Pornography and the New Evangelization

Pornography and the New Evangelization

Is pornography in one form or another the tool of the New Evangelization, or is the New Evangelization for the dissemination of pornography in one form or another?

[Hat-tip to Pete Baklinski at LifeSiteNews]

Vatican archbishop admits he got this one thing wrong in controversial sex ed program

ROME, June 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican archbishop who oversaw a controversial sex-ed program that was released last year during World Youth Day in Poland has admitted that certain sexually explicit images should not have been included.

“Criticisms that have arisen about the Program, based principally on certain pictures that were used and on a number of translation mistakes, show that programs intended for worldwide distribution have to be adapted to varying cultural contexts and sensibilities, especially in this delicate area. I agree that this aspect of the Program should have been dealt with more thoughtfully and professionally,” said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia in a June 6 interview with National Catholic Register’s Ed Pentin.

“I’m already in my 70s, but it’s never too late to acknowledge that ‘you live and learn,’” he added.

Paglia oversaw the release of the program as head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, a position he no longer has. Last year Pope Francis appointed Paglia as president of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family as well as head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

The sex-ed program, titled “The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People,” was criticized by Catholic life-and-family leaders for bypassing parents as the primary educators of their children and for its immoral content.

The program was also criticized for failing to name and condemn immoral sexual behaviors, such as fornication, prostitution, adultery, contracepted-sex, homosexual activity, and masturbation as objectively sinful actions that destroy charity in the heart and turn one away from God.

Along with using sexually explicit and suggestive images in activity workbooks, the program recommended various sexually explicit movies as springboards for discussion.

The sex-ed program was completed a few months after Pope Francis released his controversial Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia where he promoted a “need for sex education” to be addressed by “educational institutions.” The pope’s promotion of school sex-ed alarmed global life-and-family leaders since the Catholic Church has always recognized and taught — often in the face of opposition from world powers — that sex education is the “basic right and duty of parents.”

The archbishop did not apologize for any of the other problematic content in the program.

American psychiatrist Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, who has worked with victims of priestly sexual abuse and priest abusers, strongly condemned the sex-ed program as abusive and “the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth” he has seen in the past 40 years. Fitzgibbons called for Archbishop Paglia to be evaluated according to norms adopted by the United States Catholic Bishops in the wake of the sex abuse scandal.

One U.S. bishop, who has since passed away, used the Vatican’s sex-ed program to defend a similar program in his own diocesan-run schools. Despite parents complaining that the program’s “erotic” content and “salacious” details were spiritually harmful to their children, the bishop maintained that the course was mandatory and would not allow parents to opt their children out from it.

Elsewhere in the interview with Pentin, the Archbishop defended a homoerotic mural he commissioned in his former Italian cathedral in which he is portrayed as clasping a semi-naked man. Paglia called the mural an “evangelizing” tool.

RELATED: Vatican archbishop defends cathedral’s pornographic, homoerotic mural as ‘evangelizing’ tool

ROME, June 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A leading Vatican prelate is defending a homoerotic mural he commissioned in his former Italian cathedral in which he is portrayed as clasping a semi-naked man. While Catholic critics have called the work “blasphemous,” “disgusting,” and even “demonic,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia says the mural was meant to be an “evangelizing” tool.

“One great theme of my preaching in such circumstances was reliance on God’s mercy to deliver us from eternal punishment, and in that context I was presented with a project for a mural that would show the risen Christ gathering into nets all of wounded and suffering humanity and, as their Redeemer, bringing them with him as he ascended to Heaven and the Father,” the Archbishop said in a June 6 interview with National Catholic Register’s Ed Pentin.

“In the mural, humanity is shown naked to express its radical poverty, and I too am included in the mural as one who needs redemption no less than anyone else. It has been in the Cathedral for more than 10 years with no objection from the local Catholic community, and I believe it is seen by the community as a part, perhaps to some a too fleshy part, of an overall evangelizing commitment,” he added.

Paglia was appointed last August by Pope Francis as president of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. He also heads the Pontifical Academy for Life. As the former head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Paglia oversaw the development and launch of a Vatican-approved sex-ed course for teens that contained explicit images.

The Archbishop commissioned homosexual Argentinean Ricardo Cinalli to paint the cathedral mural in 2007. It depicts Jesus carrying nets to heaven filled with naked and semi-nude homosexuals, transsexuals, prostitutes, and drug dealers, jumbled together in erotic interactions.

Cinalli told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica in March 2016 that the archbishop oversaw every detail of the work.

“There was no detail that was done freely, at random,” he said. “Everything was analyzed. Everything was discussed. They never allowed me to work on my own.”

