Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Those Realistic, Ghastly Crucifixes: There's a Reason

I ran into this post, in another blog. It gives one of the better explanations for those (by American tastes) ghastly, bloody crucifixes you see in parts of Latin America and elsewhere.
"Bloody Crucifix"
Adoro te Devote (February 16, 2008)

"Cathy has a great series of interesting posts on the Cross, and as a result I find that I must offer some thoughts on this subject as well.

"Lent is the perfect time to regard the Cross, with or without a corpus, whether we are following the Carmelite tradition of placing ourselves upon that cross to unite ourselves with the suffering of Christ, or whether we need to be faced with His extreme suffering on our behalf. (Please note: I mentioned the Carmelite tradition as they follow a very austere life and thus their cross is not representative of the Resurrection, but rather is its own spirituality of suffering taken on by each soul. Thus their 'corpus' is still present.) As Cathy points out in her posts, for the rest of us, we as Catholics need to see the corpus of Christ on the cross, for there is no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday. I would like to take this theme a little further, however.

"When I lived in Mexico, although I never attended Mass there (which I will forever regret as long as I live), I went to a lot of churches. And in many of them one can find Jesus laid out as though in a tomb, but covered by glass. There were prie-dieus (kneelers) so that the faithful could kneel and meditate upon their Savior, focusing on His terrible wounds. He was bloody, he was bruised, and He was a horror to behold...."
The people in what's now Mexico, remember, were Aztecs and their neighbors: folks about as soft and safe to be around as my ancestors were, when the first Christian missionaries reached them.1 They didn't know about Christianity: but they understood the bloody, messy sacrifice of a chosen victim quite well.

Americans today live in a much more sanitized, antiseptic world. Those statues look like the body of a man who was tortured to death - and was tough enough to hold out through a really bad night and most of the next day. We're not used to seeing that sort of thing.

Lent is coming up. I generally make a point of thinking about what my Lord went through, particularly during Lent.

Which I see is coming up soon.

A tip of the hat to dontracy, on Twitter, for the heads-up on this post.

1 My ancestors, as far back as the family has been able to trace them, came from northwestern Europe. Before missionaries came, we were a colorful lot.

Human sacrifice was part of the cultural tradition of the British Isles - and practiced in Viking country into the 11th century, according to Adam of Bremen.

It's arguable that we got chivalry from the Church's efforts to work with Europe's warlords. Which is one reason why I'm not upset with the Pope having diplomatic relations with the United Nations and individual countries. The Church has a long record of being willing to take people as they are, and work from there.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.