Archd. Omaha: Custodian destroys Mary Poppins mannequin, Buddha on display in Cathedral

In a way what follows echoes the post about concerts in churches.  HERE  What is appropriate in a church and what is not?

This remarkable bit of news is from

Kelly: With a pair of bolt cutters and sense of indignation, custodian cuts down what flies in church

A Mary Poppins mannequin hung from the ceiling at St. Cecilia Cathedral [?!?  No, really.  There’s a photo.] for its 31st annual flower festival, but a custodian used bolt cutters to send it crashing to the floor on the first morning of the event. The custodian said he hopes the incident sparks “conversation” about what types of displays are appropriate in a church.


By Michael Kelly / World-Herald columnist

On the first morning of the 31st annual Cathedral Flower Festival, with its theme of “A Night at the Movies,” an agitated church custodian made a bold move.

Mark Kenney, 59, who grew up in the parish, had worked at St. Cecilia Cathedral for three years. Around 8 a.m. on Jan. 29, he went to a work shed, picked up a pair of heavy-duty bolt cutters and ascended to a catwalk high above the mostly empty nave, or main sanctuary.

He looked through a peephole, he said, to make sure he wouldn’t hurt any people. And then he cut a steel cable, which sent a suspended, umbrella-carrying, hat-wearing Mary Poppins figure crashing to the floor.

Kenney then went downstairs and removed a cardboard Buddha figure from the Nash Chapel, which also featured costumed mannequins from “The King and I.” [?!?] He threw the Buddha out one door and proceeded to toss costumed mannequins out two other doors.  [Good grief! Who thought these were good ideas?  Read on…]

Someone alerted the pastor, the Rev. Michael Gutgsell, who ran from the rectory next door to the church and saw Kenney.

“Mark,” he called out, “did you see who did this?”

“Father, it was me. You need to call the police.”

Gutgsell had known that his custodian had misgivings about secular displays in the church but says he was dumbfounded and didn’t understand why Kenney would take such drastic action. [It was indeed dramatic, if not drastic.] In a brief meeting that week, the pastor said, he had asked for Kenney’s promise not to be disruptive.

Now the priest was shocked, saying, “You promised!”

In response, Kenney said, he lashed out. “I started screaming, ‘Father, this is bullshit! We can’t have this in the church. This isn’t culture, it’s Disney crap!’?” [Oh my!]

Kenney — who has served three terms of up to six months in federal prisons for crossing security lines at military bases in protest of nuclear weapons — then knelt at the communion rail and prayed until officers arrived and handcuffed him.

He spent a night in jail before he was bailed out and pleaded no contest. He said he is scheduled for sentencing “on Holy Thursday,” March 24.

Damaging items at the flower festival was wrong, and Kenney said in an interview this week that he will make restitution. But he says secular items such as movie characters are inappropriate in the sacred space of the cathedral and amount to sacrilege and idolatry.  [Is he right? Buddha?]

Gutgsell, a former chancellor of the Omaha Archdiocese and a Catholic University-licensed “canon lawyer,” an expert in church laws and rules, disagrees.

“Obviously, context is everything,” the priest said, noting that the cathedral also is home to about six concerts a year. No sacrilege or disrespect is conveyed, he said, in the concerts or the dozens of exhibits at the flower festival.  [Mary Poppins and Buddha?  Here’s a question: Is it okay to play a non-sacred work on a pipe organ in a cathedral church?  Some compositions written for pipe organ are not explicitly sacred.]

“Cathedrals,” he said, “are kind of the epicenter for culture presentation and development.”

Eileen Burke-Sullivan, a theologian and vice provost for mission and ministry at Creighton University, said she sees no problem. The cathedral and the archdiocese, she said, have supported the arts in Omaha for many years.

“In mixing thematic popular culture with the beauty of God’s creation in flowers,” she said, “I don’t think there’s any inherent idolatry.”



Read the rest there.



Remember, read the whole article and think before posting.

That said, I received this from a reader:

I do no not like to comment online, but need to pass on some information.

Rev. Gutgsell at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral is actually a very devout conservative who regularly celebrates the TLM.

The Cathedral has one of the best choirs in the US and often chants in Latin.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Peter in Canberra says:

    The custodian is a hero, obviously driven to a point where he could no longer tolerate what was going on. Reminiscent of Our Lord evicting the money changers from the temple?
    However I suspect he will now be charged with criminal damage (or whatever your equivalent offence is in the US), lose his church job and who knows what else.
    What an upside down world we live in.

  2. kat says:

    I think the wrong person was “arrested” (or stopped). And somewhere from up the hierarchical ladder, punishment should be handed down for desecration of God’s house.

  3. aquinas138 says:

    ¡Hagan lío!

  4. benedetta says:

    Oh? The “epicenter”? Hmm.

