Culture

Just A Reminder That It’s Super Strange To Take Pictures With A Dying Man On The Cross

Like many aspects of Latino culture, we have a complicated relationship with Catholicism. While many of us grew up in the church and take solace in the ritual and community that the church provides, there are also some other aspects of the religion that are harder to deal with. For example, many Catholics express their love for Jesus in some…unusual ways. Anyone who grew up in the church knows that Catholics can be prone to depicting the death of Jesus on the cross in–some would say–graphic ways. Growing up, many Latinos don’t think twice about seeing explicit pictures of Jesus dying at their local parish.

But after Latinos grow up and are exposed to other lifestyles and religions, we develop a different perspective on Catholic art. Outside of our Catholic/Latinx bubble, we begin to see why a lot of people view Catholic art as morbid. And honestly, sometimes we can’t blame them. So, with both Dia de Muertos and Halloween quickly approaching, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to deep-dive into the sometimes weird world of Catholic art. Take a look below and see if any of these spark any memories!

1. The Towering Shadow of Jesus

@bishi_music/Instagram

Whoever thought this giant Jesus shadow was inspiring probably has a different idea of what brings people comfort than what your average person does. To outsiders, it may look intimidating, to say the least. 

2. The Floor Made of Bones

@danmstephenson/Twitter

Yes, Catholics have an unfortunate history of plastering their buildings with bones of their dead patrons. It was very trendy back in the day. We can’t say we want this one to come back in style.

3. Skeletons Everywhere!

@fakingitfab/Instagram

When non-Latinx people think of skeletons, they generally think of spooky stuff like Halloween. But many Latino Catholics have seen a skeleton or two pop up in their own cathedral’s decor (that still doesn’t mean it’s not a little spooky).

4. Morbid Public Rituals

@hildahoy/Twitter

You know an event is sufficiently Catholic when there is a life-size rendering of Jesus on the cross being carried by a group of people. When you’re experiencing stuff like this, you don’t even question it. 

5. Unfortunate Artistic Interpretations of Jesus

@jupit3rrr/Instagram

Look, no one really knows what Jesus looked like. We, however, hope Jesus didn’t look like many of the old and dilapidated statues that we have seen of him in certain cathedrals. It may have looked great back in the day, but some of these need some refurbishing.

6. Tone-Deaf Baked Goods

@hotoynoodle/Twitter

A quick internet search will turn up some unfortunate Catholic-themed baked goods that look like they were made by some clueless but well-intentioned abuelas. If you think these hands-of-Jesus cookies are bad, you should see the “blood of the lamb” cake we stumbled across on Pinterest. 

7. Uncanny Pope Memorabilia

@jscates/Twitter

Naturally, the Pope is someone to be venerated in the Catholic religion, but odd-looking artwork depicting His Holiness is…well, odd. Especially when it’s a dinner table’s centerpiece. 

8. This disproportionate statue of Jesus

@julie_van_winkle/Instagram

Again, it’s obvious that the artist had the best of intentions, but unfortunately, the execution left a bit to be desired. Odd artwork like this is par for the course in many smaller parishes.

9. Graphic Depictions of Saints Being Martyred

@julie_van_winkle/ Instagram

It’s art like this that we remember being particularly afraid of as children. Blood coming out of saints was hard to look at and may have kept us up at night once or twice.

10. Embalmed Bodies of Saints

@ktcoulter/Instagram

Most other religions don’t display their heroes of yore out in the open for everyone to see. Again, this is what makes being a Catholic a sort of secret society–it doesn’t feel unusual when you’re a part of it!

11. This altar dedicated to the preserved head of St. Catherine

@LectorGirl85/Twitter

Really, there are countless sites dedicated to displaying the bodies (or body parts) of Saints who are no longer with us. Like this altar that’s dedicated to displaying the mummified head of St. Catherine. 

12. Yes, it’s as creepy as it sounds:

@VivantBlondie97/Twitter

We can understand how outsiders would give this practice a bit of a side-eye. But they just don’t understand, okay?

13. This Glow-In-The-Dark Crucifix

@revinthenorth/Twitter

This one is equal parts funny and spooky. Who thought it would be a good idea to display this in a church? 

14. To sum up with this astute observation from a priest with a sense of humor:

@thehappypriest/Twitter

Truer words have never been spoken. Sure, Catholic art can be morbid, but for many Latinx people, being Catholic is a substantial and important part of their identity. 

