Freezing the Kool Aid

Bad enough I’m always torn between explaining to my artist friends that being a faithful Catholic is not drinking the Kool-Aid and explaining to my faithful Catholic friends that it’s not worth sweating over “art” that challenges Catholic piety. Now artist Sebastian Errazuriz has to go and put the whole business on ice:

At a party this weekend celebrating New York Design Week, which begins today, the Chilean-born artist plans to hand out 100 “Christian Popsicles” made of “frozen holy wine transformed into the blood of Christ” and featuring a crucifix instead the tongue depressor that typically hosts the frozen treats, he said. 

An image of Jesus Christ positioned traditionally on the cross is visible once the ice pop is consumed. As for the frozen wine, Errazuriz said, he concealed it in a cooler and took it into a church, where it was “inadvertently blessed by the priest while turning wine into the blood of Christ during the Eucharist.”

Read the whole thing. But only if you promise not to punch me for linking to it.

The Kool Aid drinker in me feels the need to clarify that Errazuriz’s cooler of wine was not “inadvertently blessed” by the priest at the Mass into which he smuggled it. Still less has it been transformed into the Blood of Christ. Consecration is not some kind of magic juju that seeps into anything within the sound of the celebrant’s voice, or those bottles of Night Train in the coat pockets of homeless guys who sleep in the back pews of downtown churches all over America would be providing communion of a deeper kind than it does. Your wine’s just wine, dude–or winesicle, anyway.

The part of me (well, it’s all of me, actually) that isn’t Bill “Make-Fun-of-Catholics-and-I’ll-Go-All-Chuck-Norris-on-Your-Impious-Posterior” Donohue admits to a certain fondness for the crucifix popsicle sticks. They’re no tackier than those Jesus on velvet paintings they sell at LA gas stations, or New TestaMints, for that matter. In fact, rather than “signifying the relationship between fanaticism and historic religious violence,” as the artist intends–what a buzzkill!–the Jesus Popsicles might just be a refreshing way to remind an unlikely audience of NY Design Week partygoers just how cool religion can be.

Or maybe I just think that because it’s 89 degrees (in May!) in Dayton, and a popsicle sounds really good right now. Lord, help me.

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