July 2015

Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Pissing on the Moon (16th C). Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp.

I foresee churches with their Jesuit bureaucrats open daily from 9-5, closed on weekends. Georges Bernanos
Jesuits are blameless here but the point stands. The debacle at Our Saviour is a symptom of bureaucratic conditions more critical than any clash of taste in church décor. Umbrage over “the integrity of the art” is a red herring. If that were the essential factor, this would be a minor local foofaraw. But it is not minor; and the breach of trust on display extends beyond locale to the temper of our clerical bureaucracy itself. Continue Reading
Ken Woo. Christ Pantocrator in situ behind the altar.

Something unedifying is under way at the Church of Our Saviour, on lower Park Avenue in Manhattan. This alert from a knowledgeable source came Tuesday morning and has been circulating:
I am informed that having [been] officially appointed Pastor of COS, Father Robbins is in the process of removing the other icons and also wants to remove the large Pantocrator. The demolition is in process, and the intention is to finish it before anyone can protest. So immediate action is needed.
Continue Reading
Fr. Sean Connolly bestowing his first blessing to the Latin Mass congregation in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

I counted indulgences when I was a child. Quite likely, some of you did the same, though maybe not as fastidiously as I did. Every First Friday and First Saturday, there I was indemnifying myself against the wages of sin. My insurance agent was St. Helena’s Church on Olmstead Avenue alongside the IRT Pelham Line; my carrier, Catholic devotions in all their gaudy splendor.   Heinrich Voghherr. A Preacher Reading Out an Indulgence (16th C). Sparkhill Dominicans assured me His eye was on the sparrow. Continue Reading
Mazarine Master. Sassanian King Shapur II Persecuting Christians (15th C.) Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.                                                                         —Daniel J. Boorstin
“Religions die.” Those two words open Philip Jenkins’ The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died. It is a stark beginning. We prefer to keep our eyes on the West’s relics of a not-so-distant Christendom and avoid the sweep of Christian history filled with reminders of the transience of human affairs. Continue Reading
Tex Antoine (d. 1983) with Uncle Wethbee, a staple of NYC weathercasting for nearly three decades.

When did the online weather report become so rococo and alarmist? It was not until the ornate graphics reached critical mass that I started paying attention to the content’s mission creep. Garish and over-elaborate, Weather.com has swollen into the Gospel of Extreme Weather. The weekend began with Extreme Weather Events Will Be ‘Beyond Comprehension’ in Decades. READ THE STORY. Saturday’s forecast for my zip code huddled in the lower left corner of a blazing header that screamed: 20% of Bangladesh Could Be Lost to the Sea. Continue Reading