The Beautiful and Ugly Catholic

The Beautiful and Ugly Catholic


Beauty is the material participation in God, perfection ordered in the pattern of things, mathematics unmathed, realized, not abstract, God’s creation, the universe, known by the mind of man.  There is no cause for a worm to know Beauty, as there is no cause for a rock to know Beauty, as there is cause for the universe to know itself beautiful by the mind of man.  You might say that “In the beginning there was the Adam of atom who came to know himself the child of God.”  Nothing here to get puffed up about; was God’s choice that His universe knows itself by the mind of man.


Beautiful and Ugly Catholic, Saint Augustine
Beautiful and Ugly Catholic: Saint Augustine Of Hippo, Philippe de Champaigne, 1650. (detail)


Saint Augustine illuminates in a parable (Confessions, X, 6):

And what is this?  I asked the earth, and earth answered me, “I am not he”; and whatsoever are in it confessed the same.  I asked the sea and the deeps and the living creeping things, and they answered, “We are not thy God, seek above us.”  I asked the moving air, and the whole air with his inhabitants answered, “We are not God.”  I asked the heavens, sun, moon, stars, “Nor are we the God whom you seek.”  And I replied unto all the things, “You told me of God that you are not He.  Tell me something of Him.”  And they cried out in one loud voice, “HE MADE US.”  My questioning was my thoughts on them.  Their beauty returned to me the answer.

Expect you noticed that earth spoke, that the sea and deep-things spoke, that the air and high-things spoke, that all which is spoke in words which have being beyond things.  Words are incorporeal, ineffable … you might say, “The universe of your mind is unutterable”.  Do you hear your mind speaking?  Can you show me your mind?  Tell me, can your mind describe itself?  No, no more than it can describe God its maker.


The Beautiful and Ugly Catholic, John of Damascus
Beautiful and Ugly Catholic: John of Damascus, icon, date unknown. (detail)


John of Damascus tees-up the point, “I venerate together with the King and God the purple robe of his body, not as a garment, nor as a fourth person,” expanding until you understand, “For the nature of the flesh did not become divinity, but as the Word became flesh immutably, remaining what it was, so also the flesh became the Word without losing what it was, being rather made equal to the Word’s multiple essence.  Therefore, I am emboldened to depict the invisible God, not as invisible, but as he became visible for our sake, by participation in flesh and blood.  I do not depict the invisible divinity, but I depict God made visible in the flesh.

As such, John excused the icon, recognizing in the icon the immutable ineffable, that picture without words that transconceived from the artist’s mind through hand to brush, to wood, to digital image to your mind where it lives and acts.  Do you see it in Beauty?  Can you reduce the icon to words that will fully reproduce the picture in your best friend’s mind?


The Beautiful and Ugly Catholic, Pope Saint John Paul II
Beautiful and Ugly Catholic: Pope John Paul II, Nelson Shanks, 2014. (detail)


God did not bother with words to describe the beautiful, nor should you.  As John Paul II in his “Letter to Artists” frames the point, saying you should find nothing strange in your muteness, that you “have had a momentary glimpse of the abyss of light which has its original wellspring in God.  Is it in any way surprising that this leaves the spirit overwhelmed as it were, so that it can only stammer in reply?”  As always, as in the triune, “God In perceiving that all he had created was good, God saw that it was beautiful as well.  The link between good and beautiful stirs fruitful reflection.  In a certain sense, beauty is the visible form of the good, just as the good is the metaphysical condition of beauty.

Ah, yes.  A shame.  I would like to continue along in praise of Christian saints, their perception and wisdom, but now we come to the Modern Progressive, to Pope Francis, native of Argentina, a Perónist, a militant for illiberal justice who confuses the pretend Spirit of the Time with the actual Holy Spirit.  You might like to know, that the “Spirit of the Time” is Hegel’s “Zeitgeist” made material by Marx.  Yes, Pope Francis is Progressive Marxist first, Catholic, second.  Last week, Francis welcomed the artist Serrano, maker of “Piss-Christ” to Saint Peter’s Basilica where he shook hands with and gave the Piss-Christ artist a thumb’s-up.  In the Evangelii Gaudium, Francis wrote, “Each particular Church should encourage the use of the arts in evangelization, building on the treasures of the past but also drawing upon the wide variety of contemporary expressions so as to transmit the faith in a new ‘language of parables.’”  Like the Piss-Christ parable, I suppose.


The Beautiful and Ugly Catholic, Pope Francis
Beautiful and Ugly Catholic: Pope Francis, by Chinese communist artist, Shen Jiawei, contemporary. (detail) 


Yes, Francis, go on, “Every expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus.”  In piss, Francis?  O, those Perónists, those Marxists, those Wokesters, deceivers all, saying one thing to mislead the commons while doing another in harm of the commons, of God, of the Beautiful, the True, the Good.  Pope Francis knows that art is seldom found in the Progressive church and when it is the art is ugly, purposefully.  The ugly is not the things of God but of Satan.  As we say, “ugly as sin”.  In fact, the ugly is sin.  The makers of ugly are sinners because they offend God.  “The ugly,” as we say, “is offensive.”  Too, the ugly harms the soul.  Put in your mind pornography or Piss-Christ and you will see, will feel what I mean.

In promoting the ugly, Pope Francis sins.  Yes, we are all sinners.  Yet, Pope Francis’ sin is a million-times magnified because he encourages, facilitates the delivery of the ugly into millions of minds where it befouls the beautiful creation of God.  See, by Francis your pure thoughts are foul; Satan has entered the pattern of your mind.  Pope Francis is a purveyor of modern pornography.


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The Beautiful and Ugly Catholic

Related, Confession of a Sonneteer – The Studio Books

and, Confession, Book III, Colloquies: A Review of Civilization in Little Songs.

For more on church architecture, history, manner you might visit The Beautiful Home “Houses of God” edition.

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