The mural when viewed from a distance

In the right-hand net, what appears to be young naked children can be seen entangled with the bodies of older men and women.

In one instance, one male can be seen with his hand between another male’s legs groping his reproductive organ.

The image of the Savior is painted with the face of a local male hairdresser, and his private parts can be seen through his translucent garb.

Included in one of the nets is Paglia, the then diocesan bishop. Wearing his skull cap, he is depicted as clutching another semi-nude man who is tenderly embracing him.

Cinalli told La Repubblica that the naked people in the nets were meant to be “erotic,” although he said Paglia drew the line when Cinalli proposed to show people actually copulating.

“In this case, there was not – in this sense – a sexual intention, but erotic, yes,” Cinalli said. “I think that the erotic aspect is the most notable among the people inside the nets.” He later added, “The one thing that they didn’t permit me to insert was the copulation of two people within this net where everything is permitted.”

But Paglia denied in the interview that the mural was meant to be erotic, chalking-up criticism to people having diverse standards of modesty.

“The mural is not and was not intended to be erotic in any way, including homoerotic, but I am aware that artistic standards of modesty and appropriateness vary widely even in Western and Western-origin cultures, and that seems to be the case here,” he said.

But Catholic artist and author Michael D. O’Brien told LifeSiteNews in a previous interview that erotic or not, the real problem with the mural is that it gives the viewer the “false message” that “all sexual activity, regardless of how depraved, is blessed by God.”

“Unlike the past masters of religious art who have painted the nude — one thinks of Massacio’s ‘Expulsion from Paradise’ or Michelangelo’s ‘The Creation of Adam’ — in Cinalli’s work the human body and sexuality are paramount, and redemption is merely the excuse or the costume in which it dresses for the performance of the artist’s real intention: Everyone is loved by God and therefore all sexual activity, regardless of how depraved, is blessed by God,” he said.

“This false message is in direct contradiction to the urgent imperatives of Sacred Scripture. It also violates the norms outlined by St. John Paul II in his Theology of the Body, in which he devotes a significant section to nudity in art. The dignity of the human person, he emphasizes, must always be respected by both artist and viewer, and any depiction of the naked human body should lead to the contemplation of the whole truth about man — his eternal value. The problem of pornography in the modern age, John Paul II writes, must be assessed according to Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount, about purity of heart and about its opposite, adultery of the heart,” he added.

O’Brien called the mural “neo-pornography thinly disguised by its apparent religious theme.”

“It is not about divine mercy. Nor is it about the inherent dignity of humanity in its masculine and feminine forms. It is the misuse of art as socio-political, sexual propaganda,” he said.

Maureen Mullarkey, a member of the International Association of Art Critics and senior contributor to The Federalist, also criticized the work, writing on her blog in March that Paglia’s mural was a “true scandal” for the Church.

Mullarkey called the mural an “out-and-proud” display that reveals not only a “creep,” but a much deeper problem within the Vatican under Francis’ pontificate.

“Paglia’s narcissism—the urge to flaunt his liberation from the moral considerations he is pledged to honor—is stunning. It is a finger in the eye of congregants who trust in a priest’s fidelity to his vows. To place it in a public house of worship is treachery. It is also a declaration of Paglia’s own trust in his immunity from reprimand,” she wrote.

Mullarkey wrote that the painting forces congregants to “peep through a keyhole at [Paglia’s] sexual inclinations—and suggested behavior.”

“Abandoning reticence, Paglia disdains his own flock. He is taunting them. There is malice in that,” she wrote.

“The true scandal here is the basis—which goes unmentioned—of Paglia’s confidence that he could broadcast his sexuality on a cathedral wall without fear of censure,” she added.

Paglia told Pentin in the interview that he did not think it “productive” for him to answer the charge that the mural is demonic.

“While I want to make my answer to this question useful, and am sensitive to the concerns raised in it, I don’t think that specifically addressing the hyperbolic, and inaccurate, adjectives ‘blasphemous’ and ‘demonic’ is productive,” he said.

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2 comments on “Pornography and the New Evangelization

  1. < ... John Paul II in his Theology of the Body, in which he devotes a significant section to nudity in art.

    Papua New Guinea, where Wojtyla devoted a significant part of Holy Mass to nudity.

  2. The irony is that the largest covert exporter of wickedly salacious materials in all forms into North America and NATO nations prior to 1989 was the USSR’s own KGB. Andropov positively cheered how successfully his Directorate’s subversive efforts proved to be.

    Of course, the US was quick to use exactly the same tactics in its imperialistic wars since the 1990s. Not a peep from the Pentagon or the White House about it, either.

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