.

 

Brussel Hours, see http://www.faksimile.de/international/editions/productdetail.php?we_objectID=358.
Brussel Hours, see http://www.faksimile.de/international/editions/productdetail.php?we_objectID=358.

 

"The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen," about 1440, Follower of Robert Campin. See http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/follower-of-robert-campin-the-virgin-and-child-before-a-firescreen.
“The Virgin and Child before a Firescreen,” about 1440, Follower of Robert Campin. See http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/follower-of-robert-campin-the-virgin-and-child-before-a-firescreen.

 

Mary and Child - detail by Gerard David, 1490
Mary and Child – detail by Gerard David, 1490

 

Maria Lactans, Melchior Binder,  Bernhard-Maria-Altar (Lactatio-Altar), 1608.
Maria Lactans, Melchior Binder, Bernhard-Maria-Altar (Lactatio-Altar), 1608. via Wiki-Commons, Andreas Praefcke

 

Holy Family. 1714. oil on panel. 36 × 29 cm. Amsterdam, Museum Amstelkring.
Holy Family. 1714. oil on panel. 36 × 29 cm. Amsterdam, Museum Amstelkring.

 

Amesbury Psalter, 13th c., h/t Fisheaters.com
Amesbury Psalter, 13th c., h/t Fisheaters.com

 

Nuestra Señora de Leche y Buen Parto (Our Lady of Milk and Good Birth). This statue, ca. A.D. 1600-1620, is kept in the shrine devoted to Nuestra Señora de Leche y Buen Parto in St. Augustine, Florida -- the first Marian shrine in the United States. h/t Fisheaters.com
Nuestra Señora de Leche y Buen Parto (Our Lady of Milk and Good Birth). This statue, ca. A.D. 1600-1620, is kept in the shrine devoted to Nuestra Señora de Leche y Buen Parto in St. Augustine, Florida — the first Marian shrine in the United States. h/t Fisheaters.com

 

The Holy Family, the Workshop of Rembrandt, 1608. h/t Fisheaters.com
The Holy Family, the Workshop of Rembrandt, 1608. h/t Fisheaters.com

 

"The Miraculous Lactation of St. Bernard." This painting depicts the spiritual nourishing of St. Bernard by the milk of Our Lady, based on this legendary mystical experience: Bernard prayed before a statue of the Madonna, asking her, "Show yourself a mother" ("Monstra te esse Matrem"). The statue came to life and and squirted milk from the breast onto the Saint's lips. Artist: Alonso Cano, A.D. 1650 h/t Fisheasters.com
“The Miraculous Lactation of St. Bernard.” This painting depicts the spiritual nourishing of St. Bernard by the milk of Our Lady, based on this legendary mystical experience: Bernard prayed before a statue of the Madonna, asking her, “Show yourself a mother” (“Monstra te esse Matrem”). The statue came to life and and squirted milk from the breast onto the Saint’s lips. Artist: Alonso Cano, A.D. 1650 h/t Fisheasters.com 

  1. Sexualization & Puritanism: The Maria Lactans art arguably causes controversy due to two major themes in the Western world. The first is the modern notion or obsession of sexuality, which views the body as a means to the end of gratification. The second is puritanism, which categorically eschews nudity. Both pivot on the same error – the inability to view the human body outside the scope of sexual gratification. A woman’s breast is a prime example. The modern notion of the breast as a source of sexual gratification alone has reached a point that our culture esteems the perfect breast to be the fake breast. In contradistinction, the use of Mary’s breast in Maria Lactans stands as a sign of life, nourishment, and maternity. Particularly with Mother Mary, her life-giving milk nourished our Savior, who in turn would give his life-giving blood over for all humanity. []

The Massacre of the Innocents in 10 Works of Art

The Holy Innocents are the first buds of the Church killed by the frost of persecution; they died not only for Christ, but in his stead.

Listers, each year on December 28th the Roman Catholic Church celebrates those who died instead of the infant Christ. The “Holy Innocents” are recorded in St. Matthew’s Gospel 2:16-18:

Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Catholic Encyclopedia explains, “The Church venerates these children as martyrs (flores martyrum); they are the first buds of the Church killed by the frost of persecution; they died not only for Christ, but in his stead (St. Aug., “Sermo 10us de sanctis”). In connection with them the Apostle recalls the words of the Prophet Jeremias (xxxi, 15) speaking of the lamentation of Rachel.”1

 

“The Holy Innocents” by Giotto, c. 1304-6.

 

“Massacre of the Innocents” a 10th century illuminated manuscript.

 

“The Massacre of the Innocents at Bethlehem” by Matteo di Giovanni, 1488.

 

Cornelis van Haarlem, “Massacre of the Innocents,” 1590.

 

Peter Paul Rubens, “Massacre of the Innocents” c. 1610-12.

 

François-Joseph Navez, “Massacre of the Innocents,” 1824.

 

Haarlem, Cornelis “Massacre of the Innocents,” 1591.

 

Tintoretto, “Massacre of the Innocents,” 1587.

 

Bruegel the Elder, “Massacre of the Innocents,” 1565-7.

 

“The Massacre of the Innocents” by Brueghel the Younger, 1638.

  1. Sources: The introduction is taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia article Holy Innocents, the bulk of the artwork is taken from the Massacre of the Innocents wikipedia article, and the rest of the pieces are from various other sources. []

5 Statues of Mother Mary that are Unique (and Some Unsettling)

Listers, the inculturation of the Mater Dei by people groups throughout the globe and throughout the centuries has led to a plethora of beautiful and unique expressions of her maternal attributes. She is our Mother and our Queen. While displaying her regal and maternal characteristics has taken on various forms for various cultures, the themes have always been universal in Sacred Art. However, modernity has brought with it brand new mediums and new ideas on how to display marian motifs. The following statues are unique for one reason or another, sometimes for materials used or due to the circumstances around the statue. Others are complete deviations from Sacred Art and others are ancient themes that American Catholicism has been hesitant to embrace.

Those interested in the theology and veneration of Mother Mary may reference SPL’s collection of marian lists. Here are a few:

 

1. Our Lady of Peace

The Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara, California.

The statue, which some have called “the awesome Madonna,” was finished in the Summer of 1982. It stands higher than most three-story buildings. The 7200-pound statue rises to a height of thirty-two feet and rests on a twelve-foot landscaped mound. The head, hands, and feet are cast in stainless steel. The gown is constructed of welded strips of stainless steel.

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2. Our Lady of Breezy Point

Made famous by the devastating 2012 hurracaine “Sandy,” this statue of the Virgin Mary stands amongst the desolation of the community of Breezy Point, Queens, NY. The photo apparently first surfaced in a WSJ article and the “Virgin of Breezy Point” was mentioned on several main stream media news broadcasts. The statue is a classical representation of Our Lady made unique by tragic circumstances.

A statue of the Virgin Mary sits amid rubble in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., Tuesday. Fire destroyed at least 80 homes there as Sandy hit the beachfront community.

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In honor of Our Lady of Breezy Point, SPL had a graphic commissioned in her honor:

Virgin of Breezy Point VBP Final

 

3. Our Lady of Angels

Without question the bronze statue of the Virgin Mary above the doors to the LA Cathedral is one of the most controversial depictions of Our Lady in recent memory. The Cathedral has apparently described the statue as follows:

Mary does not wear the traditional veil. Her arms are bare, outstretched to welcome all. Her carriage is confident, and her hands are strong, the hands of a working woman. From the side can be seen a thick braid of hair down her back that summons thoughts of Native American or Latina women. Other characteristics, such as her eyes, lips and nose convey Asian, African and Caucasian features. Without the conventional regal trappings of jewels, crown or layers of clothing, she has a dignity that shines from within.

