Ex ore infantium: ugly edition

From priest:

Really enjoyed that bit of precocious 5 year old humor you gave us! Thought you might like another.

This happened many years ago back in my former Diocese when it was suffering under the iron handed rule of one of the most liberal (and heretical) bishops in the US. This occurred in a parish where I spent my Deacon internship year 37 years ago.

They had just finished building a new Church according to the spirit of the modern age. Outside it appeared to be a high school gym and inside it looked like a high school auditorium. They had just proudly hung a profoundly ugly risen Christ on the wall above the altar.

The pastor was so proud.

At Sunday Mass, at one of those quiet moments that occasionally occur when you could hear a pin drop, the 5 year old brother of a priest friend of mine piped up in a high clear voice, “Mommy, look at that ugly looking Jesus!”

That bit of embarrassingly innocent truth brought about the eventual demise of the ‘ugly Jesus’ better than any amount of adult protest!

The devil can’t stand to be laughed at!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. cresci says:

    You just described exactly the new temple that was raised inside the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, where I did my studies, including the ugly sculptures they put as St. Ignatius of Loyola, of Our Lord risen (it’s supposed to be a sculpture of the Sacred Heart to whom the chapel is dedicated), and of Our Lady.
    I expressed these same views to Father-President, a jesuit, obviously being ignored as you wrote. I wish this kid was there when the chapel was inaugurated and shouted this in a looooud voice. ;-)

  2. ScholaLady says:

    Reminds me of my then-5 year old’s reaction to an OCP hymnal cover: “Why did they make Jesus green?”

  3. Alan Aversa says:

    I love the ex ore infantiums regarding modesty of dress, too.
    Children are amazing. ¡Viva Humanæ Vitæ!

  4. ejcmartin says:

    Reminds me of a story an acquaintance told me. In the 80’s their parish priest removed the crucifix in their 100 year-old church and replaced it with a resurrection Jesus. The statue was placed on a bit of an angle with the head and upraised arms forward. My acquaintance told me the kids used to joke around and call him bungee jumping Jesus.

  5. Why are the concepts of beauty, awe and wonder complicated with entrance into adulthood? Are we so afraid of being thought childish that we accept the innoculation of inculturation as a defense against our own gut reactions? God bless children for proclaiming “The emperor has no clothes!” Their simple wisdom puts us to shame.

  6. James Joseph says:

    Diocese of Albany?

  7. irishgirl says:

    Children are certainly NOT DUMB! They know ugliness when they see it!
    And they are not afraid to speak out about it!

  8. amsjj1002 says:

    Oh dear, except for the description of the building, I’d suspect you were talking about *my* church’s statue! This is bad to admit, but I am so grateful for Lent b/c it gets covered up, and I get a respite from it. Otherwise I look at the little holes in the wall showing where the crucifix used to be and sigh.

    ScholaLady, a green Jesus?? Was it as hideous as that phrase threatens? I’m getting some worrisome pictures in my mind…

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