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The Vatican Says Catholic Church Cannot Bless Same-Sex Unions After Supporting Them

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The Vatican Says Catholic Church Cannot Bless Same-Sex Unions After Supporting Them

The Catholic church has a long history of ostracizing and demonizing the LGBTQ+ community. Pope Francis seemed to be revolutionizing the Catholic church’s views on the community until saying the church cannot bless same-sex unions.

The Vatican has officially decreed that priests cannot bless same-sex unions.

Seemingly out of nowhere, The Vatican released a statement claiming that priests cannot bless same-sex unions. The announcement further claims that homosexuality is a sin and that God cannot bless sin. Furthermore, the decree from The Vatican determined that sexual orientation is a choice, which is archaic and hurtful thinking.

The Vatican’s claim that sexual orientation is a choice has been debunked.

The decree from The Vatican claims that by blessing same-sex unions, The Vatican would be blessing a “choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered.”

Some try to claim that homosexuality is a choice yet that has been scientifically debunked. There are wide studies that show that genetics are likely at play when it comes to determining someone’s sexual orientation. The “gay gene” has been observed when studying brothers of differing sexual orientations.

The announcement brought up some of The Vatican’s long-discussed hypocrisy.

In 2019, it was reported that The Vatican invested heavily into the Elton John biopic “Rocketman.” The movie follows the life of Elton John and his journey through the music industry while coming to terms with his sexual orientation. The movie shows John struggling to be who he is very early in his career and the damage not having a proper support system could cause.

The Vatican’s decree goes against Pope Francis’ own comments from last year.

Last year, Pope Francis caught the world’s attention when he was caught on camera in a documentary. The pope spoke on same-sex unions and endorsed them.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family,” Pope Francis said in a documentary. “Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to have is a civil union law—that way, they are legally covered. I supported that.”

Some clerics in the Catholic Church are pushing back against the latest decree and saying they will bless same-sex unions.

READ: Pope Francis Says That Women Are Now Allowed to Read Scripture During Mass and People Have Conflicting Emotions

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The Vatican Threatened to Fire Employees Who Refuse to Get the Vaccine, But Is Now Walking it Back

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The Vatican Threatened to Fire Employees Who Refuse to Get the Vaccine, But Is Now Walking it Back

Photo via Getty Images

On February 8th Pope Francis signed a health ordinance written by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello. The ordinance threatened to “interrupt employment” of anyone who refuses the vaccine without a valid medical reason.

The decree cited a 2011 law that says employees will face “varying degrees of consequences that could lead to dismissal” if they do not take proper safety precautions.

They also added that those who are unable to get vaccinated for legitimate reasons will be transferred to a position that does not interact with the public as much.

Although many were surprised by the decree, the message is line with Pope Francis’s longtime stance towards vaccines. Last month, Pope Francis told that Italian press that choosing to vaccinate is “an ethical choice”.

“[Without vaccines], you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others,” he said. Pope Francis received his vaccine in January.

The news quickly caused an uproar on social media, with many finding the decree to be overly harsh.

Many social media users finding the decree to be overly-controlling and contrary to Pope Francis’s general message of grace and mercy, and the right to individual freedom.

Of course, some people became worried about the implications of this requirement, their minds conjuring up images of dystopic futures. “Wait until the next stage, where those who choose not to or can’t have the ‘vaccine’ will be excluded from society,” wrote one frightened Twitter user. “Already happening in Israel, the Vatican and Indonesia.”

Some people, however, seemed to not have paid attention in social studies.

For example, controversial GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina tweeted out that the Pope’s decree “doesn’t sound legal”.

“This doesn’t sound legal…” he tweeted. “One shouldn’t be forced against their will to be vaccinated. The vaccination is there for those who want it, and are in need of it due to medical vulnerabilities.”

While this may be a righteous philosophy, the Pope is, indeed, allowed to do this. As historian John Marshall told Cawthorn: “Sir, you are aware the Vatican is a sovereign city state, governed by an absolute monarch?” Marshall tweeted. “It’s not governed by American law…”

Still, the backlash prompted Vatican officials to amend their stance on mandatory vaccinations.

Cardinal Bertello’s office released a statement on Thursday night saying that “alternative solutions” would be given for those who don’t want a vaccine. Bertello’s office wrote that the decree had been “intended to allow a flexible and proportionate response to the balance between the health protection of the community and the freedom of individual choice”.

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