I am generally not partial to images of the Blessed Mother without her carrying the Christ Child. The absence of Her Son has long struck me as a potential micro-step toward a sort of Catholic goddess-worship -- Mariolatry, if you will -- which I realize may sound silly, so I don't make much of those who believe otherwise.Yesterday Alexander posted another article on the subject entitled, "Guadalupe Revisited" (Man With Black Hat, January 7, 2007), in which, referring to the earlier post, he added: "There was much more I would have written, mostly to lay to rest the claims of this image by some radical feminists as a "goddess" figure (not to mention other comments of mine that were... well, grossly misinterpreted). He also references a helpful, detailed analysis of the Guadalupe image by Julie D in "Our Lady of Guadalupe" (Happy Catholic, Dec. 12, 2006). Alexander continues then observes how, in many parts of the world, "devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary has supplanted the attention given to goddess images, including in Mexico." Nevertheless, he adds, "in other parts of Latin America, as well as the Caribbean, there persists among the working classes a strange mix of folk religion, one that weaves together both Christian and aboriginal images and practices."
But I make one exception, and that's the image used to commemorate today's Feast. Don't ask me why. You can read all about it at sancta.org, so I don't have to write about it.
Then Alexander comes to the really amazing part of his post. He writes:
Meanwhile, here in the more "civilized" part of the world -- Raleigh, North Carolina, to be exact -- the goddess archetype has taken on a strange new twist: "A North Carolina artist intrigued by the public obsession with celebrity has found herself feeding that obsession with a painting of actress Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary hovering over a Wal-Mart check-out line." ["Painting of Jolie draws notice," Yahoo!News (AP), January 7, 2007]Alexander notes that the artist, 43-year-old Kate Kretz, describes the process of creating this piece, which is called "Blessed Art Thou," both at her website, as well as her weblog. "I honestly do not believe she meant to offend anyone, as this endeavor appears to be driven more by militant naivete than pure malevolence," he writes. At the very least, this would be shameless self-promotion. Objectively, it's also shameless sacrelidge.
[Hat Tip to Man With Black Hat]