The statue has been mocked by conservatives as an ugly deviation from the long tradition of Sacred Art. It is common that various cultures will depict Our Blessed Mother as African, Asian, or Middle Eastern, but never before has a statue attempted to blend all these together. The statue’s lack of femininity and queenly garb has led many to comment that “it” looks gender neutral as well as ethnically neutral.

Not helping the statue is the Cathedral itself, which is a complete deviation from Sacred Architecture. The structure has been compared to bomb shelter and even a pagan temple.

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4. “Bombed Mary”

The “Bombed Mary” statue is actually the head and upper torso remnant that survived the US nuclear attack on Nagasaki. More reverently referred to as “Our Lady of Nagasaki,” the piece is often venerated on the memorial of the attack. Like the “Virgin of Breezy Point,” the “Bombed Mary” is a classical representation made unique by circumstances – in this case the horror of human warfare. His Eminence Cardinal Dolan has written about his experience with the piece:

Last week I welcomed the Archbishop of Nagasaki, the Most Reverend Joseph Mitsuaki. He pleaded at the United Nations for an end to all nuclear weapons. Lord knows he has immense credibility: he is now the pastor of the tiny Catholic flock of a Japanese city where 75,000 people were reduced to ash by a single atomic blast on August 9, 1945. On that day, Joseph was still a baby in his mother’s womb, and only survived because she was far enough away from ground-zero.

And something else survived: the head of the statue of Mary Immaculate in the parish church in Urakami, a village right aside Nagasaki. It was this skull of Mary that the archbishop brought with him to the U.N. and to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

And it is this head that is haunting: she is scarred, singed badly, and her crystal eyes were melted by the hellish blast. So, all that remains are two empty, blackened sockets.

I’ve knelt before many images of the Mother of Jesus before: our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Pieta, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, just to name a few.

But I’ve never experienced the dread and revulsion I did when the archbishop showed us the head of Our Lady of Nagasaki …

Our Lady of Nagasaki, pray for us.

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5. Our Lady of Milk

It is almost guaranteed that with an American culture  bookended by Puritanism and Pornography that these unique depictions of the Virgin Mary are sure to be found embarrassing, unsettling, or even disrespectful. However in other cultures that can still venerate femininity without declaring it evil or reducing it to sexuality alone, there stands Our Lady of Milk or La Virgen de la Leche y Buen Parto. There is even an entire Facebook group dedicated to the image. The following is a sampling of “Our Lady of Milk.”

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View an entire gallery of Our Lady of Milk statues and icons at Our Lady of Milk: 20 Images of Mother Mary Nursing.

6 Catholic Poems that Testify to God’s Love

Poetry is an excellent tool of praise and acknowledgement of all that God has given us. Perhaps not as simple nor as easily entertaining as prose would be, poetry has an added facet that is not as evident in prose.

Listers, the Catholic Church has a vast reservoir of beautiful poetry that testifies to God’s love for Creation and us. Poetry is an excellent tool of praise and acknowledgement of all that God has given us. Perhaps not as simple nor as easily entertaining as prose would be, poetry has an added facet that is not as evident in prose.

The beautiful aspect of poetry that sets it apart from prose is the added rhythm creating another layer of description that goes beyond words. For example, in the poem “The Hound of Heaven” I can almost hear the pounding of footfalls against the pavement. It as if with each step a word from the poem is pounded out against the ground. This rhythm creates a sense of urgency that one would feel in a footrace against God. I would argue that if Francis Thompson’s vision of “The Hound of Heaven” was depicted in prose, it would not have given the readers as much of an emotional impact at the prospect of being pursued by God and finally succumbing to His liberating love.

I have selected six poems by Catholic poets and writers who speak and write about God’s gracious gift of his love for His people. My advice is to read them purposefully and aloud to get the full effect. There are far more poems that are probably greater than these, but I selected some of my favorites (“A Child My Choice” is my particular favorite). Some are just excerpts because some of the poems are very long. For those you want to read the poems in total, you can click on the titles which are linked to the a page with the completed poem. If you are interested in more poems by Catholic or at least “Christ-haunted” poets, I would recommend the book Flowers of Heaven compiled by Joseph Pearce.

Now on to the poems (be prepared to be pursued by love and captured by God’s glory):

1.An Excerpt from the “The Hound of Heaven”

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days:
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine way
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I him from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat — and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet–
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”
–Francis Thompson

2. “A Child My Choice”¹

Let folly praise what fancy loves, I praise and loves that Child
Whose heart no thought, whose tongue no word, whose hand
no deed defiled.
I praise him most, I love him best, all praise and love is his,
While him I love, in him I live, and cannot live amiss.
Love’s sweetest mark, laud’s highest theme, man’s most desired light,
To love him life, to leave him death, to live in him delight.
He mine by gift, I his by debt, thus each to other due,
First friend he was, best friend he is, all times will try him true.
Though young, yet wise; though small, yet strong; though man,
yet God he is:
As wise he knows; as strong he can; as God he loves to bliss.
His knowledge rules; his strength defends; his love doth cherish all;
His birth our Joy; his life out light; his death our end of thrall.
Alas, he weeps, he sighs, he pants, yet do his Angels sing;
Out of his tears, his sighs and throbs, doth bud a joyful spring.
Almighty babe, whose tender arms can force all foes to fly,
Correct my faults, protect my life, direct me when I die.
–St. Robert Southwell

3. An Excerpt from “The Battle of Lepanto”

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man’s house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that swat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings’ horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign—
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate’s sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.
Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!
–G.K. Chesterton

4. “The Golden Prison”

Weep not for me, when I am gone,
Nor spend thy faithful breath
In grieving o’er the spot or hour
Of all-enshrouding death;

Nor waste in idle praise thy love
On deeds of head or hand,
Which live within the living Book,
Or else are writ in sand;

But let it be thy best of prayers,
That I may find the grace
To reach the holy house of toll,
The frontier penance-place, —

To reach that golden palace bright,
Where souls elect abide,
Waiting their certain call to Heaven,
With Angels at their side;

Where hate, not pride, not fear torments
The transitory guest,
But in the willing agony
He plunges, and is blest.

And as the fainting patriarch gain’d
His needful halt mid-way,
And then refresh’d pursued his path,
Where up the mount it lay,

So pray, that, rescued from the storm
of heaven’s eternal ire,
I may lie down, then rise again,
Safe, and yet saved by fire.
–Blessed John Henry Newman

5. “Pied Beauty”

Glory be to God for dappled things–
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
for rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced–fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.
–Gerard Manley Hopkins

6. An Excerpt from “The Quarry”²

1
He wasn’t alone. His muscles grew into the flesh of the crowd,
energy their pulse, as long as they held a hammer,
as long as his feet felt the ground.
And a stone smashed his temples
and cut through his heart’s chamber.
2
They took his body, and walked in a silent line.
3
Toil still lingered about him, a sense of wrong.
They wore gray blouses, boots ankle deep in mud.
In this they showed the end.
4
How violently his time halted: the points on the
low voltage dials
jerked, then dropped to zero again.
White stone now within him, eating into his being,
taking over enough of him to turn him into stone.
5
Who will lift up that stone, unfurl his thoughts again
under cracked temples? So plaster cracks on the wall.
They laid him down, his back on a sheet of gravel.
His wife came, worn out with worry; his son returned
from school.
6
Should his anger now flow into the anger of others?
It was maturing in him through his own truth and love.
Should he be used by those who come after,
deprived of substance, unique and deeply his own?
7
The stones on the move again, a wagon bruising the flowers.
Again the electric current cuts deep into the walls.
But the man has taken with him the world’s inner structure,
where greater the anger, the higher the explosion of love.
–Blessed John Paul II

St. Robert of Southwell, Pray for us!

