Noelle Mering is the Arts and Culture editor and social media manager for helenadaily.com. She studied philosophy and theatre at Westmont College in California and did graduate work in philosophy at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Noelle and her husband live in Southern California with their six children.
The outrage coming on the heels of The Met Gala was as expected as it was justified. Not as much for the exhibit itself, which I found to be lovely from what I’ve gleaned of it, but for the celebrity attendees who, I can only surmise by their attire, mostly see the Church as something to ridicule. But outrage wasn’t an emotion I was able to drum up. What was more interesting was that the art establishment was acknowledging and paying homage to the richness and enduring beauty of this aspect of the Catholic Church.
In contrast, the provocations on the red carpet seemed... boring.
There stood the latest debauched young starlet with her edgy underwear showing and her pout perfected.
Revolting against the Church since the 1980s was Madonna, at a gala tailor-made for her — and yet while her shtick hasn’t changed, she has. Age and mortality are escaped by no one, but for an icon of the sexual revolution they are particularly unwelcome. For what was the revolution fought, but for pleasure at any cost and on our own terms? And if it’s about her pleasure on her terms then it’s also about his pleasure on his terms. What love can endure that? And what woman won’t be discarded for a more pleasure-inducing (younger) paramour?
Among all of this, the pieces of the exhibit and the Church herself stood dignified. While the celebrities fought for the glorification of themselves, these beautiful, historical garments pointed to something else — to Someone else.
I wonder if they know how tired this revolution is. Every time a person is used and discarded at the altar of someone’s pleasure, the revolution depletes itself. At some point it’ll be exhausted.
What we all want is love. A love that endures, sacrifices, gives. A love that the self-consuming sexual revolution cannot make sense of. God’s eternal and life-giving love will always outlast the latest noisy revolt against it.
The museum pieces on loan from Rome present beauty — not the beauty of a botoxed and spray-tanned celebrity upon whom hungry eyes look and dream of devouring, but a beauty meant to lift our hearts to God. At some point the exhausted revolutionary, by God’s Grace, will fall to her knees and turn to enter the one embrace where she will be truly known and finally able to know herself as beloved.