  5. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    I am gob-smacked and literally breathless. The pastor not only allowed the displays but allowed his heroic custodian to be handcuffed, jailed, and charged. And now he is going to be sentenced! I am faxing the Archbishop of Omaha, who should take Mr. Kenney to dinner and knock some sense into the learned head of the pastor. That is Archbishop George Lucas and his fax number is 402.558.3026. You can send him a message on the archdiocesan website, but I like to send a fax because it creates a piece of paper and a bureaucracy has to do something with a piece of paper.

  6. w0343009 says:

    Good for him. Somebody has to stand up for God. He should be proud to suffer with Christ. He should have fashioned a whip first.

  7. pelerin says:

    What a brave man! I can quite understand his anger and his actions. I do hope publicity about him spreads and makes some of the clergy think again before installing similar secular items in their churches and cathedrals. The thought of Mary Poppins crashing to the ground makes me laugh and I think I would have cheered under my breath had I been there. ‘This isn’t culture – it’s Disney crap’ how right he is!

    Regarding playing non-sacred music on a pipe organ in a sacred place – I was surprised some years ago when I attended an organ recital in one of Paris famous churches and among the works played were some which were based on Norse sagas. I thought it an odd choice at the time but I understand that this is the norm in organ recitals even those taking place in cathedrals and churches. Looking back I am sure that when my father gave organ recitals in churches or cathedrals he only played sacred music. Perhaps organists today think that today’s audiences need the variety.

  8. Tony Phillips says:

    This is a tough one. I’m afraid I must recuse myself from commenting because:
    1) I’m the proud owner of a first (US) edition of Mary Poppins, which I bought for the princely sum of 10 cents at a garage sale in Hyde Park, MA, in the late 1990s.
    2) I’ve had a serious crush on Julie Andrews since I first saw her in The Sound of Music when I was in high school.

  9. Fr. Reader says:

    @grateful to be catholic
    A Fax for George Lucas? Useless. Disney already bought Lucasfilms.

  10. Benedict Joseph says:

    Let us pray that each one of us would have the zeal and fortitude to rid the temple of all that degrades the consecrated House of God.
    Having spent — compulsively, I fear — a fair amount of time over at “Fishwrap” the past few days taking note of the comments surrounding the Kung letter to Pope Francis I must admit that the state of decay and decomposition with our Church is ever so much worse than I knew or imagined. This infantile display is small change compared to what is flaunted over there. It is however symptomatic of the loss of the Transcendent eating away at the heart of the hierarchy, the clergy, religious and laity. The faith is regard as nothing more than superstition and magic without shame — boldly.
    It all need be thrown to Gehenna.

  11. pelerin says:

    Re-reading the link I find it incredulous that the Priest ‘did not understand why such drastic action was taken.’

    I also find it incredulous that the spokesman for the Archbishop said ‘he saw nothing in the broad language of the catechism that would preclude such displays as Mary Poppins being suspended from the cathedral ceiling.’ There’s nothing in the catechism about hanging Mickey Mouse in a church but common sense and a sense of the sacred should tell anyone that it is completely inappropriate.

  12. rcruz says:

    What qualifies as appropriate for the organ? Only music explicitly based on Gregorian chant? Only “classical” music? Only classical music written before 1900? Only classical music written before 1900 that I like? The whole question seems to lay bare in short order the painfully arbitrary lines we often draw in matters of artistic appropriateness.

  13. JARay says:

    I am with Mr. Kenney 100%. I too have serious reservations about concerts being given in churches. I always ask if the Blessed Sacrament has been removed before the concert. Churches are houses of prayer not concert halls. I have some sympathy with concerts of the like as Bach’s ” St. Matthew’s Passion”. I also understand that there are many churches which have fine organs and hence the desire to give organ recitals using such instruments.

  14. Benedict Joseph says:

    And to top it off — the scandal is magnified by clerical indifference to the man being arrested. All manner of crime is masked but this … ?
    I am on the verge of regarding all as lost.
    Where is the common sense?

  15. JohnE says:

    As I read this it reminded me of Mattathias in 1 Maccabees 2:19-51. Maybe the pastor should be thankful only Mary Poppins abd Buddha were slain.

  16. Thomas Sweeney says:

    Mr. Kenney deserves the gratitude of every Catholic. I believe, and before nonsense permeated the church, everyone believed, that the Church’s mission was to change the culture. Now we are trying to be inclusive to the point of desecration. We are in dire need of a clear thinking clergy, whose paramount thoughts are for the preservation of our souls.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    How bizarre. The custodian is a hero…

  18. pelerin says:

    Do I detect a hint of sarcasm in the comment by rcruz regarding appropriate organ music to be played in a church? I would have thought the kind of music would be obvious – and it would not include ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ or ‘Alexander’s ragtime band’ or indeed Norse mythical sagas.

  19. Kerry says:

    The line, actually the deep chasm between what is beautiful and what is not, is not arbitrary. The half life of radioactive elements makes a good simile for comparison’s sake. Some things decay at faster rates than others. Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vespers probably has a half life of seven or eight hundred years. Take Me Out to the Ballgame has a trans-uranium element’s half life, measured in milliseconds.
    I don’t know who the other person is drawing those arbitrary lines, but as it is painful, I’d suggest you and he give it up. Musically, Mozart is a good place to start. Or Vaughn Williams. Or Thomas Tallis. Guillaume Du Fay, Morten Lauritsen. (If any readers here have not heard Lauritsen’s O Manu Mysterium, go there now.)

