Catholics are noted for their good sense of humor as it concerns some of the cultural experiences we have in the Church, especially in our Catholic schools and elsewhere. A sense of humor will go a long way in helping us to live ulcer-free lives.
However, sometimes, when fun is poked at our most sacred symbols, we should take pause before we smile or laugh. Several years ago, a so-called artist placed a crucifix in a jar of urine and did so in an artsy way. Many said this was art and above reproach and that Catholics and other Christians who were offended should get a life.
As well, another artist displayed an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary which had been splattered with manure. When Catholics took offense, we were derided as being super-sensitive and unappreciative of what the artist was trying to express in his “art work.”
The picture above is of Pope Benedict, our German pope, celebrating Mass. Through the miracle of computer enhancement using programs such as Photoshop, the normal bread and wine the pope actually used in the Mass was turned into a pretzel and mug of beer. At first, I thought it was funny. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized that this poking fun at the Sacred is really sinister. It is the work of the devil. Images like this erode our faith. Yes, we might smile or laugh by what is being portrayed in these images and I suspect all in good fun, not maliciously. However, the Real Presence of Christ in the Consecrated Bread and Wine should not be fodder for comedy. But for so many in and outside of the Church nothing is sacred any more. Isn’t that the goal of the devil, to desensitize us to God and the reverence due Him?
What images that offend Catholic sensibilities have you seen or read? What books mock our traditional understanding of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Sometimes the mocking of the sacred is very mild or opaque, but at other times it is quite virulent and transparent. Righteous indignation and a refusal to buy books, art or entertainment that denigrates what we hold as sacred is an act of faith on our part.
The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Holy Priesthood are at the core of our Faith that the Christ-Event beginning with the Incarnation and concluding with the Second Coming and Final Judgment is all about. These show forth the means by which the All Powerful and Ever Living God redeems the world. He does so at a great price. We might be tempted to poke fun at all things sacred, but we do so at our own peril.
I pray that we all strive to take seriously all that God has done for us, and for our need to be humble in our reverence and respect for all that is sacred.