¹This particular poem I dedicate to all of God’s children who left this world too soon.
²I couldn’t find of the full text of this poem in total, so there is no link to the entire poem.

Splendour of the East: 5 Byzantine Hymns All Catholics Should Know

“We, who mystically represent the cherubim, and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn:let us lay aside all earthly cares, that we may welcome the King of All, invisibly escorted by angelic hosts. Alleluia.”

1. Axion Estin (It Is Truly Meet)

It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos,
ever blessed, and most pure, and the Mother of our God.
More honorable than the cherubim,
and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim.
Without corruption thou gavest birth to God the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

The Axion Estin is the great hymn of praise to the glorious Theotokos, found in nearly every major service of the Byzantine rites. Believed composed in the 8th century by St. Cosmas the Hymnographer, it is ancient tradition that the first verse (“It is truly meet…”) was revealed by the Archangel Gabriel to a holy monk on Mount Athos, and this tradition is celebrated in a feast on June 11th each year.

2. Trisagion (The Thrice Holy)

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.

One of the oldest texts in the Divine Liturgy, it is believed that this hymn was supernaturally revealed by an heavenly voice during the reign of Emperor Theodosius II in the early 5th century. We know that it was used by the Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon, and it once had a presence in the ancient Latin-rite Gallican liturgy of France. Many modern Roman-rite Catholics will be familiar with this hymn through its inclusion in the popular Divine Mercy devotion of St. Maria Faustina.

3. Cherubikon (The Cherubic Hymn)

We, who mystically represent the cherubim, and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn:let us lay aside all earthly cares, that we may welcome the King of All, invisibly escorted by angelic hosts. Alleluia.

One of the most sublime hymns of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the Cherubic Hymn occurs during the procession of the Holy Gifts from the altar of preparation, through the nave, to the altar of sacrifice. It represents the uniting of ourselves with the hosts of heaven, in preparation for the great and awesome Mystery that will soon be made present in our midst. This hymn, of ancient origin, was added to the Liturgy by Emperor Justin II in the late 6th century.

4. Vasilieu Ouranie (O Heavenly King)

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, the Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life: come, dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O Good One!

Part of the “Usual Beginning,” this hymn occurs in the midst of a number of prayers used to open most of the Byzantine Divine Services. It is also a proper hymn of Pentecost, and is thus not sung during the Easter Season, being instead replaced with the great “Christos Anesti”.

5. Phos Hilaron (O Gladsome Light)

O Gladsome Light of the holy glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ. Now we have come to the setting of the sun and behold the light of evening. We praise God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For it is right at all times to worship Thee with voices of praise, O Son of God and Giver of Life, therefore all the world glorifies Thee.

This incomparable hymn, also known as the “Lamplighter Hymn” of Great Vespers, is the oldest recorded hymn in Christianity outside of the Scriptures. It was first referenced in the Constitutiones Apostolicae of the 3rd century, and St. Basil the Great considered the singing of this hymn to be one of the most cherished traditions in the Church. To this day, it is recited daily during Vespers by all those of the Byzantine rites.

 

More Music and Hymns from CL Davis:

5 English Hymns All Catholics Should Know
Glory of Rome: 5 Latin Hymns Every Catholic Should Know
4 Musical Analogies in the Writings of the Early Church

Glory of Rome: 5 Latin Hymns Every Catholic Should Know

O salutaris Hostia, quae caeli pandis ostium!

Listers, our study of the best hymns within the treasury of the Church continues with a look at the Latin hymns all Catholics should know. A previous look at the best English hymns can be found at 5 English Hymns All Catholics Should Know.

1. O Sanctissima

Mater amata, intemerata: ora, ora pro nobis!

Believed to be a traditional Sicilian mariners folk song, O Sanctissima is most often heard today on Marian feasts. In Germany and Spain, this hymn has become closely associated with Christmastide.

2. Tantum Ergo Sacramentum

Salus, honor, virtus quoque: sit et benedictio!

Really the last two verses of the larger hymn Pange Lingua Gloriosi, this sublime piece was written by the revered St. Thomas Aquinas, a talented hymnologist as well as theologian. Historically, the complete Pange Lingua hymn is associated most closely with the rites of Maundy Thursday and Corpus Christi. In more modern times, the Tantum Ergo has become a staple of the Roman rite of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

3. Salve Regina

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria!

The “Hail, Holy Queen” in English — and one of the four principle Marian antiphons of the Roman Breviary — the Salve Regina dates at least to the 11th century. According to legend, St. Bernard of Clairvaux was moved by divine inspiration to add to the hymn the final three-fold petition to Our Lady. St. Alphonsus Liguori found this hymn so beautiful that he wrote an entire treatise on it in his book The Glories of Mary. Every Latin Catholic should strive to memorize this beautiful song of praise to our Mother.

4. O Salutaris Hostia

O salutaris Hostia, quae caeli pandis ostium!

Another hymn written by St. Thomas Aquinas, this piece is actually the last two verses of the Corpus Christi hymn Verbum Supernum Prodiens. Along with the Pange Lingua, this hymn was written at the request of Pope Urban IV, who instituted the Feast of Corpus Christi in AD 1264. Today, O Salutaris is most often heard in the ritual of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

5. Ave Verum Corpus

O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.

A beautiful Eucharistic hymn dating from the 14th century, this has often been attributed to one of the mediaeval Popes Innocent, though historians are unsure of its actual origin. In the days of the pre-Tridentine liturgies, it was not uncommon for this hymn to be sung during the elevation of the Host at the Mass. Today, Ave Verum is most often associated with Christmastide and Eucharistic liturgies.

5 English Hymns Every Catholic Should Know

Triumph, all ye cherubim,
sing with us, ye seraphim,
heaven and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, salve, salve Regina!

1. Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All

Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore.
O make us love Thee more and more!

This Eucharistic hymn was written by Fr. William Faber. A friend of Bl. John Henry Newman’s,
Fr. Faber was a prominent cleric in the Church of England, who converted to Catholicism in the
midst of the Oxford Movement. He wrote several hymns, including the ever-popular “Faith of
Our Fathers”.

2. Hail, Holy Queen, Enthroned Above

Triumph, all ye cherubim,
sing with us, ye seraphim,
heaven and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, salve, salve Regina!

This classic English hymn is really a poetic translation of the ancient “Salve Regina Coelitum”
of the Roman Missal. Thanks to Whoopi Goldberg’s rousing interpretation of this hymn in her
movie “Sister Act,” it is even recognized amongst many non-Catholics.

3. Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign!

Attributed to the hymnologist Fr. Ignaz Franz, this is an 18th century German hymn, loosely
based on the text of the great “Te Deum”, that has become closely associated with the modern
ritual of Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

4. Immaculate Mary

Immaculate Mary, Thy praises we sing,
Thou reignest in splendour with Jesus our King!