  20. Andrew says:

    Fill in the blanks in the following sentence:

    I see nothing in the broad language of the catechism that would preclude displays such as XXXXX being suspended from the cathedral ceiling.

    Example: roasted pig’s head

  21. Quanah says:

    Good for him.

  22. Dave N. says:

    Nice cleansing of the temple there: “you cannot serve both God and mammon.” The church is for…the Church–is it not?

    Non-sacred organ music I would say is questionable. But commercialized music is really where the bishops need to draw a bright line. For example, this concert plays endlessly on my local PBS station as part of pledge—vaguely religious Celine Dion hits straight from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C.:

    Of course they are just hawking CDs and PBS memberships.

  23. PNeri says:

    Didn’t the Holy Father urge us to “raise a ruckus.”

  24. DavidJ says:

    A spoonful of sugar doesn’t help the sacrilege go down.

  25. NancyP says:

    My daughter commented, “Isn’t it Lent? Why are they putting a flower show in the cathedral during Lent?”

  26. ecs says:

    Ok. Isn’t it about time now for the resident communists to start chiming in lamenting this man’s lack of respect for private property rights and how he had no right to destroy something that doesn’t belong to him?

  27. Gaetano says:

    When someone asks “What would Jesus do?” remind them that overturning tables and beating people with a whip is on the list of possibilities.

  28. Norah says:

    Benedict Joseph you wrote:
    the loss of the Transcendent eating away at the at the heart of the hierarchy, the clergy, religious and laity

    This is the heart of the matter. Catholic schools and universities teach ersatz Catholicism and millions are leaving the Church for churches which offer praise and worship services because they have no understanding of the Mass as the source and summit of our Faith. Will this end any time soon? I don’t think so at least not in my lifetime.

    Why are they putting a flower show in the cathedral during Lent?”
    Nancy, your daughter is asking an important question.

    If this man needs money for legal fees can a link be supplied for donations please.

  29. Well, St. John Chrysostom said heretics need to be smitten across the face. All this guy did was take out the trash. The parish ought to eat the financial loss from the property damage and pay the guy’s fines and court costs as a penance.

  30. KAS says:

    I think the leaders there were totally wrong to do such secular things with the church. I understand perfectly how the custodian felt and I believe his reaction was justified.

  31. trespinos says:

    And one of mannequin costumes was that of Elizabeth I? She of the murderous reign of terror against her realm’s faithful Catholic priests? Some appropriate choice that was! /sarc

  32. iPadre says:

    God bless him. But I’m sure some politically correct careerist will take him to task for being so insensitive. We are sensitive for everything but Jesus today.

  33. Elizabeth D says:

    I would be every bit as appalled as the custodian if Mary Poppins was suspended from the nave ceiling at my church. Was it there during any Masses? I would be severely tempted to do the same thing he did. It is the kind of thing where you pray about whether doing something dramatic and accepting the consequences willingly may be the right and charitable thing to do. Why the absolutely incredible indifference to the sensibilities of Catholics from the rector and diocesan officials? This definitely exposes something really wrong in that diocese.

  34. Manducat in the hat says:

    Is there a kickstarter campaign for his legal defense?

  35. StabatMater says:

    1.) I fantasize about becoming Mary Poppins someday when I am done homeschooling my kiddos, yet even I thought her demise here was quite comical!
    2.) While most people probably don’t “hope” their child will become a custodian, I often tell my kids that I will be happy with whatever careers they choose providing they are obedient to God’s will for their lives and that they always work with integrity and diligence at their craft. This is one time I would be quite proud to be the mother of a custodian.
    It is a sad day when so many moreI always tell my kids that I will he happy with whatever they become as long as it’s God’s will for their lives & they do their best at said “job.” I would be very proud to be the mother of such a custodian as highlighted in this article!

    It is quite sad that so many more “highly educated” people cannot separate the secular from the sacred, or Disney from art!

    Hoorah for this hero!!

  36. KCFleming says:

    I went to St. Cecilia’s in grade school and again in college.
    It’s horrifying to see the church desecrated so.

    The sculptor Albin Polasek made the beautiful St. Cecilia crucifix and the stations of the cross.
    The main altar crucifix was made in 1939, and called ‘Victorious Christ.’

    It’s a shame to see it sharing space with a cartoon character.

  37. thefeds says:

    Instead of pressing charges against the custodian, they should be sacking the Cathedral rector. Statues of Buddha have no place in a consecrated church. At the very least, the statue of Poppins was in poor taste and ill conceived.

  38. steve51b31 says:

    Wasn’t this Bishop Elden Curtis’ diocese?

