Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Met Gala: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

The annual Met Gala event took place with the theme: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.  There are mix reactions to the event. Some see it as a sacrilege while others see it as a work of art and deference to the Catholic faith.  Cardinal Dolan and Jesuit priest Father James Martin were present. 

The cardinal spoke about the beauty of God and said that fashion is part of that beauty.  In attendance were many Hollywood personalities who work clothing imitating many concepts of Catholicism.  Rapper Rihanna was dressed with what looked like a miter.  Jennifer Lopez had a dress with a cross that looks like a stain-glass window.  Chadwick Boseman who played "Black Panther" wore something that looked like a cope.

Apparently, the Vatican approved the event and even loan priceless vestments, relics and other items to the Metropolitan for the event.  This news comes as a shock to many Catholics who felt the event was inappropriate, sacrilegious and lampooned Catholicism.  Many of them felt Cardinal Dolan planned the event, but he did not.  Moreover, a joke the cardinal made was interpreted wrongly by some Catholics.  The cardinal said that he let Rihanna borrow his miter. Immediately, bloggers such as Rorate Caeli took to the blogs to go on the attack.  Archdiocese of  New York spokesman, Joseph Zwilling tweeted on his account asking a reported to correct his article to reflect that Cardinal Dolan was joking:

I immediately retweeted Zwillings tweet and notified readers of Rorate Caeli of the fake news he was posting on his blog.  Many Catholics were already attacking Cardinal Dolan over a silly joke that was misinterpreted.

Many have messaged me asking me what I thought about the Met Gala this year.  Well, I have mix reactions about it.  I can see why many Catholics are upset and I also can see why others loved it, such as Father James Martin who tweeted this:

So what do I think? Well, while I love art and items that reflect culture, I think the red carpet with actors and musicians dressed up in Catholic themes was a bit too much.  Some were clearly tacky and inappropriate. Seeing images of women with bulging chests dressed like the Blessed Virgin or Catholic imagery was a bit too much.  Had they been more modest, I think many would not have complained so much.  I can see why many Catholics saw the gala as a mockery of the Catholic Church.  British journalist Piers Morgan was livid over the event and said that if such an event took place using Jewish or Islamic imagery that things would be different. He claims that Catholics were being targeted.  This is the same Piers Morgan who favors same-sex marriage.  In light of this, I do not think his reaction has any value.  If he does not side with the Church's teaching on marriage, then why get upset over celebrities wearing strange takes on Catholic imagery?  It seems hypocritical.  I personally would defend Church teaching over vestment use anytime.  The former is more important.  The latter is a formulation of the Church as she developed.  It was not until after the 6th century that the Church began to use vestments formally in order to distinguish the clergy from the laity. Eventually, these vestments became more fancy in order to reflect what they represent and who they are made for.  The Gala was set up to focus on the art behind Catholic vestments and other items. I personally do not think they set up to offend Catholics.  Things just happen in life.  Cardinal Dolan did not seem to have a problem with it and tweeted this:

Cardinal Dolan's statement

I can see where the cardinal is coming from, but I think he should have been more prudent.  Optics matter in this world. Human beings are silly creatures who think impressions matter and make a big deal over how others look in a situation.  In light of this, Cardinal Dolan's presence and endorsement of the Met Gala will be (has been) seen as ludicrous.  How can a prince of the Church be at an event where some are using sacred art and vestments in a form of parody?  However, we must remember that this even not only showcased Vatican Liturgical treasures but also invited others to share a "Catholic Imagination."  This is what the celebrities and their fashion designers did.  They used their imagination in artistic form. In light of this, we cannot be truly upset. Art is art and the saying goes that " Parody or Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."  This is how I choose to see the event.  I try to be a glass full-empty kind of guy.   What do you think?  Post in the comments below this post.  Here is some reaction and photos:

The reaction from some Catholics, I think, has gone too far.  Some are insulting Cardinal Dolan and Father Martin.  This is uncharitable and sinful.  Let us see this event more like an outreach than a betrayal our Church.  Jesus ate with and was around sinners and those of the world.  Cardinal Dolan and Father Martin seem to be doing this.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis has warned us about being overly rigid. We must have our lighter moments just like Father Martin did when he shared a story of how he was described as "sexy."

