Corpus Christi Weirdness and Beauty Around the World

Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus so we're still celebrating, I guess, Jesus' body parts. Roll with it. Here are some photos from our big, old, weird church. My favorites are the sawdust and flower carpets. … [Read more...]

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Fra Angelico and the Sex-Hating Church

A really rambling post.Now that my book is out I've been doing a lot of interviews, and in many of them I've been asked to tell my conversion story. A huge part of my conversion involved realizing that the Catholic Church wasn't what I'd thought it was. For example, I had this image that the Church opposed and rejected the human body--the beauty of the body, the joy of the senses--and denigrated all sensual beauty and pleasure, from the beauty of a Japanese maple to the ecstasy of sex. (I'm … [Read more...]

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Tenderness, Penitence and Estrangement: I Review the El Greco Show at the National Gallery of Art

for the Weekly Standard:The nickname “El Greco” reveals two things about Doménikos Theotokópoulos, the weird and sublime painter of the Counter-Reformation: He was Greek, and he was a stranger. When everybody around you is Greek, nobody is “the Greek.” El Greco’s vision reflected the second part of his identity even more than the first.more … [Read more...]

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Snow Day Thoughts

A series of points too small for a real post.* While I was in Boston for the US National Figure Skating Championships (of which more later!! THEY WERE SO GREAT) I also got to go with Ratty to the Museum of Fine Arts. It has some terrific Spanish painting from the Counter-Reformation era--I love this stuff, even in the court paintings you feel like you can smell the blood. The only thing that glows is the flesh of the Crucified. There's an extremism which I think some people find wearying but … [Read more...]

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“St. Francis Borgia and the Dying Impenitent”

[link removed; look it up!]Got that in with forty minutes left in his feast day! Looks awful at this size though, sorry. Anyway this is Goya and yes, the subject was one of the Borgias. Every family's got its embarrassing relative.... … [Read more...]

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