Cleaning the bronze thing

The enormous bronze and brass thing menacing the stage of the Paul VI Audience Hall in Vatican City is going to be cleaned, etc.

I have a different solution.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Central Valley says:

    Tear it down. Send it to Los Ageles to be melted down then take the bronce and encase the concrete cathedral. A good recycling effort.

  2. catholicmidwest says:

    Melt it down and sell it for scrap. They’d ought to be able to make a mint off of all that brass at today’s prices and use the money for something worthwhile.

  3. Andy Lucy says:

    Does your solution involve an explosion, followed by the words, “And now for something completely different…?”

  4. catholicmidwest says:

    Incidentally, speaking of explosions, the video says that the statue was made 34 years ago (1977) and that it depicts Christ rising from the crater of a nuclear bomb. The statue is actually very dated-like a snapshot in time. The bomb was THE panic of the 60s. Sears even sold bomb shelters in their parking lots. We didn’t worry about terrorists, incurable diseases or ecology in our solitary dark moments then; we worried about Russia and the thermonuclear bomb coming in 20 minutes.

    There was a lot of tumult in the Church, particularly in Europe. Communism was on the rise in parliaments like Italy’s. These were the years of precipitous decline in the faith there. Probably it took 10 years to get to this statue from the height of the nuclear panic, bureaucracy being what it is, but here you have this monstrosity as a result.

  5. isnowhere says:

    This should help to get the job done. If that is not available, one could always use one of these

  6. Tim Ferguson says:

    Hmmmm. In the past, Popes have given gifts to other world leaders from the art collection of the Vatican. Perhaps in honor of the great esteem the Church has toward, say, the people of Saudi Arabia, this could be given as a gift to the Saudi King…

  7. Phil_NL says:

    I propose that it gets molten down together with the ‘statue’ of blessed JPII. If they then use the resulting metal to forge some fetters for deniers of the Pope’s authority, sell the metal to benefit the hungry or make a proper work of art I don’t overly care, that is a secondary issue.

    Blowtorches and melting pots come first.

  8. medievalist says:

    Of the Church’s riches, this particular one should be sold and given to the poor.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    Melt it down and make a traditional Crucifix.

  10. Nicole says:

    Did Our Lord’s Resurrection happen when He rose from the crater of a nuclear bomb?? uh…No… so why the statue? No idea…

  11. Gregory DiPippo says:

    With aqua regia, God willing.

  12. Speravi says:

    While they are at it, they could tear the whole hall down. Its architecture clashes with everything around it.

  13. tzard says:

    Take it away for cleaning. Lose the paperwork and have it sit in a warehouse like in Indiana Jones.

  14. The first time I saw that thing, in the 90s, I could not believe what I was seeing. It looked so “dark” and straight from the pit. Reminds me of something one might come across when Sam and Frodo were approaching Mordor.

  15. APX says:

    That thing creeps me out. Maybe if it was titled, “Tormented Soul In Hell” I wouldn’t be so disgusted by it.

  16. Mom2301 says:

    Now that I’ve seen this…thing…I will no longer think ill of the sculpted metal risen Jesus in our parish.

  17. More evidence of my suspicion that “famous” artisans and architects (and perhaps the ecclesiastics who have commissioned them) have been pulling fast ones on the Church for decades. “Oh, it’s ART, and only a fool would fail to appreciate it.” We don’t want to appear as philistines so we go along with it. Then we wake up from our dream, and realize that the nightmare has only just begun.

    Put it up on eBay and let’s see how many true art lovers would spring for what the artist was paid 40-something years ago.

  18. chcrix says:

    G. DiP.: I think aqua agricola would do the trick.

    And the sculptor? Fazzini (Vazzini?) Wasn’t that the name of the Sicilian in “The Princess Bride” who kept saying ‘INCONCEIVABLE!’.

  19. UncleBlobb says:

    I think the Vatican is failing to appreciate the “genius” of the creator of the sculpture by cleaning it: who could tell by looking at it that it’s dirty and in need of cleaning? Save the money.

  20. Maltese says:

    I think it is a fitting piece in Paul VI’s Hall; it serves well to remind us of that time in Church history, and the Novus Ordo.

  21. Bill Russell says:

    Why do these Vatican reports have such irritating commentators with voices that sound like robots?
    And rare is the reports that does not have some mispronunciation.

