Clothing the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Flag? Great Moments in ‘Murika!

So there I was, minding my own business, getting ready for a day off tomorrow to celebrate the birth of our nation. And then I saw this…

I’m all for love of God, and love of country, but make the hurting stop!

News flash: the Blessed Virgin Mary isn’t Betsy Ross. She doesn’t need to be wrapping herself in the American Flag, or the flag of any nation under the sun. Not now, not ever. I’m with David Gibson on this one,

I did a double-take when I received the latest edition of The Tablet, the newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, and saw this image taking up most of the front page. It is the Blessed Mother wrapped in the American flag, and a poster of the photo has been sent to all parishes in the diocese.

…This Star-Spangled icon of the Virgin is what bothers me. The Tablet provides no credit as the artist behind the image, and it doesn’t seem to come from the various resources offered at the USCCB’s Fortnight for Freedom page. To be sure, the rhetoric in the F4F campaign as well as the structure of the liturgical celebrations figuratively wrap the church in red, white and blue: the campaign begins on the vigil of the feasts of Sts. John Fisher and Thomas More on June 21 and ends on July 4th, the “feast day” of the United States.

So maybe this image just brings home what the bishops have been preaching. But this icon seems over the top — and disturbing. I know Catholics have in the past gone out of their way to demonstrate their bona fides as good Americans. But this? The flip side of a Thomas Nast cartoon, to me.

Or as another blogger put it, it’s dangerously close to Ricky Bobby territory.

This reminds me of that scene from The Santa Clause when in the marketing meeting for the Total Tank, Scott Calvin says,


No. We don’t need to be wrapping Our Lady up in the flag. Our Lady of the Daughters of the American Revolution? Nix it! That’s just a political message that has gone too far.

As we’d say in the Marine Corps, this is a clear case of good initiative, but extremely poor judgement.

Kind of like this wee kirk built in Dickeyville, Wisconsin circa 1929,

Fly the flag tomorrow proudly. Pledge your allegiance to it if you so desire. Wrap up the Fortnight for Freedom with solid prayers and the Holy Mass. But don’t treat the Blessed Virgin so cavalierly. The bottom line? This runs the runs the risk of conflating patriotism with piety — and equating the Mother of God with Lady Liberty.

Semper Fidelis

  • roughplacesplain

    I agree about the poster of the Blessed Virgin, but I have to confess, I like the Wisconsin church!

  • Artur Sebastian Rosman

    This whole episode doesn’t seem so strange to me. It’s part of a real crisis, as opposed to the ones that get talked about by Dowd and Weigel, in the American church:

    http://cosmostheinlost.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/american-idol/

  • Matthew Kristian Jensen

    If the Blessed Mother was in the world today, I doubt she would have many kind words to say about America. Let’s face it: the America we deal with today is not the America of old times. We have let our morals slide. Religious freedom is being threatened. I think wrapping Mary in the flag of a land ravaged by deceit is a little too much.

  • Contra Mundo

    Reminds me of the line from Psalms: “Trust not in princes”.

  • yo opino

    Covering the Most Blessed Virgin Mary with the flag of a nation that supports the killing of innocent babies through abortion? A nation that kills poor people in villages with drones? A country that has spread corruption through many nations around the world to “defend” its so called interests?

    That is more of an insult than anything else.

  • Artur Sebastian Rosman

    And so I’m still thinking about it all and here’s what it’s led me to: http://cosmostheinlost.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/kristevas-declaration-of-dependence-on-jp2/

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Erin Pascal

    “Don’t treat the Blessed Virgin so cavalierly. This runs the risk of conflating patriotism with piety — and equating
    the Mother of God with Lady Liberty.” Completely agree with you on this one!

  • Rosemarie

    +J.M.J+

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one bothered by this picture. My first thought on seeing it was, “I wonder what the K of C thinks of that?”. They are really into flag ettiquette and wearing an American flag is a major no-no.


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