Paglia & the Art of Transgression

The oddities of Archbishop Paglia’s 2007 commissioned mural stirred interest in other works by Ricardo Cinalli, the Argentinian artist who painted it. Why him? Of the ten artists who auditioned for the project, what recommended Cinalli above the others? Presumably all applicants were adept at the human figure, all capable of managing the demands of a large-scale wall painting. What was the distinguishing feature of the winning artist’s portfolio? Go ahead, take a guess:   Ricardo Cinalli. El Plato (1997-98). The bulk of Cinalli’s output—prior to and close to the time of the commission—exhibits a will to startle, an inner necessity to stick a thumb in the eye of Mr. Continue Reading
The Archbishop's Mural & The Homintern

Notices of Archbishop Paglia’s homoerotic mural began appearing in my e-box on Friday, with still more on Saturday. I regret not having paid closer attention before shrugging in dismissal. Diverted by art history and the aesthetics of the thing, I missed the crux of the story. Truth to tell, the screaming headline put me off: Shocker: Francis-appointed Vatican archbishop featured in massive homoerotic painting he commissioned. Maybe it was the word shocker. So often does that precede something that ought be no surprise to anyone, let alone a shock, that I did not read past the opening paragraph on LifeSiteNews:
The archbishop now at the helm of the Pontifical Academy for Life paid a homosexual artist to paint a blasphemous homoerotic mural in his cathedral church in 2007.
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Cohabitation & Mother Church

Anthony Spadaro’s recent blog post on cohabitation leads me to wonder if it might be time to retire that term Mother Church. Under the tenure of Jorge Bergoglio, the ancient maternal image of nourishment and protection for believers has shriveled to an empty figure of speech. The language remains—Mater Ecclesia—but the motivating substance is gone. What we are left with is a misleading personification, as susceptible to misuse as any other sentimental usage. Let us try the term Nanny Church. A nanny does not have the authority of a mother. Continue Reading
Gregory Baum, Michael Novak & Humanae Vitae

Gregory Baum does not know when to stop writing books. It would have been better if the man, at 93, had carried his secrets with him to the grave. Baum’s forthcoming autobiography, The Oil Has Not Run Dry: the Story of My Theological Pathway is an old man’s tell-all. Part confession, part boast, the book serves as an end-of-life apologia for Baum’s career as an influential theologian among the periti at Vatican II. Its sexual disclosures testify to the craving of the tell-tale heart to unburden itself while it is still beating. Continue Reading
Dr. Fell & Fr. Bergoglio

Jorge Bergoglio and a particular old ditty go together in my mind. Of all the nursery rhymes I treasured in childhood, the one I still recite—sotto voce and out of earshot of other grownups—is Tom Brown’s snub to Dr. Fell. “I do not like thee, Dr. Fell / The reason why I cannot tell. / But this I know, and know full well, / I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.”     This plucky little canticle of personal distaste was penned in imitation of a Martial epigram while Brown (d.1704) was a student at Christ Church, Oxford. Continue Reading