Crucifixion, Metaphor, & Marc Chagall

Born Moiche Zakharovitch Chagalov, Chagall never resolved his conflict between affinity for Yiddish culture and ambition to mark his place in the timeline of modern Western art. The tension took a toll on his instinct for painting. But let us not begin there. Better to start with Brad Miner’s essay “Marc Chagall’s Jesus,” for The Catholic Thing. It distills the reasons why Chagall’s work continues to resonate. And it provides context for “White Crucifixion” (1938), the best known of Chagall’s many interpretations of the crucifixion theme:
Chagall was living [for a second time] in Paris at this point, and news of the Kristallnacht pogrom and other attacks on Jews were the impetus for the creation of “White Crucifixion.”
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Facing Or Masking Ourselves

Here within the orbit of Manhattan, masks are not merely tolerated; they are embraced. Obedience to Covidian biopolitics elevated masking to a sacramental act. It has become the secular analogy to sprinkling holy water or making the sign of the cross. Merit accrues to a new ritual observance that effaces individual identity and desensitizes us to the complex role of faces in personal communication. This compulsive masking sharpens my memory of words that have stayed with me since girlhood: “By the time you are 40, you are responsible for your own face.” Continue Reading
Finger Food At The Lord's Table: A Chicago Tale

Finger food at the table of the Lord. That, apparantly, is the sum of the Eucharist in Cardinal Cupich’s bailiwick. His  diktats targeting the Latin Mass were broadcast over Christmas. In his zeal to erase—by piecemeal where necessary— the ancient protocols, Cupich’s broadside included even the Canons Regular who run St. John Cantius Church in the Chicago Archdiocese. [The order’s founding Constitution commissions its priests to restore a sense of the sacred in solemn liturgies. Central to their apostolate is the Latin Mass and the treasury of Tridentine liturgies.] Continue Reading
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Twentieth century authoritarian regimes were obsessed with cleansing the “unfit” from the national body. A revival of that toxic urge seeps toward us like gas under a threshold. The leakage is global. Nevertheless, recent news out of Germany provides a unique lesson in the tenacity of a malignant ideology. In mid-November, Germany’s Euthanasia Society declared COVID vaccination a requirement for physician-assisted suicide. Citing public health concerns, the nation that identified “life-unworthy-of-life” (Lebensunwertes Leben) redesigned the concept to include a newly despised caste. Continue Reading