    I think of the Bishops at the Council of Nicea, who had been tortured and maimed, witnessing with their bodies, missing hands and eyes rather than deny the faith.
    I think of Card. Francis Xavier Nguyen van Thuan spending years in Solitary confinement by the communists, using his hand as a chalice for 3 drops of smuggled wine in order to say Holy Mass. Bishops in Islamic countries, who die for their people.

    This leaves me cold ! Very Cold !!
    Let us all offer reparations for this.

  39. CharlesG says:

    This custodian puts me in mind of Judas Maccabeus…

  40. Manducat in the hat says:

    I’m gonna catch hell for this, but as a counselor in training who recently watched Mary Poppins and has been in undeniable infatuation with Julie Andrews for the better part of 20 years, MP has some serious issues. She’s out of her gourd and repeatedly gaslights those poor children. The most sane person in the movie is Bert, and he’s probably homeless and on drugs (always covered in dust, dreaming of popping into paintings, etc.)

  41. Tantum Ergo says:

    This reminds me of Someone Who overturned tables in the Temple. I think this Mark Kenney must be one of His followers… I think they’re called “disciples.”

  42. Fr. Hamilton says:

    To clarify for some connecting that this took place during Lent, the article indicates it took place in January. Not Lent, but still tacky and ill advised.

    But my real comment: I’m amusing myself thinking of the custodian cutting the cables while singing:

    These AREN’T a few of my favorite things! (A different show, I know, we can hope!)

  43. lmgilbert says:

    “And his disciples remembered that it was written, ‘The zeal for thy house has consumed me'” John 2:17.

    “He said he is scheduled for sentencing “on Holy Thursday,” March 24,” showing that there is more than one way to enter into the paschal mystery.

    Lord, if only you would set your seal of approval on this man and this just deed. If only you would distinguish him with abundant blessings, at least a job that pays twice as much, that you will bring someone forward to pay his debts and in general leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that you are superabundantly pleased with him and his ethics and aesthetics. We have been suffering at the hands of the experts for so long, maybe you will see fit to deliver us through the custodians.

  44. rcruz says:

    While I’m not arguing in anyway for a completely subjective approach, I am advocation caution in being quick to decide if something is “appropriate”…a discussion that goes far beyond the focus of the original post. For instance, if one were to do MacMillan’s Mass at just about anywhere other than Westminster Cathedral you’d probably be run out for being “inappropriate.” But it’s a deeply Catholic work by a deeply Catholic composer. But people wouldn’t bat an eyelash if the organist plays the Toccata from Widor 5, which is a self-defined secular work.

  45. exNOAAman says:

    Quote from the Omaha article (worth reading)…
    But he says he is at peace with it, and in a letter to the archbishop objected to “pop art” and “absurd, secular cultural icons” in the cathedral.

    His charge is spot on, and sadly may apply to many churches.

    I still can’t imagine it. Do they have a sale right in the nave of the church? Don’t they have rental tents in Nebraska?

  46. Tamquam says:

    Mr. Kenny’s good sense and gumption are to be commended. LORD, grant that these manly virtues be visited upon your holy people, especially the clergy.

  47. Fr. Timothy Ferguson says:

    Mr. Kenney’s defense should be – it’s an artistic display, and his actions were an act of performance art. Does the Church hate art?

    Seriously – if the dude has a defense fund, I’d be happy to contribute.

  48. Auggie says:

    “Father, this is bullshit!”
    I’ve wanted to shout that a thousand times.
    The custodian is my hero.

  49. The Professor says:

    For those interested here are photos of the other displays. I can’t imagine this kind of display inside a church.

  50. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    @ Fr. Reader: LOL. Very good.

  51. That Guy says:

    Oh that such zeal for God’s house would consume us all!

    Too bad he wasn’t at the Vatican when they projected animals on it! Papa Francesco, give this man a job!!!

  52. Baritone says:

    “When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, swinging to and fro in the Holy place: he that readeth let him understand.”

    What this courageous man did reminds me of St. Boniface cutting down Thor’s Oak.

  53. KateD says:

    God bless you, Mark Kenny!

  54. excalibur says:

    Well done sir, well done!

  55. Cafea Fruor says:

    I really had to do a double take to make sure I wasn’t really reading an Eye of the Tiber piece when I first saw that photo…

  56. jbazchicago says:

    If there’s a “GoFund Me” account for this man, I’d gladly contribute.

    The sensus fidelium has spoken!

  57. Kathleen10 says:

    I read this with great enjoyment and a laugh. Thank you Mr. Kenney! It’s great to see someone strike a blow against sacrilege, long overdue. Honestly, I’m nowhere near Omaha, and I feel proud. It’s a thing of beauty to contemplate, Mary Poppins crashing to the floor, and I love Mary Poppins too! But she doesn’t belong in a cathedral, and I don’t know what people in charge are thinking! This type of thing is astounding!
    I love what he said, and the fact he said call the police and knelt at the rail and prayed.
    Oh I agree, someone set him up for a GoFundMe or something. I will also be faxing a request for charges to be dropped. Thanks Grateful to be Catholic. I hope many people contact them with the same request.
    Mr. Kenney served time. This may not be an insignificant charge for him. I hope it being the Jubilee of Mercy that the Archbishop extends some toward Mr. Kenney, and not only drop the charge but allow him to keep his position.
    A blow was struck for the common outraged man (and woman). Hooray!

