Saturday, June 10, 2017

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows Mocks Jesus on Cross

"Crucifix" at chapel of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows is across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, in Belleville, Illinois. It is monument to sixties faddishness. This is more recent, however. When a visitor walks into the main door, the bookstore is to the left, and a chapel (to some deity) is to the right.

"Welcome to the Bookstore Without Books!"

The bookstore used to sell books. Now it offers very few books (the Bear has more in his bedroom). Perhaps the bookstore's failure is due to the good sense of visitors who refused to buy junk like The Shack and the stuff that Richard Rohr churns out They were among the last books on the shrunken shelf space. (At least there are a handful of classics remaining.)

When the Bear complained (which he usually gets around to doing before leaving any Catholic establishment; call it a Bear tradition) he was informed that Catholics don't buy many books, and they can't compete against Amazon. The Bear believes Catholics would buy good books, and that an intelligently-stocked bookstore at a national shrine in the most Catholic city in the country could survive from browsers.

Back when they sold books, the Bear never left without browsing and buying at least one book. They replaced the books with a coffee bar at which the Bear has never seen a single person drinking coffee. Oh, and hard-to-identify gift items allegedly made by poor persons in the third world.

"Don't Forget to Visit Our Chapel to... uh, Our Chapel!"

Along with this famine for the Catholic mind, one can find the above-pictured eyesore across the entrance hall. The Bear is sorry - or, on second thought, not - that the picture does not do this monstrosity justice. It is tortured and rusted metal crudely welded together with random objects that might have been taken from my father's junk drawer. It is hideous and casts an unwholesome pall over the little room. The Bear could not remain in this chapel longer than it took to take this picture.

It is emblematic of today's Church. Mocking Jesus on the Cross with hideous images has long been a cottage industry among Catholics. (Remember Pope Francis' "Hammer and Sickle-Fix?")

Maybe the "artist" was expressing the ugliness of the sin Christ bore, but in an original way that would shock the bourgeoisie. Hasn't that been the sole goal of untalented artists for a very long time? The destruction of beauty and imposing feelings of revulsion upon the viewer? Cross the river and visit the third floor of the St. Louis Art Museum for further evidence of the anti-art whose appeal is limited to those whose egos must be stroked by "appreciating" "art" that is beyond the understanding of the plebs.

If this is anything, it is a mockery of Christ, or perhaps a portrait of the antichrist. Contrast this to the edifying discussion of icons in the pieces below.

Shame on the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The Bear doubts Our Lady is very impressed. But the Bear bets the people who stuck it up are the type who are easily impressed with themselves for doing stupid things like inflicting this horror upon people visiting Our Lady's shrine.

The Bear ate as many of them as he could positively identify with that decision, but, unfortunately, cannot promise he got every one of them.


  1. Stuff like this misses the point of Christianity by a million miles.

    Consider a moment walking into a chapel and finding Bosch's The Last Judgement staring back at you. . Shocking, right? However, it should be clear, with no need to explain that this imaginary chapel is about Christ while the chapel that Great Bear took a picture of is, at best, infinitely confused as to what Christianity is.

  2. Bear, when you have a moment between watching Ginger, blogging, and writing the kind of stuff with which Catholic bookstore shelves ought to be filled, could you give us your take on "Sanctuarium in Ecclesia" from earlier this year? Francis the First hasn't launched his blitzkrieg against any shrines that I am aware of (and Our Lady of the Snows hardly merits being targeted) but he seems to have positioned himself advantageously in this regard. Otherwise, what does this motu proprio accomplish?

    1. Owl's take so Great Bear can focus on other things.

      The purpose of Sanctuarium in ecclesia is to move shrines as being places to which pilgrims gather to reflect upon the sacred mysteries to being places that disseminate FrancisGospel.

    2. Bear has one questions. How many pages it it? Bear cannot read very much Francis without the local equine population suffering. And thanks, Owl. I finally got around to your artwork, which will be shipped separately from your book. It is very different, just for us, and the Bear is not much of artist with his great clumsy paws.

      The Bear cordially invites everyone to make a 29.99 donation to the cause (this thing costs money to operate out of pocket, whether it is apparent or not). For each donation of 29.99 he will send you a FREE autographed copy of Judging Angels! How about that?

    3. Thank you Great Bear.

      Sanctuarium in ecclesia is too long. It would probably print 3-4 pages and it consists of the following sections
      1. Blather
      2. Problematic Theology
      3. Conflating the reality of people being drawn to sacred space with evangelization
      4. 3 allows the unique purpose of individual shrines to be co-opeted with a centralized FrancisMessage.
      5. Because I say so and everything anyone else says is rubbish to be ignored. (I decree that what has been set out in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio be observed in all its parts, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention...).

      Now for the Bonus Points: Issues relating to shrines where originally supervised by Congregation for the Clergy. Why? And how much of a dent in your table did your head leave realizing that the answer to the above means that the letter is a shining example of clericalism and disdain for "the sheep"?

  3. 3-4 pages isn't very long, although Bear is Bear of little brain and cannot understand very, very smart people who use big words. This is why Bear snuffles the air and is instantly informed whether a person is trustworthy or not. The commentary is just to fill the time, because BEAR'S NOSE FINDS FRANCIS UNTRUSTWORTHY would be even more repetitious than the Bear has accused of being!


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