Sunday, April 03, 2016

Low Sunday: Don't ignorantly use a rite's imagery

Mass: Quasi modo geniti infantes, alleluia.

The Divine Mercy devotion is wonderful. I don't know why it was suppressed in the good old days (I think the story is St. Faustina, not a theologian, made some innocent mistakes); the Polish Pope restored it.

A beautiful picture. That said, from my years when I knew Byzantine Catholics and Orthodox and was nominally Orthodox, I've picked up the church's policy of not mixing the rites. (Yet I still have a couple of icons respectfully on display and wear a three-bar cross, to prove the point that the church includes all that. Some Western Catholics are called to the East; I don't think I'm one of them.) Lots of well-meaning Western Catholic artists appropriate Byzantine iconography without understanding it, in order to depict Western subjects, inadvertently offending. (One of the worst things I've seen: a nice conservative Catholic foundation using icons of Jesus and Mary respectively as signs for the lavatories.) That said, Middle Eastern Christians don't get upset about those things, and I imagine many Greeks and Russians don't either. Most often it's the converts understandably and commendably in love with the Byzantine Rite. Anyway, asking for Jesus' mercy with you on Low Sunday (Quasimodo Sunday, Dominica in Albis) in the Roman Rite.

I like Leonid Ouspensky's rather recent notion (as far as I know) of icons as halfway between a regular picture or statue and a sacramental presence.


  1. WRT using other rites' imagery, my opinion is: We're Catholics, its all ours.

    1. True but it's good manners protecting both the respective rites and the church's unity to respect their various customs.

  2. The devotion was suppressed because the nun who transcribed the diary did not distinguish between Faustina's words and Our Lord's, so it sounded as if Faustina thought she was God. It was a mess. It's a explained in the notes by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at the back of the print edition of the Diary. :)

  3. I have an icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I bought in E-Bay from a seller in Romania, don't know its origin other than that.

    I'm a Roman Catholic who seriously contemplated Orthodoxy for a long time, but ultimately stayed Roman Catholic. I don't know if the Sacred Heart Icon I have would be (necessarily) inappropriate for a Byzantine Church, but I'n fine with it at home. I prefer the image because its dignified and beautiful, not sappy as 99% of the images of the Sacred Heart tend to be.

    I prefer the icon above of the Divine Mercy to most of those images as well.

    I heard a story that St. Bernadette was never happy with any images of Our Lady other than Byzantine Icons. As someone who feels deeply attached to both East and West, I hope that story is true.


    1. I don't know if the Sacred Heart Icon I have would be (necessarily) inappropriate for a Byzantine Church, but I'm fine with it at home.

      Rite controls what you do in church, and while a rite is a school of spirituality one should follow at home, one can do what one wants at home.

      There's a range of religious art I like but I hear you.


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