An Ugliness Befitting an Ugly Era
Thomas A. Droleskey
Those who are impressed with the errors of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church ceaselessly strive to surround themselves with the ugly images spawned by an epoch in the history of man in which all objective concepts of beauty and truth are said to be subjectively negotiable, that they must be "re-examined" in light of contemporary trends and developments. One pseudo-philosopher named Charles Peguy wrote the following quite telling summary of Modernity's need to confuse and agitate men and the world in which they live:
A great philosophy is not that which passes final judgments, which takes a seat in final truth. It is that which introduces uneasiness, which opens the door to commotion.
No "philosophy," no no work of "art," no composition of "music" is supposed to "open the door to commotion." All of our thoughts and creative works must reflect the beauty and the order of God Himself, Who is all Beauty and Order and Truth. Thus, all efforts to depict God and Our Lady and the other saints must communicate a non-negotiable beauty that is readily observable to all beholders. True beauty does not depend upon the "eye of the beholder." True beauty simply is what it is, astounding all eyes in utter amazement. The eyes of the saints in Heaven gaze upon Beauty Himself in all of His radiant splendor in the glory of the Beatific Vision. Although it is certainly true that the souls who loved God more on earth than others will appreciate the glories of the Beatific Vision more than others, there are no academic discussions in Heaven about the fact that the Beatific Vision is the most beautiful image the eye could ever behold.
The Queen of All of the Saints, Our Lady, reflects perfectly the beauty of God Himself, being His holy handmaid who was filled with grace from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception. Each of the seers of the approved apparitions of Our Lady in the past two centuries, for example, reported being overwhelmed by the sheer, incomparable beauty of Our Lady, the most perfect human being, conceived without stain of Original Sin, who had ever lived. Saint Catherine Laboure saw this beauty on July 19, 1830, receiving instructions on November 27, 1830, to have the Miraculous Medal struck for the conversion of sinners. The effulgence of the graces that are flowing through Our Lady's hands on the Miraculous Medal are but a very weak representation of the fullness of her glory and power as the Mediatrix of All Graces, Our Lady of Grace.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous marveled at the radiance of Our Lady in the Grotto of Massabielle outside of Lourdes, France, in 1858. Unsure at first as to who had visited her, Saint Bernadette simply called her "the beautiful Lady." There was nothing to debate, nothing to interpret.
Young Lucia dos Santos and her two cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were equally awestruck with the beauty of Our Lady at the Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal, fifty-nine years later. Seers in Pontmain, France, and Beauraing and Banneaux, Belgium, also reported the ineffable, breathless beauty of Our Lady when she appeared to them.
Images of Our Lady in art must convey the perfection of her beauty, inasmuch as it is possible for sinful men to capture the all sinless Virgin's beauty of soul and body. The miraculous image of the beautiful Virgin of Guadalupe left on the tilma of Saint Juan Diego on December 12, 1531, still attracts and astounds millions upon millions of pilgrims to her shrine in Mexico City to this very day. Our Lady left an exact image of herself on Juan Diego's tilma. Who would dare to deface her by making a mockery of her beauty, no less rendering her faceless?
Well, leave it to those whose job it is to propagandize in behalf of the conciliar and postconciliar revolution against the Church's traditional defense and patronage of beautiful depictions of Our Lady to distribute a grotesque monstrosity as a "Christmas card." The Vatican Information Service (VIS) sent out the following Post Modern depiction, painted by one
Alfredo Bikondoa, of "Madonna and Child" to its subscribers:
Some have begun to defend this faceless depiction as an attempt to "represent" all mothers and their children. However, Our Lady is NOT any mother. She is the Blessed Mother, full of beauty. The choice of this particular work of "art" to be sent to the subscribers of the Vatican Information Service is, sadly, very characteristic of the whole thrust of the sordid ethos of conciliarism, which puts into question all of the ways in which the Faith has been expressed prior to the Second Vatican Council. All of the traditional means of speech, writing, music and art have been cast aside in favor of novelties that, at best, introduce ambiguity into that which is certain, or, at worst, produce the very commotion and confusion desired by the afore-quoted Charles Peguy. You mean to tell me that with all of the beautiful images of Our Lady in the Vatican Museum that it was deemed necessary to distribute the grotesque image above? Whether or not the people running the Vatican Information Service realize it, their decision to use the image above speaks volumes about their preference for the tastes of Modernity and Modernism as opposed to their embrace of Tradition and Truth.
Contrast the faceless monstrosity above with the image of Madonna and Child painted by Blessed Fra Angelico in 1435-1436:
The aftermath of the Second Vatican Council has introduced ugliness and banality as standard fares in the life of the Church Militant on earth. Our beautiful church buildings have been gutted. Some, such as Saint Ann's in the City of New York, have been destroyed altogether. High altars, upon which the the all-beautiful, all-perfect Mass of the ages was offered for decades and decades, if not centuries in European churches, have been smashed with an abandon evocative only of the execrable hatred of all things Catholic by that monster named Oliver Cromwell. Entirely new church buildings have been designed and built to express Modernism's contempt for the sacred and its embrace of all that deifies man and his efforts to place himself on a level of strict equality with God Himself. Statues designed with exquisite care to reflect the beauty of the saints and their love for God have been taken out of our churches. Some have been smashed to bits by priests, believe it or not.
