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Friday, January 08, 2010

How Great Thou Art

The Jesuits at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, burdened with a bunch of very unused confession boxes along the church's eastern wall, have yanked them out and converted the space to better use, they say: an art gallery.

Well, why not? In this enlightened age of the self, with sin so gratifyingly disappearing (with the good denizens of the City of San Francisco leading the way), negative relics of the past like confession boxes really do seem out of place and anachronistic. Something more life-affirming, something more representative of the love of God for his creatures and their love for him returned, is certainly more in order. Here is what a reporter for the California Catholic, who stopped by to take a look, found on display at the new art gallery in St. Ignatius Church.
The current exhibition is “The Arts of Java and Bali: Objects of Belief, Ritual and Performance.” One of the pieces in the show is an hermaphroditic wooden figurine, with female breasts and a male erection. Another is a hairy demonic figure with a women’s face protruding from its mouth. Another is a brightly colored, scaled, demonic figure.
If by any chance you're confused (I confess I was at first!), don't be. The Jesuits can explain it all. Says the Rev'd James R. Blaettler, S.J., Associate Pastor of St. Ignatius:
In keeping with Ignatius’ understanding that his Constitutions or governing rules for Jesuits would include old principles and new ones, the gallery’s philosophy is to include both traditional religious works and contemporary art in a series of changing exhibitions. Commissioned pieces will enhance the dialogue that take places on a larger scale within the ritual space of the church.
Got that? If pagan images sporting erect penises "enhance the dialogue that take places on a larger scale within the ritual space of the church," thanks be to God! We have it on the authority of St. Ignatius himself...well, Fr. Blaettler, anyway.

Jesus loves me! This I know...

(Thanks be to Banished Child of Eve.)

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