  58. Adeodata says:

    Seriously, there is no other place in Omaha that can host the show or concerts?

  59. organistjason says:

    Perhaps something from Archbishop Lucas would be helpful. He is the “Pastor” of the Cathedral Church. His “Cathedra” is there. Let us pray Archbishop Lucas has the strong Governing character of Cardinals Burke and Sarah and Archbishop Sample. The faithful are watching and waiting your Excellency.

  60. PTK_70 says:

    According to the article, the man gave his word not to be disruptive. Without in any way endorsing the mid-air display of a Mary Poppins statue in the nave at St Cecilia, I, for one, do not find the man’s actions heroic, especially given his broken word to a priest.

    Raise your holy hell at the appropriate time. When you give your word not to be disruptive, keep it. Go up the “chain of command” if you must…..go all the way to the Lord, in prayer.

    Ultimately, this is on the Archbishop…’s his cathedral.

    What would St. Joseph do?

  61. JabbaPapa says:

    Well, Poppins is a Christian allegory, but throwing out an idol of Buddha is purely Catholic.

    I am admirable of this brave Christian.

  62. Imrahil says:

    If you do this kind of rebellion, you have to make meticulously sure that you don’t put yourself in the wrong.

    I’m inclined to understand him as far as Buddha is concerned – he’s the founder of a non-Christian and, if I may say so, particularly wrong religion and frequently idolized by the adherents of the same.

    Mary Poppins? That is certainly a different matter. “Disney” and “secular” are rather different things from evil and sinful.

    Don’t get me wrong, of course the thing does have a rather strong touch of the unadvisable and unfitting. But while it may be allowed or even obligatory to stand up in thunder and ignoring legitimate authority and chain-of-command matter against the Sinful, the merely Unadvisable is on a totally different level. He’s spoiling what might have been a legitimate and courageous protest against Buddha in church, by making of it something everyone understands, even chiefly, as a protest against Mary Poppins in Church.

    Out of what might have been a protest against religious syncretism, he makes a protest against the mere adaption of popular culture. Was that advisable on his part? No.

    [Ah and as for the organ playing secular music… my opinion: as long as the music belongs to the category of “nothing is forbidden if enjoyed with giving thanks to God”, go for it, but make an annotation on the Churchboard before so that people about to pray can take that into consideration.]

  63. Benedict Joseph says:

    “…gave his word…”
    Good for him!
    Subterfuge has been used by the heterodox with a rage like unto Legion in the cause of “renewal.”
    Subterfuge surgically employed in a just cause is not a mortal sin. Would not one expect the tactic to be employed in the defense of a life? The life of the Church is daily endangered from those within and without by mindless naiveté and aggressive underhanded manipulation.
    It’s called stealth.
    It was a foolish mannequin, not Julie Andrews!
    As for the faithful good priest who allowed this, and any others who were complicit. We need to start using some judgement fifty years into the debasement of our faith. Often in the current cultural chaos we can get disorientated, but let us keep our thinking caps on.
    I appreciated the commenter appealing to the memory of the Maccabees. As a lector I often have difficulty holding back tears when proclaiming the word from those books of Holy Scripture. They are an admonition to us who live in these days, who worship in these bare ruined choirs.

  64. Boanerges says:

    Even a good priest can have a blindspot…This serves as a warning that God often will use His creation to send a clear, unambiguous message about desecrating His Church.

  65. Imrahil says:

    Dear Stabat Mater,

    while I happen to know merely one song from Mary Poppins (guess which), a movie like the Jungle Book *is* art. You may well make differences between higher and lower forms of art, which is probably what you meant, but (if I may be forgiven to say impersonally and without intending personal offense): the one who doesn’t understand what art is is rather he who doesn’t thinks Disney and art are mutual exclusive concepts.

    [Oh, and as to that OT topic: what is it, now, that you want from your children as a prerequisite for you to be happy with their careers? Are you content with them working with integrity and diligence, as you say in the one sentence, or are you not content until they really do the very best, as you say in another sentence? And can man ever achieve the latter, and even if so, does one have a realistic chance to?]

  66. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Adeodata asks, “there is no other place in Omaha that can host the show or concerts?”

    I was wondering this, too: browsing around the Cathedral website including the campus map, there are lots of spaces of some sort right there: a gallery, a school, a parish center, a gym:

    And I can’t help imagining if one wanted large, architecturally-interesting spaces, there’s somewhere in Omaha were one could be found and something worked out.

    I’m afraid my first thought on seeing Mary Poppins was of possible sly mockery of the Assumption, or Ascension, come to that. It would be easy enough to avoid the danger of such a mistaken suggestion,… via another venue.

  67. Ann Malley says:


    You state you have an issue with this custodian because, “…he gave his word to a priest.”

