Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Cross of Christ

The Holy Face

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.


What is this?

A couple of not-too-worn metal plates from the garage shop down the road, cobbled together for free or little money, then stuck over each other, up and down, trying to pass along for hands, arms, legs - what? Who is the master artist that came up with this brilliant idea? Who invented this particular definition of sacred and liturgical art?

Bald Eagle wants to know. And, let us be clear, she is not blaming Pope Francis. Maybe he has poor taste or poor eyesight or both. Perhaps it was foisted on him at the last moment with nice smiles all around and he felt incapable of rejecting it. We do not know.

But the artist and the 'consultants'? Bald Eagle would very much like to engage her talons with deep, surgical precision in that regard.

And what's with the wood chosen? Did that perchance originate from Ikea's bargain basement?

Now, compare that cross to this:

The Agonizing Crucifix of the Precious Blood

It is well-known that the wood for the Cross of Christ was taken from timber that had floated to the surface of the pool in Bethesda (cf. Jn 5:1-9), near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem. This timber had reportedly originated from three trees - one of cedar, one of cypress, one of pine - that had sprouted centuries before, at the time of Adam's death, but were united together in a single trunk (Geraldine Rohling, Ph.D.; Behold the Wood). It was from these trees and this trunk that Moses had reportedly cut his rod and underneath which David had composed most of his Psalms. Solomon used the wood from these trees in the construction of the Temple, then cut down all the rest and buried them where the pool was later dug.

Do we, therefore, want that thing depicted in the extreme left photograph above to be our new standard for the Cross - iconoclasm at its most stunning - when Christ Himself wants to be known, seen, and loved?

Ne Evacuetur Crux!

Ex Ligno Vera Crucis
Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

Here for your edification and compensation for the cross of Pope Francis, ladies and gentlemen, are two short and thick pieces of the True Cross of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in a sealed brass reliquary. This precious relic comes with official documentation of its authenticity from Archbishop Paul Karatas of the Chaldean Catholic Archeparchy of Diyarbakir, Turkey. His coat of arms is also on the intact seal inside the reliquary. This very precious relic was given to me by an Orthodox monk in Southern Bulgaria.

Detail of the True Cross

The Cross upon which Christ had been crucified and died was found on September 14, 326 by the Empress-Saint Helena, mother of Constantine, and authenticated by miracles. Hence the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Part of the True Cross was enclosed in a silver reliquary and given to the Patriarch of Jerusalem for public veneration. Other parts were translated to Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) and widely distributed. 

A large portion of the Cross can be found in the Greek Treasury at the foot of Mount Golgotha in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre - Church of the Resurrection, Jerusalem. Other sizeable portions can be found at the Basilica della Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome, Italy; at the Koutloumousiou Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece; and at the Gishen Maryam Monastery in the Wollo region of Ethiopia. Fragments of the True Cross can also be found in several churches and private collections around the world.

Official Documentation of the Relic

Veneration of the Holy Cross

Here are a few photographs of the public veneration of the Relic last year at Santa Venera Catholic Church in Malta:

On the altar before Mass

Public veneration of the Relic

The pastor is holding the Relic

The Relic has visited a few Catholic and Protestant households in the greater Houston and greater San Antonio areas of Texas last year for private veneration. It also paid a private visit to the Indian administrator of Saint Andrew's Catholic Church in Lytle, Texas. This year the Relic has paid a relatively lengthy visit to a Catholic charismatic household in Malta for private veneration.

© Marcelle Bartolo-Abela, aka the Bald Eagle.


  1. Long comment lost when Bear accidentally hit "sign out" which is stupidly placed close to comment text box. Blogger UI loves to do things like that, and putting the comment delete button right next to publish on the moderation page.

    1. Write the comment again! Looking forward to reading it.

    2. Owl frequently does the same -- especially as Owl often half-writes posts to come back to them later.

      If Owl is thinking before a long post is written, Owl writes it in Gmail as that is always being saved off as a draft and then just copy-paste it on over.

  2. Replies
    1. The Bear has lived in San Angelo many years ago, but, no. He is a native of Mesopotamia, where he currently resides in a small, but well-defended compound in Zoar. (Hint: what does "Mesopotamia" mean, and where do you think that might be?)

    2. Not many bears in West Texas. Just a lot of deer, rattlesnakes, tumbleweeds and that blasted wind.

      The Maggot.

    3. Can't believe I forgot the TX state animal. Perhaps the 'dillo would be better than maggot or skunk. Hard to choose.

  3. I'm still freaked out by that Vatican "Pope Francis Year of Mercy" logo. Remember that? That thing was bizarro world, and kinda gay looking.
    Rest assured, Bergoglio is 100% behind this weird, Gnostic blobifix, as the Bear explained so well. The man is showing us publicly who he exactly is, but almost no one is paying attention!

    The Skunk.

    1. God is not making this hard. The sheep do not know this man's voice and do not follow him. We have been warned of this day ever since Christ himself told us about it, and the apostles who penned the New Testament, not to mention many private revelations.

      We woodland creatures should stop wringing our hands about "what to do." No one will do anything. This does not end well for most people. Doing is no longer the point. We are either on one side or the other. We should each make our choice explicit, in the Bear's opinion. The fate of the Church is out of our hands, and the trajectory is clear. There is nothing we can do and those who can do something will do nothing, no, not one.

      Not to choose is to choose.