Also known as the “Lourdes Hymn,” this triumphant hymn of praise to our Lady is believed to
have been written by Abbe Gaignet and adapted to a traditional French folk tune. When sung at
the Lourdes Shrine, there can be as many as sixty different verses!

5. To Jesus Christ, Our Sov’reign King

Christ Jesus Victor, Christ Jesus Ruler!
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer!

This powerful hymn, associated with the Feast of Christ the King, was written by Monsignor
Martin Hellreigel in 1941. Msgr. Hellreigel was a German priest living in St. Louis, Missouri at
the time, and offered this hymn as a counter to the dark forces of Nazism and Communism
sweeping over the world.

4 Musical Analogies in the Theology of the Church Fathers

“A beautiful breathing instrument of music the Lord made man, after His own image. And He Himself also, surely, who is the supramundane Wisdom, the celestial Word, is the all-harmonious, melodious, holy instrument of God.”

1. The Instrument of God

“A beautiful breathing instrument of music the Lord made man, after His own image. And He Himself also, surely, who is the supramundane Wisdom, the celestial Word, is the all-harmonious, melodious, holy instrument of God. What, then, does this instrument— the Word of God, the Lord, the New Song— desire? To open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf, and to lead the lame or the erring to righteousness, to exhibit God to the foolish, to put a stop to corruption, to conquer death, to reconcile disobedient children to their father. The instrument of God loves mankind. The Lord pities, instructs, exhorts, admonishes, saves, shields, and of His bounty promises us the kingdom of heaven as a reward for learning; and the only advantage He reaps is, that we are saved… This is the New Song, the manifestation of the Word that was in the beginning, and before the beginning.”

St Clement of Alexandria
Exhortation to the Heathen, ch. 1

2. The Universe as a Lyre

“For just as though some musician, having tuned a lyre, and by his art adjusted the high notes to the low, and the intermediate notes to the rest, were to produce a single tune as the result, so also the Wisdom of God, handling the Universe as a lyre, and adjusting things in the air to things on the earth, and things in the heaven to things in the air, and combining parts into wholes and moving them all by His beck and will, produces well and fittingly, as the result, the unity of the universe and of its order.”

St. Athanasius
Against the Heathen, ch. 42

3. Our Body the Organ – Our Nerves the Strings

“The Spirit, distinguishing from such revelry [of the pagans] the divine service, sings, “Praise Him with the sound of trumpet;” for with sound of trumpet He shall raise the dead. “Praise Him on the psaltery;” for the tongue is the psaltery of the Lord. “And praise Him on the lyre.” By the lyre is meant the mouth struck by the Spirit, as it were by a plectrum. “Praise with the timbrel and the dance,” refers to the Church meditating on the resurrection of the dead in the resounding skin. “Praise Him on the chords and organ.” Our body He calls an organ, and its nerves are the strings, by which it has received harmonious tension, and when struck by the Spirit, it gives forth human voices. “Praise Him on the clashing cymbals.” He calls the tongue the cymbal of the mouth, which resounds with the pulsation of the lips. Therefore He cried to humanity, “Let every breath praise the Lord,” because He cares for every breathing thing which He hath made. For man is truly a pacific instrument.”

St. Clement of Alexandria
The Instructor, Book II

4. Our Harmonious Music

“But the harmony [of the Holy Fathers] is broken neither by difference of periods nor by diversity of language; like the harp their strings are several and separate, but like the harp they make one harmonious music.”

Orthodoxus and Eranistes
Dialogue III

 

The Early Church Fathers
Those interested in the Early Church’s defense and teaching of apostolic succession may be interested in our fourth pope’s The Apostles Appointed Bishops: 9 Teachings from St. Clement AD 97 and St. Cyprian’s Those Who Start Their Own “Church” Follow the Voice of Satan. Though abortion is commonly misunderstood as a modern issue, the Early Church Fathers were quite clear is was a mortal sin: The Early Church Fathers on Abortion: 8 Quotes before AD 400. Moreover, against protestant falsehoods on infant baptism, one can read The Early Church Baptized Infants: 11 Quotes.

The Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration: 8 Teachings from Cardinal Burke

Listers, His Eminence Cardinal Burke is amongst the forefront of faithful Catholic leaders doing all they can to restore the Sacred Tradition of Holy Mother Church.

Listers, His Eminence Cardinal Burke is amongst the forefront of faithful Catholic leaders doing all they can to restore the Sacred Tradition of Holy Mother Church. In his new and first work – Divine Love Made Flesh: The Holy Eucharist as the Sacrament of Charity  – the good Cardinal displays his Eucharistic erudition in slowly and steadily moving the reader through a solid Eucharistic catechesis. The following quoted text is taken from Chapter Five: The Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration. SPL highly recommends Cardinal Burke’s book for all of those wishing to know the beauty and depth of the Sacred Tradition around the source and summit of our faith, the Eucharist.

The two primary sources upon which Cardinal Burke draws are Bl. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia and the gospel account of Lazarus’ sister Mary pouring costly perfume on Christ.1

St. John 12:1-11, Douay-Rheims
Jesus therefore, six days before the pasch, came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made him a supper there: and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not always. A great multitude therefore of the Jews knew that he was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests thought to kill Lazarus also: Because many of the Jews, by reason of him, went away, and believed in Jesus.

While the Cardinal speaks in a certain soft and pithy manner, the concentrated wisdom – especially the Scripture commentary – can truly clarify many common Catholic questions about the Eucharist and the liturgy. Foremost is the justification and basic biblical necessity to create sacred spaces that are suitable for the presence and the worship of God. The concept of a “Sacred Space” precipitates in us questions of proper decorum and decor. Moreover, the good Cardinal draws us into a conversation of an “Order of Charity” – showing us how the Eucharist, serving the poor, Sacred Tradition, culture and human creativity are all goods but demand proper order.

Divine Love Made Flesh by His Eminence Cardinal Burke on Amazon

1. Love of God is prior to love of neighbor

His Eminence begins by tackling one of the most misunderstood passages of Scripture:

“He teaches that the anointing by Mary is an act of profound reverence for His body, the instrument by which He has carried out our Redemption. He in no way calls into question the responsibility which is ours to provide for the poor, but indicates what is prior to our care for the poor and inspires it most fully, namely our love of Him, our devotion to His person.”2

Caring for the poor is essential to our salvation. The Old Testament reminds us that “whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.”3 Christ offers the same chilling lesson in St. Matthew 25 as he recounts how those who fed him, clothed him and visited him in prison will be saved and those who did not will be damned. However, our love of neighbor – with a particular predilection toward the poor – is inspired by and fulfilled by our uninhibited and direct embrace of Christ in the Eucharist. Here we see the Order of Charity that flows throughout all goods and orders them so that we may embrace them all properly and to their fullest. It is no accident that Holy Mother Church builds the most beautiful buildings in the world and feeds and educates more people than any other non-government entity.

2. Prepare the Upper Room

“The Holy Father [Bl. Pope John Paul II] reminds us of our Lord’s command to the disciples to prepare the Upper Room for the Last Supper. The Church’s special care for the celebration of the Eucharist reflects her faith in what takes place at the Eucharist; it reflects her deep reverence for our Lord Who is both our Priest and Victim in the celebration of the Mass.”4

“It was not at all uncommon for farmers to mortgage their farm in order to make a pledge toward the building of a fitting parish church. They had the faith of Mary at Bethany.”5

3. Eucharistic Decor & Decorum

The good Cardinal writes in such a way that the reader is drawn up into the relationship between the Eucharist and the love therein that moves people to great lengths to prepare Sacred Spaces for our Lord. Implicit in this affirmative tone is inclination for every single reader to compare this great truth to the building he or she worships in and in what decorous or indecorous manner they worship and receive the Eucharist. As Cardinal Burke states, there should be a “great awe before the presence of God Himself.”