Could the Met Gala event been better?  Absolutely.  Again, I think they needed more modesty.  The extra skin in the fashion expressions is what I think offended many.  Then again, art tends to work this way.  It can be controversial and does seek discussion.  The fact that I am writing this post and many others are complaining shows that the art did its job. It got us to talk.  This is what art does.  Again, I prefer to see the even as the world focusing on Catholicism and the beauty it has contributed.  Our Church is so important that the world chose to bring awareness to our traditions and liturgical richness in regards to fashion. 

I had some fun myself on social media by showcasing some of my own vestments:


1 comment:

  1. It's good to see someone other than priests and higher folks in the hierarchy making sense.

    I'm not a 'celebrity-watcher,' but couldn't help but see photos of some outfits in news aggregators.

    Some struck me as being in rather loud taste. But bear in mind that I'm from the upper Midwest, and spent most of my life here. My cultural norms aren't quite like those of a New Yorker.

    I've also seen titles of posts and tweets made by folks who seem to be Catholics in an advanced state of combustion. Accepting that they're sincerely upset doesn't mean I need to read their posts. Or want to.

    My own emotional reaction was, in one case, very mild shock and surprise.

    Then I remembered that America has never been a "Catholic" country, that most Americans - including, I suspect, at least some Catholics - haven't a clue what being Catholic means: and that the photo-ops seemed to show well-heeled adults having fun at a party.

    I decided that I'd notice that the well-to-do adults seemed to associate symbols of Catholicism with having a good time. I can think of many worse ways to be perceived.

    Thanks again for making sense.


Thank you for reading and for your comment. All comments are subject to approval. They must be free of vulgarity, ad hominem and must be relevant to the blog posting subject matter.


Catholic Church (791) God (410) Jesus (351) Atheism (344) Bible (323) Jesus Christ (289) Pope Francis (237) Atheist (229) Liturgy of the Word (198) Science (157) LGBT (147) Christianity (139) Gay (82) Pope Benedict XVI (81) Rosa Rubicondior (79) Abortion (76) Prayer (66) President Obama (57) Liturgy (56) Physics (53) Philosophy (52) Vatican (51) Christian (50) Blessed Virgin Mary (48) Christmas (43) New York City (43) Psychology (43) Holy Eucharist (38) Women (35) Politics (34) Biology (32) Baseball (31) Supreme Court (31) NYPD (27) Religious Freedom (27) Health (24) Traditionalists (24) priests (24) Space (23) Pope John Paul II (22) Racism (22) Theology (21) Evil (20) First Amendment (20) Apologetics (19) Death (19) Pro Abortion (19) Protestant (19) Astrophysics (18) Christ (18) Evangelization (18) Child Abuse (17) Donald Trump (17) Illegal Immigrants (17) Priesthood (17) Pro Choice (17) Police (16) Pedophilia (15) Marriage (14) Vatican II (14) Divine Mercy (12) Blog (11) Eucharist (11) Gospel (11) Autism (10) Jewish (10) Morality (10) Muslims (10) Poverty (10) September 11 (10) Cognitive Psychology (9) Easter Sunday (9) Gender Theory (9) Holy Trinity (9) academia (9) CUNY (8) Human Rights (8) Pentecostals (8) Personhood (8) Sacraments (8) Big Bang Theory (7) Condoms (7) David Viviano (7) Ellif_dwulfe (7) Evidence (7) Hispanics (7) Spiritual Life (7) Barack Obama (6) Hell (6) Humanism (6) NY Yankees (6) Babies (5) Cyber Bullying (5) Gender Dysphoria Disorder (5) Massimo Pigliucci (5) Podcast (5) Pope Pius XII (5) The Walking Dead (5) Angels (4) Donations (4) Ephebophilia (4) Pope Paul VI (4) Catholic Bloggers (3) Death penalty (3) Evangelicals (3) Founding Fathers (3) Pluto (3) Pope John XXIII (3) Baby Jesus (2) Dan Arel (2) Eastern Orthodox (2) Encyclical (2) Freeatheism (2) Oxfam (2) Penn Jillette (2) Pew Research Center (2) Plenary Indulgence (2) Cursillo (1) Dan Savage (1) Divine Providence (1) Fear The Walking Dead (1) Pentecostales (1)