I never did get that Pope Benedict bobble head for Christmas…

… My love of Catholic kitsch is a well documented fact. If it’s tacky and Catholic in theme chances are I am going to love and adore that object and give it a place of honor in my home. The more craptastic the better. I think it started as a young girl when I would gaze with child like wonder at my Abuela’s velvet Madonna hanging in the hallway. It’s a magnificent thing to behold, adorned with glitter and bedazzled to the hilt. All this splendor sat in a silver tin frame with angels and flowers etched into the metal. If I am ever lucky enough to have this heirloom fall into my possession it will sit behind a glass case, like the Mona Lisa, in my home under a spot light. I would charge admission and people would come from miles away to venerate Her. I get a tear in my eye just thinking about it.

But what purpose does kitsch serve and why does it mostly endear itself to me? Would you find this toaster offensive or would enthusiastically invite Father over for a cup of tea and toast for the opportunity to show off your newest kitschy acquisition?

The Christian Post has this piece about Christian kitsch;

Are these items harmless, or humorless and offensive? Christian kitsch is becoming a mainstream commodity, making waves in Christian retail on Internet sites featuring odd items.

“There are some disconcerting side effects to watch out for in the world of Christian advertising,” noted James Beverley, in an interview with The Christian Post. “Any promotion that uses Gospel symbols to sell non-spiritual products increases the chances of non-Christians thinking that all Christians are interested in is money.

“There is also the danger of cheapening the value of Christian symbols by direct connection with various products of modern capitalism,” said Beverley, professor of Christian thought and ethics at Tyndale University in Toronto, Canada.

I’ve always felt that if we lose the ability to laugh at ourselves we’ve lost the ability to laugh at all.

Feel differently, sound off.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Ink

    I want that toaster. I’ll use it to make toast for all my seminarian friends.

  • Dr. Eric

    Have you ever been to one of the pilgrimage sites? No, wait, you’ve been to Rome. You know that Catholic pilgrimage sites, Knock comes to mind as well, are chock full of little shops that sell Catholic kitsch. I have a feeling that there were shoppes in Constantinople, Bath, Mont Saint Michel, and everywhere else in the Middle Ages as well.

  • kenneth

    I just gave a nice rosewood “John Paul II” rosary to my great aunt for Christmas. The rosary is legit, but I took some liberties creating a back story for it. I told her it was the one he used at Sturgis in 1985…..

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.a.richer Stephanie A. Richer

      THAT is hifreakinlarious!

      BTW, I got his leathers . . .

  • Paula Lattanzi

    I bought my husband the Pope Benedict XVI bobble head last year for Christmas. I’m all for Catholic “stuff”

  • Jeanne Chabot

    I disagree. I love the fact that Catholic culture is thriving. It’s about time it came back. If you love your faith, you’re going to want to be reminded of it, even in mundane things. And I agree, we need to be able to laugh at ourselves too… :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1530255819 Nate Lenz

    I looked around the house…don’t think I’ve got anything that can be classified as ‘Christian kitch’ … and I don’t count the ikon of Christ I got from the monks of St. Isaac’s of Syria Skete.

  • Anonymous

    It’s always been this way in the Church, and while it’s not my thing, I think it’s harmless. The thing I don’t get is relics. I would eat a piece of Jesus toast, but don’t show me the fingernail of your favorite saint!

  • http://sainteasy.blogspot.com/ Paige Deaner

    I’ve got a Holy Toast stamp with an image of Mary on it. I came back to the faith by “ironically” collecting Virgin Mary kitsch. Once you’re surrounded by her, you end up just starting to talk to her, then pray to her and before you know it, you’re sitting in a pew with a mantilla on your head, choking on incense. 
    This is apparently not uncommon. I read a book by revert (kinda) Beverly D’onofrio who came home because she bought an Our Lady of Fatima holy card at an estate sale. 

  • Teresa B.

    I have a Pope Benedict and a Jesus Bobblehead. I bought the two of them at a booth at the Canadian National Exhibition (Toronto) a few years back. I put an Italian World Cup soccer wristband on top of Jesus’ head. 
    The toaster looks cool!

  • Charles Culbreth

    Kat, I also have the B16 and Jesus Bobbles. I’ll gladly send both to you if you like.
    email me:
    scurradei (at) sbcglobal (dot) net
    Happy New Year
    Charles

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      You’re a peach, Charles. :-)

  • Anonymous

    Love it! But I am not a collector, . . . yet

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.a.richer Stephanie A. Richer

    May I add, I have personally seen The Crescat’s home.  She has us ALL beat for Catholic kitsch.  Thus, her home is kept demon-free . . .

    (pssst, sweetie . . . except for the white noise machine . . . you KNOW what you’re going to hear from it . . .)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      I.Killed.Six.Kids! 

      AHHHHHHH! That was awful evil and I managed to block it form my memory till this very moment.