Shrine to Migrants in St. Peter's Square

Last month, in honor of  the Vatican’s World Day for Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis unveiled a three-ton shrine to migrants in St. Peter’s Square. Lumpen and inert, the addition is no surprise. Less and less is art conceived or promoted in terms of aesthetic value. It has become a form of advocacy journalism. Even in the Vatican, a repository of centuries of cultured achievement, political significance is the primary measure of artistic significance. St. Peter’s spanking-new monument squats in proximity to the luminous twin fountains by Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Continue Reading
The Vatican: Integral Ecology and Liberation Theology

The extraordinary Synod of Bishops for the Pan Amazon region, coming to the Vatican in October, is a very big deal. It would be a mistake for people to dismiss it as inside baseball among Catholics. Far-reaching issues of broad societal concern are at work here under cover of ecological ideals and social justice rhetoric delivered in a Christian idiom. Under cover of deep ecology, liberation theology has come in out of the cold. And it is gunning to even the score between the industrial West and the Third World. Continue Reading
Amazon Synod, part II

Please understand. There is no denying the historic cruelties visited on Amazon peoples. Still, they are hardly alone in that. Ruthlessness and barbarity have befallen every peoples on earth at some point in their history. Nor has it stopped. At present, it is Christians—not aborigines—who are prime targets  for violent persecution around the globe. Vatican emphasis on past affliction in the Amazon is a pretext for something else altogether. It is a seductive ruse for the synod’s anti-development, denuciatory, Marxoid serenade with native activists on the ocarina. Continue Reading
Amazon Synod Goes Dancing With Wolves

Before heading full tilt into the neo-pagan mirages of the Amazon Synod, a brief personal word is due. It will only take a second: “There is love and there is life. Yet we have but one heart.” That was the way Edgar Degas explained his failure to marry. If I were to borrow a variant of it to explain why this weblog has been silent recently, it would go something like this: “There is the studio and there is the writing desk. Continue Reading
Tears for Notre-Dame; Few for Sri Lanka

Do Catholics mourn sacred buildings more than each other? You will likely shout a dismissive “No! Of course not!” Nevertheless, the question occurs to me witnessing the significant contrast between the way Catholics have responded to the Notre-Dame fire and, within a week, the Sri Lanka massacre. While money floods in from around the world for the rebuilding of Notre-Dame, there is no such spontaneous rush to contribute to the lives of maimed and mourning Christians in Sri Lanka.   In great measure, veneration of Notre-Dame arises from reverence for symbols and abstractions. Continue Reading