The Novus Ordo Missae was created synthetically by those who had a contempt for the beauty of the past, those who want to make fungible and thus ever-changing that which God Himself had taught the Apostles to offer before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory. Oh, no, prideful "modern man" knew better, rejecting the simple truth that the Missale Romanum promulgated by Pope Saint Pius V was received universally as the quintessential expression of the beauty and perfection that had been known for about 1500 years. Liturgical "music" has been composed that is banal, producing an environment conducive to the worship of self, not of God.
The madness is such that Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday, December 21, 2005, that Papal Masses should "set the standard" for all Masses. With all due respect, Your Holiness, there was no need for anyone to "plan" a Papal Mass prior to the events of the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. Popes simply did what their predecessors had done, say, for the better part of two millennia. A pope is supposed to hold fast to that which has been handed down to him over the centuries, not seek to "correct" abuses that are the result of abandoning Catholic Tradition in favor of man-made novelties that have produced nothing but commotion and confusion. How about restoring the Traditional Mass as normative and banning the Novus Ordo Missae? That's the only way to assure absolutely and in perpetuity that all future Papal Masses will be dignified.
The Pope's proclamation about the necessity of dignified Papal Masses, which were always the case prior to the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, came a day after he once again praised the "ecumenical community" of Taize, which is carrying on the work of a Protestant syncretist, "Brother" Roger Schutz, whom the Holy Father said in August had attained "eternal joy" following his murder by one of his deranged followers. How does the Holy Father know that Roger Schutz, a non-Catholic in life and to the moment of his death, has attained eternal joy? How? A private revelation? No pope has never sought to canonize a non-Catholic immediately upon hearing word of his death. The Diabolical Disorientation spoken about by Sister Lucia, who behold the beautiful vision of Our Lady and also saw the horrors of Hell itself, has taken such hold of the Vatican, it appears, that the entirety of the sensus Catholicus has been recast to attempt to conform the ugliness and commotion and ambiguity and confusion of the past forty years to be somehow compatible with the Church's authentic patrimony.
While protesting just today, December 22, 2005, that the Second Vatican Council did not represented a "break" with the "continuity" of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI said in the next breath that the Second Vatican Council found it necessary to present a "new definition of the relationship between the faith of the Church and some essential elements of modern thought." What His Holiness does not realize is his statement contradicts itself, revealing precisely why the Second Vatican Council does represent a break with the Church's continuity. (See, for example, Upholding the Revolution and Unambiguously Harmful.) All of the popes prior to 1958 who condemned the "essential elements of modern thought" would have to be wrong for the Second Vatican Council to be correct. Pope Benedict's new statement is simply further proof of the revolution against the past that is reflected so tellingly by Alfredo Bikondoa's monstrous "painting" of Madonna and Child. This is Diabolical Disorientation writ large.
How sad it is that these days before the commemoration of Our Lord's Nativity in Bethlehem, these days that belong in a special way to Our Lady and her chaste-spouse, Saint Joseph, have to be interrupted with the commotion introduced by the Vatican Information Service's distribution of Alfredo Bikondoa's "painting" of the faceless Madonna and her Child. These are days in which our attention must be focused upon preparing ourselves to celebrate joyfully the fact that the Word, Who had become Flesh in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb at the moment of the Incarnation, was born for us in poverty in Bethlehem so as to die on the wood of the Holy Cross and thus make us rich unto eternity. These are the days in which we must be attentive about preparing a proper room for him in our souls by making a good and full Confession of our sins and by spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in the quiet of sustained mental prayer. These are the days when we contemplate with great care and concentration on the Joyful Mysteries contained in Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary. These are the days when we offer our thanks for being the beneficiaries of such unmerited gifts as a Saviour Who was willing to die for us and a Blessed Mother who was ready to have her Immaculate Heart pierced through with a sword of sorrow so as to give spiritual birth to us in great pain as the adopted sons and daughters of the One she brought forth painlessly in Bethlehem.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to defend the honor of Our Lady even in the days before Christmas. It is necessary to point out how the faceless image distributed by the Vatican Information Service is but a symbol of the unrecognizable nature of what passes for Catholic "worship" and "art" and "music" and "speech" in the past forty years. It is necessary to call for acts of reparation against the offenses given to Our Lady--and thus to Our Lord, Who wants His Blessed Mother's beauty to shine forth without question at all times. It is necessary to call once again upon Pope Benedict XVI to cease the spread of the anti-Incarnational errors of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church by the proper consecration of Russia with all of the world's bishops to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Father Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist, said a few days ago that Satan had "entered" the Vatican. This is really nothing new. Even Pope Paul VI himself noted in 1972 that "the smoke of Satan had entered the Church." However, if Father Amorth would like to conduct an investigation of the adversary's influence in the Vatican, I suggest that he start at the Vatican Information Service and start exorcising the demons that possessed the people there to reject the glories of the beauty of Mary in favor of a post-modern monstrosity that demeans her so cruelly and is representative of the ugliness of an ugly era in Church history.
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Catherine Laboure, pray for us.
Saint Juan Diego, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Blessed Fra Angelico, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.