“That is the reason why our churches are not built as meeting or banquet halls. It is also the reason why we should be very attentive to the manner of our dress and our comportment at the Eucharistic Sacrifice and Banquet.”6

“The outward aspects of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist express our interior devotion, in imitation of Mary at Bethany.”7

4. Sacred Art

“The development in design of churches and of their altars and tabernacles is not merely a reflection of the great art of various periods of the Church’s history, but most of all, a reflection of the profound faith in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.”8

Notice the momentum of influence. The Eucharist moves Catholics to proclaim the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in various forms of art. It is not a movement of the people’s tastes and opinion that must be somehow incorporated into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Catholic liturgy is centered on the Sacraments, not the parishioners – this is a vital and well discussed theme of Cardinal Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy.

“The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar.” – G.K. Chesterton

5. The “greatest jewel” of Sacred Music

“In the same way, sacred music has developed down the Christian centuries to lift the minds and hearts of the faithful to the great mystery of faith, which is the Holy Eucharist. Gregorian Chant is, of course, the greatest jewel in the body of music written specifically for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. As in the case with sacred art, there is a rich history of beautiful music written for the celebration of the Mass.”9

6. Speak out for Eucharistic decor and decorum

“It is a call for all of us to make certain that the Church is above all else “a profoundly Eucharistic Church.”10

There is much to be said of the strides Holy Mother Church could make in reclaiming her tradition if each individual simply focused on their own orientation toward the Eucharist and examined their own conscience; however, there is also much that could be done if parishioners began to politely and virtuously work against liturgical abuses and banal mass experiences.

7. Inculturation

“The proper term for rooting of the Catholic faith and practice in a particular culture is inculturation. Clearly, it is a delicate process because there may be elements of the local culture which need purification and transformation before they can serve the Eucharistic mystery.”11

“Inculturation must always be secondary to respect for the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, lest the greatest treasure of our faith be obscured or, even worse, disrespected. Any experimentation in inculturation must be reviewed by Church authority with the involvement of the Holy See “because the Sacred Liturgy expresses and celebrate the one faith professed by all and, being the heritage of the whole Church, cannot be determined by local Churches in isolation form the universal Church.”12

8. Liturgical law is love of Christ

“Blessed Pope John Paul II spoke frankly of abuses which have entered into the celebration of the Holy Eucharist because of ‘a misguided sense of creativity and adaptation.'”13

“Our observance of liturgical law is a fundamental expression of love of Christ and of the Church.”14

“No one is permitted to undervalue the mystery entrusted to our hands: it is too great for anyone to feel free to treat it lightly and with disregard for its sacredness and its universality.” – Bl. JPII  ((Ibid. 55))

  1. Mary Perfume: Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, and John 12. []
  2. Divine Love Made Flesh, 50. []
  3. Prov 21:13 []
  4. Ibid. 50 []
  5. Ibid. 51 []
  6. Ibid. 52 []
  7. Ibid. 52 []
  8. Ibid. 52 []
  9. Ibid. 53 []
  10. Ibid. 53 []
  11. Ibid. 54 []
  12. Ibid. 54 []
  13. Ibid. 54 []
  14. Ibid. 55 []

The Crisis of Contemporary Catholic Art and Literature: 4 Reasons Why You Should Care

Think of all your favorite Catholic authors (Chesterton, Tolkien, O’Connor, Percy, Greene, Powers). Besides being Catholic, what other common similarity do they all share?

Listers, think of all your favorite Catholic authors (Chesterton, Tolkien, O’Connor, Percy, Greene, Powers). Besides being Catholic, what other common similarity do they all share? The answer is: They’re all dead! (God rest them). Now try to think of just one famous Catholic fiction writer who you absolutely love, who you know will make an indelible mark on the history of literature in the 21st century, and who is still alive today. If you are like me, you really have strain to name one off the top of your head. I am sure there are several famous authors who happen to be Catholic, but their personal religious ideals and perceptions are not entirely made known in their writings. However, there are other writers who try to write beautiful stories but can’t get published, promoted, or recognized by the secular or many Catholic media outlets because they are too “religious” and are, therefore, too “unrealistic.” Somehow “religious” has become a synonym for “unrealistic,” but as Catholics we know that is certainly not the case. Our religion is our reality. So, when a Catholic writer wants to write what they know and they want to write about the reality of being a Catholic, they are then told by everyone else that their reality is not “real” enough. If that is not discouraging, then I don’t know what is.

Flannery O’Connor acknowledges the plight of the contemporary Catholic author. She says:

But I don’t believe that we shall have great religious fiction until we have again that happy combination of believing artist and believing society. Until that time, the novelist will have to do the best he can in travail with the world he has. He may find in the end that instead of reflecting the image at the heart of things, he has only reflected our broken condition and, through it, the face of the devil we are possessed by. This is a modest achievement, but perhaps a necessary one. — “Novelist and Believer,” Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000. 168.

I agree with O’Connor that this difference in ideology between author and reader is one of the reasons for the faithful Catholic artist’s plight. I believe, however, that the struggle of the contemporary faithful Catholic writer or artist can be lightened somewhat if the Catholic community and media rallies around them more. Therefore, I have composed a list of reasons why the Catholic community needs to take action against this crisis.

#1 The World Shouldn’t Define What It Means to Be Catholic

For some reason, in the 20th and 21st century, we have allowed the media to define what it means to be Catholic for the rest of the world. It is impossible to watch any sort of movie or television show portray the Catholic Church in the right way. I will never forget watching an episode of Sex in the City (Yes, I do think less of myself, and, yes, I went to Confession over this) where Carrie Bradshaw describes the Catholic Church “as a desperate 36-year-old single woman willing to settle for anyone she could get.” I savagely wanted to lodge my remote control in the middle of my television screen. Every time I read a book where there is a scene of someone in the Confessional, they have some pervy, plump, and puerile character who is suppose to resemble a priest give some trite, borderline heretical piece of advice while wringing his hands and using the phrase “my son” more than is natural for any human being. This misconception must stop or we will have a harder time being taken seriously by the rest of the world.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.” So how can we fix this? I believe that faithful Catholic artists and writers must create pieces of art and write works of literature that not only define properly what we are to the rest of world in terms of the universal language of beauty but spread the message of hope in an apathetic world. If our creative members shy away from creating because they are afraid of being ridiculed for the work being overtly religious, then we have no one describing to the world in universal terms what we are all about. However, the creative types in our community are not the only ones responsible for clearing up the the world’s misunderstanding of the Church. The Catholic media outlets need to promote and exhibit zealously the works by these marginalized people, and the Catholic community as an audience needs to seek out these artists and writers by giving them a chance and by supporting their work financially. It is by these means we can show the world what it really means to be Catholic.

#2 The Catholic Church Was Once the Main Source of Art and Literature in the Western World

Any art history aficionado knows that from the very beginning Christians began to express their love of God through the arts. Early on Christians started filling the world with images of the gospel from everything to the carvings of poems on crypts in the catacombs to the music they played and the stories they told. When Rome fell, the Church was left with the responsibility of preserving and protecting the creativity of the past all the while nurturing and developing the art of the future. Lovers of culture must acknowledge that the Church continued and advanced the skill and overall craftsmanship of art. Quite simply without  Christianity art might have not been the same.

