Print Edition: Feb. 22, 2015
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Francis embraces ugly Cross:
Woman: This is not a crucifix
Man: You are right, this is NOT the crucifix of Jesus
Sichma… thanks… you have a follower here down to Mexico. God bless you. We should never forget that the cross was never a good thing… but for the sake of Jesus bacame our salvation. So, illness is never a good thing, but for the sake of Jesus became our salvation…
On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suff’ring and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
(George Bennard/Charles H. Gabriel)
The man is beautiful, of course, but his cross is ugly. Don’t most of us have our own ugly crosses?
charles harmett, great to have you back. We have missed your wonderful insight on these web pages in the last two weeks. God bless.
NB: where does human suffering come from; whether neurofibromatosis or cancer or diabetes, etc? Why do human beings have diseases and sicknesses?
here are the riches of the Church(lower pic). Well written, Simcha.
It is human nature to look at the appearance of things, to be misled by what’s seen on the surface. The chaos of this world clouds our vision.
Look deeper and see Christ who is in all!
The first is an example of ethnocentrism; the second is an example of universality. Travel from North America to Europe to Asia to Africa to South America, and you will see many different styles in religious art. Travel from the protestant church on Main Street to the Catholic church across from it and you will likely move from austere to ornate. Different people, different outlooks, different tastes. So far I have read of people being repulsed at the thought of hugging the afflicted man, but even those praised Francis for doing it. I haven’t read any commentary that said it was not a good thing to do.
In the crucifix, no nails appear to be holding Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross. I think that the sharp shards surrounding His body represent our sins, for those were the true nails.
To Anon. Your son and family are in my prayers.
St. Francis was repulsed by the lepers who begged near his town. And part of his conversion experience was to embrace that which he feared, in love. We all need to do the same. The good Holy Father has to stand on the stage of the world, so it’s only right and fitting that he do this. He’s a good man, but he’s not the first who embraced those who were rejected by the world. Every person who works with the disabled, the elderly, the poor, the sick, the prisoner, the drug addict or alcoholic, the homeless, the mentally ill, all these people are doing the same.
I don’t know; did the first cross have aesthetic value?
No, not the same at all! The second picture, the Pope embracing the suffering man, is an example of Christ like love. The first picture, of the hideous, post-modern cross/staff is simply an example of ecclesiastical art gone astray. It is not at all reflective of the faith of the Church. It has no redeeming value in its embrace. It is simply and irreducibly ugly, and does not express the doctrine of the crucifixion, not even the ugliness of the crucifixion since it distorts even that. I hope that the Pope was simply handed this monstrosity and did not choose it himself.
I think the new Crosier is a representation of the Suffering and Sinful World that Christ took upon himself at his Crucifixion, so, of course the cross is going to look ugly and/or disfigured.
A Cross is a Cross no matter the artistic impression of Christ. It is the message being sent…death on a Cross is not beautiful thing.
3 of my cousins have neurofibromatosis. One cousin died at age 27 from a cancerous tumor on his chest. His sister had a leg amputated in her mid 30’s from a cancerous tumor. This is a heartbreaking, difficult disease.
Thank you. You can only treat the symptoms, as they show up, if treatment is available for that particular symptom. And there are so many of them: hydrocephalus, epilepsy, cardiac complications, poor language and visual-spacial skills, abnormal bone growth, a myriad of learning disabilities. The most terrifying is that it is a progressive disorder which means you just don’t know how bad it’ll get.
And really, thank you for the prayers. It’s such a common thing to see on Catholic blogs, but when it’s directed at you, it means the world.
Thanks anon. I’ll pray for your son. Is there some kind of amelioration for this disease?
you have my prayers.
The man in the picture has neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder with no cure. Those neurofibromas - the ones you see - mostly only look bad. The ones growing inside him - the ones you don’t see - are the ones that cause all kinds of problems and can kill him someday, depending on where they grow: nerves (optic is common, causing blindness), heart, lung, bone, etc. All neurofibromas have the potential to turn cancerous.
“Plastic surgery” doesn’t heal the disease. They can be cut out but he’d be left with scars every place one is cut out. He’d be just as disfigured.
And after all that? They often grow back.
My son has NF albeit a very mild case, praise God. But we have no way of knowing how the disease will progress. He’s got a 50% chance of passing it on to each of his children and even if he has a mild case, there is no way to determine if any affected child will have a case like his…or this man in the picture.
Please pray for this man and my son.
I’m really glad the Pope can get over the typical reaction to a disfiguring disease, but the example of Jesus was to touch the lepers to, you know, HEAL them. Does anyone know if the man in the pic got treatment? Plastic surgery?
What makes that second picture so powerful is the fact that I am repulsed by the man’s deformity. There. I said it. Beautiful photo and beautiful love expressed because it is the opposite of what I would feel naturally inclined to do.
wow, that’s hard….can I do it ,too ?
While Christ came among the people, the leper(s) searched out Christ. I think this is what is going on in the bottom picture which should light a fire under all of us. Where are we in this picture?
Oh! It took me a couple of times, but I can finally see Jesus in that cross! At first it just looked like a jumbled mess.
YES. This juxtaposition really pokes at a spot in my heart that has need of tenderizing.
Jesus and the lepers.
The second is a beautiful photo, but, re: previous comments, I don’t think there’s any use pretending that the afflicted man isn’t afflicted. No human is ugly when seen in truth, but the body can be quite a mask in a fallen world and that man does have a very isolating cross to carry.
Is that tinsel.
There is nothing and no-one that is ugly in the second picture. There is in the first picture.
Yes. And no. Because I find the second photo to be beautiful and so real. The first one, you know, a matter of taste. (Which I agree is kind of ugly on my taste-o-meter - but somebody has to like it).
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