Saturday, March 31, 2007

Really offending my Catholic sensibilities

For those who wonder why I like to take shots at Bill Donohue and people like them, it's simply this: More often than not he (along with the media who gives him so much play) makes us all--and our Catholic faith--look petty and irrelevant. While Donohue is foaming at the mouth over a piece of art that few will ever see, much less comment intelligently upon, fresh allegations of torture constantly crop up from Guantanamo and elsewhere. Whether those allegations have merit or not, there is no denying that holding people outdoors in cages without charges is a violation of their human rights. Yet I don't hear Bill Donohue or even many bishops for that matter rising in outrage, denouncing this as an extreme violation of "Catholic sensibilities"--you know, the sensibilities that recognize in every human person the image of God, who insist that every human life is of infinite worth.

Perhaps the world would be more willing to listen if we weren't wasting our time on irrelevancies like chocolate Jesuses. Perhaps if we were more robust in our defense of the human dignity of those labeled "terrorists"--whether they're guilty or not--our words on behalf of the unborn, the disabled, the terminally ill, might have more credibility.

Friday, March 30, 2007

200 pounds of spare chocolate

According to a just-released statement, the Roger Smith Hotel has canceled the appearance of "My Sweet Lord"--a.k.a. Chocolate Jesus.

Crisis averted--until he shows up in some other gallery in New York, where there are plenty.

It's really too bad that Bill Donohue and his media conspirers have shut down any possible intelligent conversation about this piece, which may actually have a point. After all, hasn't Easter largely been reduced to a candy binge? What better way to make that point than with a chocolate Jesus--remembering that there will be many chocolate crosses (!!!) in Easter baskets all over the place! Even the fact that it's edible: Don't we Catholics believe that we "eat Jesus"--in the sacramental species--every Sunday. So don't tell me that "My Sweet Lord" is completely lacking in artistic, even theological, merit.

I think we could use a little growing up here.

And, finally, for whom does the Catholic League actually speak? I'll never understand how Bill Donohue became THE spokesman--without portfolio--for American Catholics. As if. Just goes to show what a fat checkbook and a big mouth can get away with.

What not to put in your Easter basket

William Donahue of the Catholic League, who must have taken classes in public tantrum-throwing, is not surprisingly denouncing a life-size, anatomically correct sculpture of Jesus made of milk chocolate that will be appearing next week through Easter Sunday in a gallery in New York. "My Sweet Lord" by Cosimo Cavallaro, according to ABC News, apparently lacks a loincloth. Oh dear.

"This is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever," said Donohue. "It's not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing to choose Holy Week is astounding." Donahue promises to bankrupt the Roger Smith Hotel, which houses the gallery, as well. ABC refers to the Catholic League as a "watchdog group"; the dog in this case is particularly high-strung. Surely one day his head is going to explode. I mean, really, is this the worst EVER?

Not to be outdone, the gallery's creative director was shocked, just shocked, that anyone might take offense, pointing out the the sculpture's appearance during Holy Week was a coincidence (wink, wink--though I guess it's entirely possible). "We're obviously surprised by the overwhelming response and offense people have taken." Come on--surely he didn't say that with a straight face. I mean, it is Jesus in a bar of chocolate.

That said, I think the greatest sin here might be the waste of 200 pounds of high-quality milk chocolate, which offends my gastronomic sensibilities but not my Catholic ones. Besides, why can't chocolate be an appropriate medium for sculpture? Who says Jesus can only be sculpted in marble? Besides, not too long ago I think I posted about a woman who saw the Virgin Mary in chocolate drippings, though no one denounced her as impious for suggesting that Our Lady might be able to manifest herself as a naturally occurring confection. Someone call Catholic League.

As for the sculpture's full frontal "anatomical correctness," let us not forget that the Romans didn't give Jesus the courtesy of a loincloth either.

I just can't help myself

Blogging as part of one's job may be more financially rewarding, but it's just not as much fun. So CtotheL is back again, though probably not quite as often. Hope all five of you are still out there somewhere....