When the age of modernity came, the Church began to lose art to secularism. By the time the 20th century came and gone, art produced by the Church or its members became more and more marginalized because somehow hinting or speaking positively about one’s faith became a mark of poor creativity. The world has taken the art that the Church so lovingly cultivated and preserved for everyone and has refused to allow to the Church to continue to participate in its development. Nowadays in literature when Christian lives and practices are depicted in any positive way, somehow that perception although true to the author is deemed less genuine and less beautiful by the rest of the world.

Fortunately Pope Benedict XVI addresses this issue in his 2009 speech to the artistic community:

Faith takes nothing away from your genius or your art: on the contrary, it exalts them and nourishes them, it encourages them to cross the threshold and to contemplate with fascination and emotion the ultimate and definitive goal, the sun that does not set, the sun that illumines this present moment and makes it beautiful. — Pope Benedict XVI, “Meeting with Artists: Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI” (November 21, 2009).

Authors and artists must learn once again not to be afraid of creating an image or a story about their deep love and search for the infinite. The members of the Church must make a conscious effort of seeking out these creative, gifted, and faithful individuals. Once they find one such laudable Catholic artist members of the Catholic media should exhibit them, so that the rest of the world might have a slight chance of recognizing once again that the Church has still something valuable to contribute to the cultivation of art and literature.

#3 Catholic Writers Need an Outlet to Share Their Catholic Experience

In the infancy of Christendom, the main way for the Gospel to spread throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world was by word of mouth. Then as the primary witnesses of the Resurrected Christ began to die off, the Church resorted to writing these histories for the sake of future generations. The writing of the New Testament was the beginning of the narrative history of the Catholic Church, but it didn’t just stop with Scriptures. The Church continued to record its history of those who served Christ in each generation. With each new era, histories and legends cropped up about courageous men and women who loved and served Jesus Christ. These histories and legends were beautiful written and were told again and again in different ways creating a tradition of beautiful storytelling.

However, what story is going to be told about our generation of Catholicism? How will future Catholics perceive the state of the Church in the 21st century? I fear that they will see this as the true dark ages or rather the silent ages of Catholicism. The lack of emphasis and development of Catholic culture through the marginalization of faithful Catholic authors and artists has forced many to bite their tongues and say little to nothing about their perception of their Catholic existence. Many writers feel that if they share their experience that they will be accused of “Bible-thumping” or “Rosary Rattling.”

Despite this, I pray that Catholic writers continue to write about the “authentic beauty” that is the reality of the Catholic experience. I suggest that Catholic writers should continue to be bold despite the rules of present day literary fashion and tell it like it is. Pope Benedict XVI writes:

Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence, the Mystery of which we are part; from this Mystery we can draw fullness, happiness, the passion to engage with it every day. — Pope Benedict XVI. “Meeting with Artists: Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI,” 2009.

I hope that artists and writers will once again create stories and paint pictures depicting this interaction of the profoundest mystery of all, God, mingling with the common occurrences of human existence. Writers and authors must capture or at least sketch for the benefit of humanity the reality of the sacramental gift of every day life.

#4 Art and Literature Is an Outlet of Worship

The Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila

Many people, including a great many Catholics, claim that if writers write with the specific intent of worshiping God in their work then they cease making a piece of art. I find this division between art and worship a misunderstanding of both what worship and art actually is. This separation creates a rift between the inspiration of Catholic artists from their actual creations. What if all artists were told that they were no longer allowed to use their muse to inspire them? We would find ourselves with a solemn “Mona Lisa” and not so terrifying “Scream.” For Catholic artists and writers their muse is the movement of the Holy Spirit in the every day moments of existence. To begrudge them from acknowledging the presence of God in their perception of the world around them is downright criminal.

To illustrate my point, I shall summarize The Clown of God by Tomie de Paola, which illustrates my point exactly. (N. B. I highly recommend reading this book) (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) The story is about a boy name Giovanni who grows up to be famous juggler. On his way to a city, he shares his meal with two Franciscan brothers, who say to him “Our founder, Brother Francis, says that everything sings of the glory of God. Why even your juggling.” Giovanni doesn’t understand this concept until one Christmas night when he was no longer a famous juggler but a poor beggar seeking shelter in a nearby Cathedral. He stands before the statue of the Mary and a very solemn Christ child. He decides to attempt to make the Christ Child smile and juggles the best performance in his entire career. He, then, falls dead at the foot of the statue. When the Francisican brothers find the dead juggler at the foot of statue, they at first believe that he committed an act of blasphemy, but they discover that the once solemn statue of the Christ-Child was now smiling and holding one of the Giovanni’s juggling balls (called the Sun in the Heavens). Giovanni who was a master juggler sought the approval of men in his work, but only reached the apex of his career when he performed for God. I believe that like Giovanni Catholic writers and artists must no longer seek the approval of the world but the approval of God in order to achieve true height of their career.

Odds are if a artist or writer actually ceased to care about what the world thought of their work then they would certainly become the typical “starving artist,” but I think this is where we Catholics must start caring once again for the survival of Catholic arts. If only we really supported these artists more with our attention, with our admiration, and (yes) our financial means, then Catholic artists wouldn’t feel the need to separate their inspiration from their creation. Quite simply we would save them from selling out their faith for worldly recognition. I am not suggesting that they should grind their axes or preach Hell and brimstone (although that would be fun to read and would prove to be unique in this day and age). All I am suggesting is that they shouldn’t be afraid to truly express their deep love of God in their work. Catholic writers, artists, and their audience must be like Abel give the first fruits of their labor and their attention to God.

Pope Benedict XVI writes:

Saint Augustine, who fell in love with beauty and sang its praises, wrote these words as he reflected on man’s ultimate destiny, commenting almost ante litteram on the Judgement scene before your eyes today: “Therefore we are to see a certain vision, my brethren, that no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived: a vision surpassing all earthly beauty, whether it be that of gold and silver, woods and fields, sea and sky, sun and moon, or stars and angels. The reason is this: it is the source of all other beauty” (In 1 Ioannis, 4:5). My wish for all of you, dear artists, is that you may carry this vision in your eyes, in your hands, and in your heart, that it may bring you joy and continue to inspire your fine works.– Pope Benedict XVI “Meeting with Artists: Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI,” 2009.

It is in describing their experience with this other beauty that artists and writers are able to at the same time create a great piece of artwork and express in no uncertain terms the greatness of the God of all beauty and truth. The audience of this great artwork and devout act of faith also get to participate in this sacrifice of praise called art by studying it, rejoicing in it, and proclaiming in uplifted voices “Amen!”

3 Literary Journals to Feed Your Soul

Catholic authors have to toe a very thin line when trying to write works that will testify to the Catholic experience in art and literature. However, this is difficult when trying to appeal to a secular audience.

Listers, contemporary Catholic authors are becoming more and more of an endangered species in the world of literature. Catholic authors have to toe a very thin line when trying to write works that will testify to the Catholic experience in art and literature. However, this is difficult when trying to appeal to a secular audience. The avenues of the exposure and promotion are becoming less and less available to authors who even hint in a belief in Jesus Christ. And, as anti-Catholicism increasingly grows the plight of Catholic expression in the arts becomes more perilous. The Catholic authors who we still cling to like Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and G. K. Chesterton are all dead, but there is seemingly no one left to pick up their standard and carry on the tradition of good literature that still sings (or in some cases, hums) about the grace of God. Or is there?