    Sorry, friend, but we have a obligation to God first. The hogtying of faithful Catholics to accept such bull&hit is precisely what perpetuates it. I applaud this man for understanding where his duty really dwells. Honoring the Lord, not being an accessory to sacrilege.

    For all of Father’s supposed orthodoxy, what we have, in my view, is a demonstration of the danger of associating being Orthodox with merely having a taste for the Smells and Bells. Like the only value of Tradition is in some cultural appreciation that would have a priest install a Buddha, under any pretext, and a Mary Poppins Mannequin inside God’s House.

    The shock expressed by this priest is similarly disturbing as, to me, it demonstrates the sad reality that many who are snorking down the Happy Meal Options are losing their taste for and even their ability to recognize real food and substance. But as I used to tell my kids, you can tell the food isn’t what it should be in that “meal” because they have to bribe you with a toy to eat it. And yet the Pavlov ingrained lesson remains. Sap and pap good. Real nutrition not fun like Mary Poppins fantasies.

    How long oh, Lord. How long?!

    With the perpetuation of stupid, that is the manufacture of invincible ignorance within the Church, “long” is likely to be exactly that.

  68. Kathleen10 says:

    Islam is cutting off real heads for it’s beliefs, and we are deliberating about whether or not it is right or wrong to cut down a plastic fictional character for ours, and some say that is too much.
    Who will prevail.

  69. ts says:

    To cause someone to be distracted (from giving all one’s attention and Worship) during Mass: I thought this is worthy of confession (meaning to repair an insult or break in one’s relationship with God). Being distracted: is it not an offense against the First Commandment which is given to us by God, Himself? If there is a flying statue of a fictional character in the same space as that which is used to offer a ‘fitting and worthy sacrifice’ unto God…is this not a distraction? If there were a ‘flying’ statue of a Saint perhaps one’s mind Could be drawn to God. But a fictional character? How does that help anyone point their mind to and give worship to the One True God and offer a fitting and worthy sacrifice? May the name of Mark Kenney be ever remembered where Zeal for the House of the Lord is remembered as with Phineas of the Old Testament. May Mark Kenney serve as a model for the Love or our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. May Mark Kenney receive every blessing for is Zeal for Our Lord and for loving our Lord more than he loves the esteem of humans. Where can financial donations be sent to aid Mr. Kenney’s defense or court costs?

  70. PTK_70 says:

    Sigh……to everyone who really finds heroic Mr. Kenney’s actions (not his motivations, but his *actions*), to everyone who would hold up this man as a model of behavior to your children, I invite you to watch the movie “Joseph of Nazareth”, which poignantly contrasts the saint with those of his day who chose violence.

    Again, what would St Joseph do?

  71. DonL says:

    One cannot but wonder, as the agenda to devolve the hierarchy, just how many more dioceses will turn to such creative secularize symbolism to replace the marvelous traditional source of spiritual inspiration used for centuries to attune oneself to God. Isn’t detachment from the world–not celebration of the world–the desired outcome for souls?

  72. Semper Gumby says:

    That update is interesting and curious. Regardless, the ongoing trend to turn sacred spaces into “cultural” spaces must be resisted more effectively. A Mark Kenney Defense Fund would be welcomed.

  73. Elizabeth M says:

    “Cathedrals,” he said, “are kind of the epicenter for culture presentation and development.” Yes, when the presentation and development (art) is directed to God.

    I thought Cathedrals were jewel boxes as mentioned in the Old Testament and a place to worship.

  74. TNCath says:

    Wow. This certainly gives new life to “Aaaall are welcome, aaaaaall are welcome, aaaaall are welcome iiinn thiiiis plaaaaace.” I wonder who’s next? Hello Dolly, perhaps? As a matchmaker, she’d be great for weddings. Maybe they could get a Carol Channing mannequin. Or, better yet, how about Calamity Jane? I believe she spent some time in Omaha. I’m sure the Doris Day fans (and Doris herself) would be pleased with her effigy in the rafters of the cathedral. After all, she was “raised Catholic.”

  75. Joseph-Mary says:

    Cathedrals,” he said, “are kind of the epicenter for culture presentation and development.”

    I would have to disagree that this beautiful cathedral was built for ‘cultural presentation’. No, it was built as a house of God where He is to be worshipped and adored. It is not the multi-use cultural center or civic center or anything like that. Father was wrong. But the custodian was wrong to scream at the pastor.

  76. TNCath says:

    Pardon the double post, but it just occurred to me: what if Mary Poppins or Buddha had been sitting in the bishop’s cathedra? Would that have made a difference?

  77. Moro says:

    As for “Rev. Gutgsell at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral is actually a very devout conservative who regularly celebrates the TLM.” perhaps that is so. But I know a priest who celebrates the TLM and fiddles around with the words of absolution (in the traditional form – he adds “omnibus”). The appearance of orthodoxy is not a guarantee or it, and neither for good judgement.

    While this case is an extreme example, using Cathedrals as museums rather than houses of prayer is nothing new. We really need to change that attitude.

