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Modern art's hatred of God and religion damages the human soul

Updated: Feb 28

Skeleton lying across the naked body of Marina Abramovic - a sign of the degeneration inheren

“There is a separate entrance for those who are uncomfortable squeezing through the nude performers” says BBC entertainment reporter Steven McIntosh about the Royal Academy exhibition of Serbian artist Marina “I am not a satanist” Abramovic.

There can’t be too many people left who are uncomfortable squeezing between a couple of nudies, and certainly far fewer once the generation of kids who have sat through graphic RSE lessons and watched middle aged men in suspenders gyrate in front of them during toddler story hour come of age. But the brilliance of her retrospective doesn’t stop there, visitors to this exhibition which runs until January 2024, will get to see Abramovic “Knitting, smoking, holding a candle and walking with infinite slowness, carrying a bowl of milk”.

Anyone who fails to get a ticket, can always come and visit my granny one mid-week evening so as not to miss out.

Icon Carver Jonathan Pageau says that Art should “unite opposites” but now appears as “a form of opposition”.

It is no coincidence that Christ was the son of a carpenter, a tekton, the son of someone who brings things together towards a purpose. Christ, of course, unites everything on the

cross and reveals our purpose in his resurrection and ascension. Good art allows us to participate in the life of our creator whose “ways are above” our ways, and “thoughts are above” our thoughts.

In “Questions concerning technology” Martin Heidegger described techne as “a mode of aletheuein (unveiling, truth)…whoever builds a house or a ship or forges a sacrificial chalice reveals what is to be brought forth.”

Art has the power to bind us towards that which is most important, which is also the task of he who holds the Petrine office. The Latin title for the Pope - Pontifex Maximus – means “bridge builder”. The Pope is a point of unity for the Church.

But as art and culture degenerate around us, so too does unity in the Church.

GK Chesterton writes “We do not want a church that will move with the world, we want a church that will move the world”. Yet the Church has been moving to the beat of the world for some time.

It is perhaps no surprise that it is the art of Marko Rupnik, with his ugly, twisted, 3 eyed figures that was chosen by Pope Francis to represent the year of mercy, since mercy under his pontificate, has, like the image itself, been twisted by many to exclude the need for repentance.

Modern art (and its hatred of religion) has had a destabilising effect on society by expressing a revolutionary vision of reality. It does not conform to traditional patterns which direct our gaze heavenward. Instead of “striving to interpret the hidden mystery” (Pope John Paul II letter to artists) it tries to take that which is at the bottom and elevate it to a place higher than it belongs. This is a revolution which declares that our thoughts are above Gods thoughts, our ways are above Gods ways. God is knocked from top spot and replaced by the world, the flesh and the devil. Art becomes, then, a tower of babel.

Duchamp’s urinal may be a perfect example of this attempt to take the lowest thing and elevate it in a way that reveals something of the newly understood purpose of man in a post enlightenment world. His moustachioed, ambiguous, transgendered Mona Lisa of L.H.O.O.Q makes a revolutionary statement that we see played out in culture, and against persons today.

Heinrich Heine’s observation that “those who burn books will, in the end, burn people” might be usefully applied to the degradation that we have witnessed in art over the centuries. It follows that the destruction and distortion of the image of God in art, ends with the destruction and distortion of the image of God in human persons.

A good artist reveals the fittedness of things, is able to bring various elements together in love and in doing so reveal truth. What is the truth that is being revealed to us as the Church turns away from traditional art and practice? (it doesn’t take a genius to interpret the gloved hands of the 5 th international Vatican conference). Kevin Smith’s 1999 film Dogma comes uncomfortably close to the bone.

In it we are presented with a new Icon called Buddy Christ, who is part of a campaign called

“Catholicism Wow!” to renew the image of (and interest in) the Catholic Church. Viewing the

crucifix images as “wholly depressing”, the church, led by Cardinal Glick (played by George Carlin) decides to retire it, and creates Buddy Christ as a more uplifting image of Jesus Christ. The icon consists of a statue of Jesus, smiling and winking while pointing at onlookers with one hand and giving the thumbs-up sign with the other.

The world has told us that assimilating with its standards will do the trick, but our plinky-plonk guitar masses, poor catechesis and desacralization in an effort to draw people to truth has had the opposite effect. Professor Stephen Bullivant observed, when examining rates of disaffiliation, that “…those who only inherit a weak or dead strain of Catholicism…will become inoculated against ever catching the live strain.”

These attempts to bend to the spirit of the age have proved disastrous. People recognise truth and beauty found in the ancient artistic and liturgical tradition. It whispers to them by flicker of candlelight, of God who lowered himself so that we may be brought high. It is what gathers people and unites them in continuity with a tradition that answers the deepest yearnings of our hearts.

In the spirit of synodal listening Pope Francis might welcome the voice of those who recognise that it is time to chuck out Buddy Christ and return to tradition. It is not a time to abandon it.

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In this photo of the nude and skeleton consider: in the painting or a very stylized sculpture the artwork will permit the most chaotic signification of a set of possibilities. On the other hand, in observation of this photo it appears that the skeleton is either an actual human skeleton or a plastic cast replica. In this case the image of the skeleton is either concrete or a facsimile. In that way it is not a signification. It Is the actual object observed. If the living human nude in the skeleton are real then there is no signification of the material reality, only the relationships between the figure in the skeleton. So we are looking at an acceptable necrophilia. T…

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