Blessed Pope John Paul II acknowledges the crisis of contemporary Catholic literature:

It is true nevertheless that, in the modern era, alongside this Christian humanism which has continued to produce important works of culture and art, another kind of humanism, marked by the absence of God and often by opposition to God, has gradually asserted itself. Such an atmosphere has sometimes led to a separation of the world of art and the world of faith, at least in the sense that many artists have a diminished interest in religious themes.–“Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists”

Although the Pope acknowledges the present crisis he calls for authors and artists to continue speaking of the beauty and wonder of creation and of God in their world. He says:

On the threshold of the Third Millennium, my hope for all of you who are artists is that you will have an especially intense experience of creative inspiration. May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir them to wonder! Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude– “Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists”

These struggling and rare artists must be supported, but finding efficient and reputable outlets are perhaps even more rare than finding the authors themselves. Therefore, listers, I have compiled a list of a couple of journals that I found helpful in sating my hunger for contemporary Catholic literature. (N.B. I encourage you all to check them out, and if you have the finances to support these or other Catholic publications that support and encourage Catholic expression through the arts please do so.)

1. Dappled Things

Dappled Things is pure Catholic joy. From the moment you open the journal, you will be inspired. Dappled Things includes short stories, poems, essays, and visual art by faith-filled authors, scholars, and artists. The artwork is uniquely exquisite with a wide range of styles from artists you may or may not heard of. My personal favorite of the artwork is the icon Our Lady of Merrimack by David Clayton in Fifth anniversary issue. The essays are edifying, interesting, and, at times, provoking in the good kind of way. However, my favorite aspect about Dappled Things is the editorial board is unafraid of exhibiting authors and poets who have a profound and deep love for Jesus Christ. In a world where it is taboo for an author to share the realities of Catholicism, Dappled Things is a voice crying out in the wilderness. One of my favorite short stories from Dappled Things is “Dirty Little Coward” by Gerald C. Matics in the 2009 Mary, Queen of Angels Issue. Here is a quote from Dappled Things about who they are:

The Psalmist invites us, “Come, let us sing to the Lord, and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us!” We the editors of Dappled Things invite you, our Catholic brothers and sisters, to sing and shout in our pages about our dappled world. Write about spotted trout and brinded cows, or write about the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We ask only that your work be inspired by your love for Him and His Church in the fullness of her Scripture and Tradition, her sacraments, and her communion of saints. –Dappled Things

2. Image


Although not strictly a Catholic journal (it is ecumenical including pieces from Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Islamic authors and artists), Image is unafraid of exhibiting and promoting many Catholic authors and artists. Each issue is filled with beautiful images of contemporary artwork. What makes Image really unique is the interviews they have with many of the featured artists in their publications. I have learned so much about modern religious art just by reading these amazing and stimulating articles. As a lover of classical art, Image helped me understand a little about the modern spirit of the contemporary religious artist (I love the interview they did with Marc Quinn in 69th issue). Their ecumenical listing of various authors and poets have helped me understand different cultures, but also led me to some wonderful authors who have been touched by the Christian tradition (especially the illustrious Thomas Lynch, undertaker and poet). They, like Dappled Things, are unafraid of allowing authors to speak about their religious experience, especially Catholics.

Few Christians have applied the concept of “stewardship” to culture itself. While it has been natural for Christians to see themselves as stewards of natural resources, or wealth, or the institutional church, there has been little sense of stewardship over our national culture.

Image speaks with equal force and relevance to the secular culture and to the church. By finding fresh ways for the imagination to embody religious truth and religious experience, Image challenges believers and nonbelievers alike. –Image

3. Pilgrim

Pilgrim is an online Catholic Journal. All of its content is free. But just because it is free, doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. In fact, the content is fantastic and exciting. The website consists of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, paintings, and photography. It not only includes and promotes contemporary literature and art from a Catholic perspective, but it looks back to older pieces of work and analyzes it from a contemporary standpoint. If you need something that will feed your soul, Pilgrim is the perfect journal for you.

How does Christianity, lived in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, affect the way men and women experience life in the world? What would an integrated, Catholic approach to life look like today? In what ways should it draw and depart from historical expressions of Christianity? How should it engage ideas and ways of living traditionally unassociated with the Church? Considering such questions, Pilgrim is committed to helping Catholics grapple intelligently and humanely with challenges posed to them both by the Church and by contemporary society. We explore what it means to sustain a Catholic identity and live Christianity holistically in today’s world. We also provide a forum for Catholics, and those sympathetic to Catholic ideas and approaches to life, to develop their capacities for criticial thought, creativity, and concern for one another and for all God’s creation.

6 Types of Catholic Churches: The Basics

There are many kinds of Catholic Churches, and each kind has further subclasses which make for a rather confusing classification system. Here is a quick list comprised of highlights from the Catholic Encyclopedia pages on various kinds of Churches.

Listers, there are many kinds of Catholic Churches, and each kind has further subclasses which make for a rather confusing classification system. Here is a quick list comprised of highlights from the Catholic Encyclopedia pages on various kinds of Churches.

1. Cathedral: The chief church of a diocese, in which the bishop has his throne (cathedra) and close to which is his residence; it is, properly speaking, the bishop’s church, wherein he presides, teaches, and conducts worship for the whole Christian community. What properly constitutes a cathedral is its assignment by competent authority as the residence of the bishop in his hierarchical capacity, and the principal church of a diocese is naturally best adapted to this purpose. Such official designation is known as canonical erection and necessarily accompanies the formation of a new diocese. [1]

2. Basilica: A title assigned by formal concession or immemorial custom to certain more important churches, in virtue of which they enjoy privileges of an honorific character which are not always very clearly defined. Basilicas in this sense are divided into two classes, the greater or patriarchal, and the lesser, basilicas.

  1. Major: To the former class belong primarily those four great churches of Rome…which among other distinctions have a special “holy door” and to which a visit is always prescribed as one of the conditions for gaining the Roman Jubilee. They are also called patriarchal basilicas, seemingly as representative of the great ecclesiastical provinces of the world thus symbolically united in the heart of Christendom. They possess a papal throne and an altar at which none may say Mass except by the pope’s permission.
  2. Minor: The lesser basilicas are much more numerous, including nine or ten different churches in Rome, and a number of others, such as the Basilica of the Grotto at Lourdes, the votive Church of the Sacred Heart at Montmartre, the Church of Marienthal in Alsace, &c. There has been a pronounced tendency of late years to add to their number. Besides conferring a certain precedence before other churches (not, however, before the cathedral of any locality), include the right of the conopaeum, the bell, and the cappa magna. The conopaeum is a sort of umbrella (also called papilio, sinicchio, etc.), which together with the bell is carried processionally at the head of the clergy on state occasions. The cappa magna is worn by the canons or members of the collegiate chapter, if seculars, when assisting at Office. The form of the conopaeum, which is of red and yellow silk, is well shown in the arms of the cardinal camerlengo over the cross keys. [2]

3. Chapel: The basic definition of a Chapel is an informal Church or a room containing a small side altar. There are many different kinds of Chapels. See the NewAdvent page on Chapels for more detail.