  22. Bill Russell says:

    Corrigendum: “reports” in my note of course should be singular

  23. KAS says:

    Oh, that is one UGLY metal thing.

    Why clean it? I doubt it will improve the looks of the thing.

    It is bad, like the statue of Blessed John Paul II which looks like a refrigerator with Uncle Festers head on it….. they both could go and the world would not suffer for their losses!

  24. hicks says:

    That statue looks like a monster.

  25. TravelerWithChrist says:

    because a traditional crucifix would just be tooooo…… Catholic??
    Put the thing back in an art exhibit where it belongs.

    It looks like a nest of snakes, and Christ was perfect and surely more handsome than that. I just don’t get that the artist wanted Him to rise out of a nuclear explosion – God is all good and doesn’t come out of something bad.
    Perhaps it was never approved.

  26. Sid says:

    Aside from its questionable spiritual value, the statue fails aesthetically. One cannot persuasively sculpt fire, wind, clouds, rain, fog, or rays of light, regardless if the aesthetic is mimesis or expressionism — though it’s not for want 0f trying, be it in the Baroque age or today. Ditto atomic bomb explosions.

  27. Sandy says:

    Aw Father, I was naive enough to play the video thinking it would show your “solution”. I thought it was a joke!

  28. Maybe, under the current Holy Father, the thing will turn out to need more extensive repairs than previously thought and will adjourn sine die

  29. Paula says:

    Aaiieee! It looks like Jesus has tentacles of fire.

  30. I think a well-placed, narrowly-focused earthquake, or perhaps a giant sinkhole would work well here. Or less facetiously, do what was done to so many beautiful reredos– just build a big wall in front of it.

  31. totustuusmaria says:

    It looks like Pericle Fazzini passed on to the Lord in 1987, so there’s no need to keep it around to avoid bruising his feelings. Perhaps its too soon after his death and they don’t want to offend the family?

  32. Mitchell NY says:

    This piece of Art, of course being subjective, just looks all over the place with not beginnings or endings. It is just messy. Like much of the Church during my lifetime. It looks like its’ time has passed. I hope they get rid of it or melt it down and put it to another use. It makes for an ugly backdrop everytime I see it.

  33. carolg says:

    I wish we could vote on its removal.

  34. Bea says:

    Reminds me of Medusa

  35. amsjj1002 says:

    Wow, is that what it’s called? I always called it “ugly big tree”. Could never see anything religious about it.

    I doubt cleaning will improve anything, just melt it down. Maybe they can recycle it and get some money back.

  36. pattif says:

    Photographic reproduction does not come anywhere near conveying the the unutterable grossness of this thing in real life. Imagine what poor Papa thinks every time he has to walk on that stage….

  37. tonesing says:

    Everyone here is sooo short-sighted… You forget the value of suffering. Think of all the poor souls who are released from Purgatory each time His Holiness catches a glimpse!

  38. irishgirl says:

    I remember seeing this when I attended two papal audiences in 1977 (I ended up being made to stand out in the vestibule with four of my fellow-pilgrims, while my elderly spinster ‘roomie’ somehow got inside and snagged a seat!) and 1981 (I got a seat and was able to see JP II ‘up close’).
    Still looks hideous. It ought to be melted down and a more traditional image of Our Lord be put in its place.
    I like the ‘solutions’ that other posters have suggested. What was yours going to be, Father Z? We’re all curious to know…..

  39. Martial Artist says:

    Given the current frequency of thefts of copper, I wonder if selling it for its metallic value (the funds to be used to further the mission of the Church) might not be the best solution.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  40. Centristian says:

    This is one of many difficult-to-ignore reminders of the peculiar tastes of Pope Paul VI and of the bewildering vision he had for the Church. Pope Paul’s tastes represent, however, something dated rather than timeless, as this statue demonstrates. Unfortunately, the monumentality of Paul’s…contributions…often makes them difficult to remove.

    Difficult but not impossible, however. In my opinion, this is hardly the ideal backdrop for the Vicar of Christ as he grants a public audience. It looks alot like something one would expect to see at an Alice Cooper concert, to be honest. It’s disturbing and even ghoulish-looking, more reminiscent of Halloween than of Easter.

    Rather than clean it would be nice to see them remove it. Put it somewhere in the museum, perhaps.

Comments are closed.