Skip to comments.Confessionals Out, Pagan Art Gallery In (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 01/11/2010 10:24:19 AM PST by NYer
Oh boy. I don't even know where to start with this one. This story is just a microcosm of so much that's wrong with so many of our "Catholic" universities. The Jesuit run University of San Francisco has removed a number of confessionals and replaced them with a "pagan" art gallery.
Yup. You read that right. And they say they're doing it as a "testament to St. Ignatius of Loyola." You know the St. Ignatius whose Exercises state:
In consequence, having made a better Confession and being better disposed, one finds himself in condition and prepared to receive the Blessed Sacrament: the reception of which is an aid not only not to fall into sin, but also to preserve the increase of grace.Yeah. Good ol' Iggy didn't talk much about the benefit of gawking at pagan art before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. But maybe it was implied.
On November 3, 2008, the online newsletter of the Jesuit California province announced the opening of an art gallery in the eastern alcove of St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco.Firstly, who calls them "confessional boxes?" Maybe they wanted to make them sound unpleasant like some sort of tool used in the Inquisition?
Said the newsletter, “St. Ignatius Church, a Jesuit parish in San Francisco, celebrated the opening of its new Manresa Gallery on September 18. Formed by four interior alcoves, which previously housed confessional boxes, the gallery is a permanent testament to St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Composition of Place… In keeping with Ignatius’ understanding that his Constitutions or governing rules for Jesuits would include old principles and new ones, the gallery’s philosophy is to include both traditional religious works and contemporary art in a series of changing exhibitions. Commissioned pieces will enhance the dialogue that take places on a larger scale within the ritual space of the church. Manresa Gallery is open on Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. and by appointment.” The article was written by James R. Blaettler, S.J., Associate Pastor of St. Ignatius.
A few weeks ago, I decided to go to St. Ignatius to take a look for myself. While the museum was closed, I was able to look through the windows to get a glimpse of what’s inside. It was a surprising experience to find an art gallery inside a Catholic Church. It became even stranger when the art displayed was not Christian, but pagan.
Fr. Blaettler said, the motivation was to “enhance the dialogue that take places on a larger scale within the ritual space of the church.I don't even know what that means. I honestly don't.
I think I’m going to be sick to my stomach.
SF, does this “church” also offer a bath house for public same sex encounters?
As to the pagan art: I am reminded of the story told by Andrew Mead, now rector of St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue (PECUSA), of walking through the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (PECUSA) in the company of Fr. Alexander Schmemann. The encounted a statue of the Buddha in a niche off of one of the aisles.
Fr. Alexander is reported of have remarked (Fr. Mead quoted him, imitating his rolling Russian baritone), “Do you know what this is? This is bullsh*t!”
Still, so long as the removal of confessionals is indicative of the adoption of the practice found salutary in the East of combining spiritual counsel with the Mystery of Repentance, in the context of a confession in which the priest clearly knows the penitent, I’m not sure that *that* is necessarily a bad thing.
Even for non-Catholics this is extremely distressing. Catholicism is a bullwark against the destruction of moral absolutes; this is an example of the opposite, and is very saddening. What is needed is a resurgence of traditional Catholicism and CINOs gotten rid of. This will help everyone.
There's a book about that.
the practice found salutary in the East
The East has its peculiar practices, and I wouldn't dream of imposing ours upon them. I would appreciate seeing the same courtesy extended by them in return.
those statues look demonic don’t they?
Here are our confessionals (we have two):
I spoke to our rector about having Confession hours more frequently than just Saturday afternoon. He said that even on Saturday there is lots of 'dead time' when nobody shows up . . . and he can't afford to have his priests sitting for 2 more hours on another day when they are constantly on the run. He pointed out that anybody can schedule Confession at any time. And I will say that when my daughter comes into town on Sunday evening whichever priest is around is happy to hear her Confession before Mass on Sunday night.
All our priests preach the virtue of frequent Confession, and the Advent and Lenten penance services are very well attended (this year the crowd wasn't out the door, but the church was still quite full).
So I don't know if it's a chicken-and-egg situation (if you had more confessional hours, more people would come - or they wouldn't come ????)
If the Jesuits just simply HAVE to have a cultural art exhibit, there’s something called a PARISH HALL . . . rather than using a consecrated space for stuff that is clearly dedicated to somebody else’s religion!
At the last Advent penance service they began with all the priests at the altar and had a little talk on the benefits of confession, a communal prayer, then the priests fanned out to the various 'stations', mostly in the transepts, around the sanctuary, and the narthex, marked with a little barricade around for privacy. Most of course were face-to-face, sitting on two chairs, because there are only two confessionals. We had over a dozen priests in attendance.
Fun time last Lenten penance service, the retired archbishop came and brought a friend of his, a Cardinal, who happened to be visiting in town. That was pretty cool, he just took a chair and heard confessions like everyone else (I wasn't in his line - I went to my favorite confessor, who gives excellent advice and a penance that's stiff enough that you feel like he took you seriously). I wondered if you use a different formula with a Cardinal . . . "bless me your Eminence for I have sinned" . . . but I asked afterwards and you don't.
The way our confessionals are set up, you always have the option of going round to the other side for a face-to-face confession. They are only single-sided, not double sided like the old ones where the priest sat in the middle with a screen on each side. Now that I think about it, there should be plenty of room for a wheelchair to go around the back side of the confessional -
I kinda like the screen, but really don't have a problem with face-to-face. I lead a pretty boring life, and the older I get the less embarrassed I am about almost everything.
I would just lay your problem before the priest in your Email, and explain that you can't get the benefit of the Sacrament through the screen because of your hearing loss. I've found that most folks are perfectly willing to accommodate an honest problem or obstacle, if you just explain it to them in a straightforward way, as frankly as you can. And be as accommodating as you can to the priest if he suggests a solution.
The Canons (and the Vatican clarification of 1998) do give a priest the power to decide NOT to hear confessions outside the grille at all, and I don't imagine the FSSP folks are very keen on the idea of face-to-face, but the Canons also say that the priest should temper justice with mercy -- anyway, I'd ask.
The most popular time in my parish is between Masses on Sunday morning. The lines are long enough that frequently there are two priests hearing them. Our priests are in the church every Sunday from 8 am - 1 pm in various capacities. Honestly, they don't leave. Hearing confessions is part of the job. Yes, anyone can schedule a time, but that doesn't do much for the anonymity.
Darn Jesuits. Here, they ripped out a 100 rank organ and threw it in a dumpster. St. Ignatius Loyola, pray for them. They need all the help they can get.
Well, dang. We sure could have used that organ! Who made it? (not that it matters, I guess - it’s gone.)