4. Oratory: As a general term, Oratory signifies a place of prayer, but technically it means a structure other than a parish church, set aside by ecclesiastical authority for prayer and the celebration of Mass. In the Latin Church oratories are classed as:

  1. Public: Canonically erected by the bishop and are perpetually dedicated to the Divine service. They must have an entrance and exit from the public road. Priests who celebrate Mass in public oratories must conform to the office proper to those oratories, whether secular or regular. If, however, the calendar of an oratory permits a votive Mass to be said, the visiting priest may celebrate in conformity with his own diocesan or regular calendar.
  2. Semipublic: Those which, though erected in a private building, are destined for the use of a community. Such are the oratories of seminaries, pious congregations, colleges, hospitals, prisons, and such institutions. If, however, there be several oratories in one house, it is only the one in which the Blessed Sacrament is preserved that has the privileges of a semipublic oratory. All semipublic oratories (which class technically includes the private chapel of a bishop) are on the same footing as public oratories in regard to the celebration of Mass.
  3. Private: Those erected in private houses for the convenience of some person or family by an indult of the Holy See. They can be erected only by permission of the pope. Oratories in private houses date from Apostolic times when the Sacred Mysteries could not be publicly celebrated owing to the persecutions. Private oratories are conceded by the Holy See only on account of bodily infirmity, or difficulty of access to a public church or as a reward for services done to the Holy See or to the Catholic cause. The grant of a private oratory may be temporary or for the life of the grantee, according to the nature of the cause that is adduced. [3]

5. Parish Church: A Church under the authority of a priest legitimately appointed to secure in virtue of his office for the faithful dwelling therein, the helps of religion. It must have besides the liturgical equipment necessary for Divine worship, a baptismal font (exception is occasionally made in favour of a cathedral or a mother-church; hence in the Middle Ages parish churches were often called baptismal churches), a confessional, and a cemetery. According to canon law, every church should have a stable income, especially land revenues, sufficient to insure not only the Divine service but also the support of its clergy. [4]

6. Crypt: An underground church, generally built among the dead. At first, crypts were sometimes as deepsunk as the cubicula of the catacombs themselves. Or they were but partly above ground, and were lighted by small windows windows placed in their side walls. Occasionally their floor was but little below the surface of the ground. [5]

The Glory of Catholic Art: Matthew Alderman Studios Presents 21 Must-See Images

MATTHEW ALDERMAN is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s distinguished classical design program and a noted expert and frequent speaker on traditional liturgical planning, church furnishing design and sacred art.

Listers, today SPL proudly presents the artwork of Matthew Alderman Studios.

MATTHEW ALDERMAN is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s distinguished classical design program and a noted expert and frequent speaker on traditional liturgical planning, church furnishing design and sacred art. Recently, he completed designs for an extensive range of furnishings, including a forty-foot-tall altarpiece, for the historic restored Catholic proto-cathedral of Vladivostok, Russia.

He is the illustrator of the Liturgical Training Publications edition of the new English-language Roman Missal and is also serving as a classical design consultant for the proposed St. Paul University Catholic Center in Madison, Wisconsin, with RDG Design and Planning as the architect of record. His designs, writing and original illustrations have been featured in such publications as Sacred Architecture, First Things, Antiphon: A Journal of Liturgical Renewal, The Living Church, and many others, while his original illustrations are in collections from California to Austria.

Gallery: Listers, to view the images simply click the thumbnail to enlarge and click the right side of the graphic to scroll through. The description of each design can be found at the bottom of the viewer. However, there are a view items of note. The stained-glass panel of St. Cecilia was produced by Lightworks Stained Glass, Lancashire, England off an original design by Matthew Alderman. The depictions of Our Lady, St. Luke, and Christ Pantocrator were created for the Harper Collins UK pew editions of the Sunday and Weekday Missals, Third Edition. The images of St. Peter and the Assumption were created for the altar edition of the Roman Missal, Third Edition by Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago.

Store: Like what you see? Matthew Alderman Studios has an online store. You can order prints, letters and even iPhone cases with these designs and more. Please visit: Matthew Alderman Studios Store.

10 Architectural Terms All Catholics Should Know

Let us remember and return to the rich architectural traditions of both the East and the West.

Listers, the following is a list of  basic architectural terms that imports the vocabulary necessary to understand the sacred tradition of Catholic architecture. Too many Catholic churches have suffered under ephemeral and malformed modernist cultural trends, resulting in embarrassing and fatuous structures. Let us remember and return to the rich architectural traditions of both the East and the West.

The following terms were taken from the architectural section of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception website.

Ambulatory

A covered walkway or aisle that makes the circuit of the nave and apses of the Upper Church, with chapels radiating to the east, the west, and to the north.

Apse

The vaulted, semi-circular areas to the east, west and north of the sanctuary in the Upper Church.

Baldachin [baldacchin, baldachino, baldaquin]

The free-standing canopy of four columns and arches above the altar in the sanctuary of the Upper Church. The term comes from the Spanish baldaquin or the Italian baldacco, which refers to the lavish brocaded material imported from Baghdad and hung as a canopy over an altar or doorway. The term also applies to the canopy used in Eucharistic processions and to that which covers the episcopal throne or cathedra. The most famous of baldachins is that of Bernini (1598-1680) in the Basilica of St. Peter.
Chancel In the Upper Church it is the area between the baldachin altar and the main altar.

Clerestory

That part of the Shrine, which would be a second “story” and “clear” of the floor, thereby allowing an unobstructed view of the roof. The large windows above the nave are Clerestory Windows.

Galleries

Spans the width of the narthex, the length of the nave and the chancel area. Located in the south gallery above the narthex are the Rose Window (Ave Maria), the South Gallery Organ (1965 by M. P. Möller, Op. 9702) and the bank of pontifical trumpets; in the east and west nave and the chancel galleries are the clerestory windows; in the west chancel gallery is the Chancel Organ (Möller, Op. 9702).

Narthex

The area of the church extending across the south side, between the nave and the vestibule. In former days, it was the area reserved for the penitents and catechumens.

Nave

From the Latin navis for “ship.” The central open space of the church, traditionally for the worshipping community. It is believed that in early Christianity, the symbolism of the ship related to St. Peter or the Ark of Noah.

Sanctuary

The area in which the baldachin altar is located.

Transept

A rectangular area which cuts across the main axis of the building. It gives the Shrine the shape of a Latin cross.

Vestibule

The area between the main outer doors and the main inner doors which lead into the narthex.

Dictionnaire Infernal: 24 Demon Sketches

The Dictionnaire Infernal (English: Infernal Dictionary) is a book on demonology, organized in hellish hierarchies.

Listers, if you are not already familiar with the Dictionnaire Infernal, please enjoy the artwork of this odd and intriguing text.

The Dictionnaire Infernal (English: Infernal Dictionary) is a book on demonology, organised in hellish hierarchies. It was written by Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy and was first published in 1818. There were several editions of the book, but perhaps the most famous is the edition of 1863, in which sixty-nine illustrations were added to the book. These illustrations are drawings which try to depict the descriptions of the appearance of several demons.

In later years, De Plancy rejected and modified his past works, thoroughly revising his Dictionnaire Infernal to put it in conformity with the canons of the Roman Catholic Church. This influence is most clearly seen in the sixth and final 1863 edition of the book, which is decorated with many engravings and seeks to affirm the existence of the demons. Collin de Plancy finished his career with a collaboration with the Abbé Migne to complete a Dictionary of the occult sciences or theological Encyclopaedia, described by some as an authentic work of Roman Catholic doctrine.1

  1. Wikipedia []