  78. Indulgentiam says:

    In St. Joseph’s day people were stoned to death for sacrilege especially in the Temple. The book of Deuteronomy, and really man places in the Old Testament makes that pretty darn clear. So that argument is a nonstarter. As others have already stated, our Lord picked up a rope and drove the sacrileges bums out of HIS FATHER’S House. So I’d say this man’s actions have precedence.
    Far as I’m concerned he’s earned his stripes in the Church Militant, if not a pair of Captains Bars. This is how a man behaves. When reason fails clear and decisive action is necessary. We’re so used to talking stuff to death that when a man acts like a man were all shocked. I’m frankly sick of the Catholics who want to paint Our Lord and every male Saint a pansy pacifist. Go read the Maccabees, the lives of the Cristero’s and countless others. If your Catholic then your a soldier in the Church Militant. You have a duty to protect and defend the House of GOD. Come what may. And before some poor misguided bleeding heart liberal starts a-hollering “how’s that different from what the muslims do?!?” I’ll tell ya, keep it in context toots. This guy didn’t kill anyone. Much like our Lord, and with a great deal less violence, this man threw the garbage out the door. Good job!

    Psalms 68:10 For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up: and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.

    I teach my son that while we’re manning our place on the wall we must pray unceasingly for the grace to, as the Marine Corps puts it “stand and die.” Whether that be the death of a job, a career or our very selves. There is no greater honor, anywhere, then to sacrifice oneself for GOD. So yea, I’m definitely going to hold this man up as a good example to my son. And may his number increase!
    St. Vincent of Lerins has some great advice for us.
    “He is a true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, who loves the Church, who loves the Body of Christ, who esteems Divine religion and the Catholic faith above everything: above the authority, the regard, the genius, the eloquence, the philosophy of every man whatsoever. He is a genuine Catholic who continues steadfast and well-founded in the faith, who resolves that he will believe those things—–and only those things—–which he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient times . . . It is therefore an indispensable obligation for all Catholics who are eager to prove that they are true sons of Holy Mother the Church to adhere to the holy faith of the Fathers, to preserve it, to die for it, and, on the other hand, to detest the profane novelties of profane men, to dread them, to harass them, and to attack them.”…St. Vincent of Lerins

    Our Lady of Victory pray for us!

  79. PA mom says:

    The Professor- seeing those photos really drives home how inappropriate this is. Flowers is one thing; this is not just flowers.

    I would be astonished and horrified to see this done to my church, but many of them (including the pastor) evidently don’t experience that because they are so accustomed to the process.

    If they didn’t do it for a year or two, replaced it with 40 hours, it would be still special, but appropriate.

  80. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The link provided by The Professor is well worth following, and the post linked has a further link at its foot also worth following.

    Clear photos of the Buddha head, the Yul Brynner-like mannequin, the other monstrous mythological figure: apparently in a chapel – not the veiling behind the King of Siam of… who and what, exactly?

    And read the rationale under “About Us” at the Cathedral Arts Project link.

    Note the Archbishop’s dual responsibility: as Archbishop and, to whatever extent, as ex officio member of the Board of Directors (together with Fr. Michael).

  81. DeGaulle says:

    I suppose we should be grateful that the police were so promptly called. Maybe we should see this as an improvement on some previous ecclesial policy. Of course, if this is what happens with such trivial cases, can we expect SWAT teams for more serious offenses such as child abuse which previously, as we know, didn’t even merit a call to the police?

  82. benedetta says:

    I am sorry that I do not really have time to read through the entire article at the moment but will as soon as possible — I wanted merely to say here that as to cultural events hosted in sacred places, I have a memory that may shed light on this discussion.

    Some years back as a very contented and peaceful member of the parish of Our Saviour’s, Manhattan under the always encouraging pastoral guidance of Fr. Rutler, I attended an evening concert and performance of sacred music in the church. In his remarks welcoming all to Our Saviour’s just prior to the music, Fr. Rutler requested that we not applaud the performers as one might usually do automatically for a performance in another place such as a concert hall, because, and my paraphrasing will never do justice to his words, essentially, we needed to not interrupt our constant mindfulness that in that church the Blessed Sacrament was present in the sanctuary, and that He was the One only worthy for praise or “applause” when we were assembled therein.

    It was one of the finest musical performances, of sung prayers, I have ever heard. The silence was profound and not without appreciation for what that group of talented voices had prepared for our edification and reflection. Some musical performances are enjoyed and forgotten. Others live well beyond that one evening.

  83. bookworm says:

    While I agree with Mr. Kenney that the display is inappropriate for a church sanctuary or nave, my main issues with his actions are 1) his damage to property that wasn’t his (the Mary Poppins figure) and 2) his breaking his promise to the pastor. The fact that he was even asked to make such a promise would seem to indicate that the pastor knew Mr. Kenny might do something like this. I suppose his agreement to make restitution mitigates whatever wrong he did in damaging property, but I dunno that it excuses it completely.