      Every other blogger is writing about the change at the CDF. Not the Bear. It is too late to worry about who is orchestra leader on the fantail of The Titanic. Make your peace. Keep the Faith. We are mere woodland creatures with no power over great questions in Rome. We can merely roar our roars and peep our peeps, say our prayers, read a decent Bible edition (NOT the NABRE) and hope God forgives us humble beasts for violating the Church's historic mistrust of reading God's word instead of listening to a modernist churchman inform us it is nothing but fairytales.

    2. Well put Bear. We are at that point as well. Resigned and moving into acceptance of where we are. Now, I must learn to let go of the interest in finding out the latest, which has taken on a life of it's own.
      More prayer, more Holy Mass, more Sacraments, more reading Scripture. By the way, I have the Msgr. Ronald Knox version, can't remember if you ever weighed in on that one. I'd be interested in your thought, up or down.

    3. Re: Knox... he seems like a very clever fellow. Something tells me he would have agreed. I view it as a novelty translation from the Vulgate (he did not translate from Greek or Hebrew mss). But people are attached to their favorite translations and far be it for a Bear to criticize. He had a flair for it.

      There are many RSV Catholic versions. It is a sturdy translation used by most Catholic study Bibles like Navarre or Ignatius. (Did they ever do the OT?) The DR is also available in some nice editions with Challoner's revisions. Catholic Treasures publishes a beautiful repro early 20th century edition with notes (sadly many assuming the reader knows Greek and Latin) in Extra-Large Smitin' Size.

      The Bear prefers Bible editions that maintain the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture and are untainted by dubious 19th century German theories that are being quietly dropped by many scholars, but not Catholics in Pope Pius XII's modernist school of Catholic Biblical scholarship. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The USCCB's NABRE is on the Bear's Index of Forbidden Books as a hazard to the faith of woodland creatures.

  4. NOTE that not all articles are written by the Bear. Some are by Bald Eagle, who brings something very different yet complementary to this ephemeris. The author is always named.

  5. Fr. Z reported that the crozier came as a gift from steelworkers in Genova Italy, though I cannot find readily a secondary source for that which gives deeper info.

    There are perhaps a million excuses for that crozier, but it is pretty much part and participle for modern "sacred art". The core of all of it is the rejection of God becoming man. Catholicism is horribly messy, horribly human, but that humanity, through grace, is elevated to the divine. God became man to make man gods as the saying goes. Yet in stuff like this, you can see the rejection of both God becoming man and the elevation, through grace, of man into participation in the divine.

    Thank you very much for sharing pictures of relics of the True Cross. Very edifying.

    1. Pope Bear would receive a gift like that ONCE. No one would dare give him another one after he politely returned it. To the next of kin.

    2. You're welcome, Owl.

      Re the origin of the crozier, that makes sense. It also explains why the Pope used it (all those workers, with their unionistas and all).

      Re the eradication of deification from the heart, sight, and mind of man, exactly. Precisement.

    3. Yes Bear, thank you so much for those. For my part it is pretty incomprehensible to imagine being in the presence of such a holy relic.

    4. Imagine living with it day in, day out.

  6. Benedictine St. Meinrad Archabbey has piece of the true cross. It is placed in a life-sized cross on the floor of the chapter room and venerated by laying on it face down and kissing it.

    Prostration and other expressions of humility are seldom seen in the Western Church anymore. In Russian Orthodox Church on Sunday before Great Lent every person kisses every other person on both cheeks and asks forgiveness, and every person grants it. The representation of Christ's shroud is approached by three low head-to-ground bows before it is venerated. Monks made a prostration with every recitation of the short Jesus prayer, sometimes hundreds!

    Catholics can't even be bothered to strike their breasts anymore, if you can even catch where the priest has hidden the penitential rite - if it's there at all. If there's a baptism (including the popular Nazi salute in the direction of the baby in congregational "blessing") something's gotta go to get the sheep out the door on time, you know.

    Again, the disengagement of the body in Western worship is a manifestation of the Gnosric spirit. It just doesn't figure into it. We have parishes in our diocese where they refuse to kneel during consecration. The only parts of your body that are important are your paws (hold neighbor's or shake on command - which the Bear's dog can do - or wave at "we lift them up," or extend in "blessing" toward the president at "and with your spirit," and, of course, to grab the Host) and your mouth to sing "Dancing Jesus."

    1. You really made me laugh with this. That said, some people would probably be unable to get back up on their own if they prostrated for veneration. The same holds true for kneeling if your knees are going, going, gone.

    2. All good points. I find this incredible, since this was one of the things I found most appealing about entering the Catholic Church, the postures and indicators of the worship of God. They moved me, and what was their meaning, I wanted to know. I wanted to belong to that group of people who knew what those meant.
      They are throwing the beauty away with both hands. It seems impossible not to call them fools.

    3. Bear has burly ex-Army twins to assist him. And even Othodox recognize you can't do what you can't do. They are well educated (as you might imagine, being reared by the Bear and Red Death) and quite handsome. Sigh. It is almost impossible for young gentlemen to meet young ladies of quality and faithfulness these days. Bear is sure that is not the case for young ladies of similar upbringing. Sigh. If only there were a way... No. It is a ridiculous thought.

  7. Re: Pope Francis feeling obligated re: the ... whatever. He does look very unhappy. Perhaps that is the explanation.


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