    What I find striking about this case is that Mr. Kenney would appear to be rather leftist or liberal in his politics–his previous arrests were for protesting nuclear weapons, a typically leftist cause. Yet he seems to have far more respect for tradition than his TLM loving pastor does! In this respect he reminds me so what of Dorothy Day, who though often regarded as a leftist saint, was quite traditional in her piety and can’t be pigeonholed into either side of the political spectrum.

  84. Patti Day says:

    Thank you Mr. Kenney for your service.

  85. Gerard Plourde says:

    First, I am pleased that Mr. Kenney has gone to confession concerning whatever sin he believes he was tempted to commit in this incident. Righteous anger can be a danger to our souls. (I am equally uncomfortable with the destruction of the property displayed in the Cathedral as I would be with the destruction of weapons parts to protest our government’s violation of the Just War Principles in its possession and advocacy of the use of weapons of mass destruction.)

    I don’t quite know what to make of the Cathedral’s use for this decidedly secular purpose. I can understand circumstances in which a concert including secular music could occur there. I have more difficulty accepting as appropriate what appear to be extensive displays of secular visual artworks (costumes and set pieces can constitute works of the ephemeral art of theater). If it doesn’t have one already, the Cathedral should seriously consider building a hall that can serve the parish community and also accommodate the Flower Festival.

    Finally, the report that the Parish Priest is described as conservative (I take that to mean theologically conservative) and a supporter of the Extraordinary Form adds to my puzzlement.

  86. Semper Gumby says:

    benedetta: Interesting anecdote about Fr. Rutler, sacred spaces, and the persistence of cultural memory. This brings to mind Fr. Rutler’s WWII book “Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943.” The spiritual and the cultural are often overlooked by military historians. You probably know about this book, just thought I’d mention it.

  87. PTK_70 says:

    @bookworm……It’s a comfort to find at least one like-minded soul commenting here.

    If the reader chooses not to see the movie “Joseph of Nazareth” as a means of gaining insight to his character, life and times, please at least teach your children to:
    – respect authority;
    – not scream at his boss, nor at his pastor;
    – not utter profanities in the house of God;
    – respect the property of others;
    – not give his word cheaply;
    – keep his word once given as a matter of course;
    – make his grievances known in the proper fora;
    – not risk the safety of passersby;
    – reflect, deliberate and pray;
    – repent and go to confession when he has missed the mark.

    One may applaud Mr. Kenney for repenting and confessing. From the article:

    “Kenney, who said he confessed his sin to a priest at another Catholic church, feels ‘closer to God than ever.’ He could have handled things differently, he said, and recalls walking through the cathedral in the immediate aftermath and thinking, ‘What did I do now?'”

    Better to do that reflection beforehand.

  88. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    It occurs to me to compare the Buddha head and other (Thai) mythological being as details of a narrative tableau rather than idols presented or even promoted in their own right, with details of sculpture, painting, and stained glass in churches down the ages – for example, the demons in Michelangelo’s Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.

    There is, again, obviously a difference between the mere presence of the Buddha head and statue of the other being in a tableau evocation of the film, The King and I, as an ultimately history-based drama, and something like the idol being smitten by King Asa in this Fourteenth-century manuscript illumination:

    But it seems worth addressing precisely the presence of these images in relation to this tableau in this place (a chapel?) in the Cathedral.

    (Tangentially, I do not suppose Anna Leonowens was very well disposed towards Thai Buddhism, but have never yet read her autobiographical book, The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870), which I see is transcribed in Project Gutenberg, scanned in the Internet Archive, and even read aloud at – or anything else by her, for that matter.)

  89. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    PTK_70 has taken up another point which struck me in reading Michael Kelly’s account of Mr. Kenney saying both “He could have handled things differently, […] and recalls walking through the cathedral in the immediate aftermath and thinking, ‘What did I do now?’” and expressing his apparently continuing post-confession hope “that the incident sparks ‘conversation’ about what is appropriate in a church.”

    We are not given details as to the scope (and fine points, if any) of Mr. Kenney’s “promise not to be disruptive”. What would, or would not, have fallen under the description “disruptive”? Passing out protest leaflets? Inviting people to sign a protest petition? Addressing people in the attempt to dissuade them from visiting the Flower Festival? Perhaps “founder and director, Brother William Woeger,” would consider merely “walking around negatively in the middle of what’s going on” as “disruptive”.

    The apparent veiling going on with respect to the tableau of The King and I (ambiguous in itself: attempting to spare feelings in a way itself arguably offensive and ‘disruptive’?) suggests a possible way in which Mr. Kenney “could have handled things differently”, or tried to: imitating the Italian government as reported by Dr. Williams:

    or, earlier, the Jesuits of Georgetown, when Mr. Obama appeared there – by dropping something down the cable (burhka-like?) over Mary Poppins, and secluding in one way or another the Buddha, mythological being, and mannequins – with or without planned or spontaneous invited volunteer assistance.

    That would certainly have been “disruptive” by probably any promised definition, but less destructive of property.

    Would it have been any the less deplored?

  90. Indulgentiam says:

    @ptk_70. And right after that bit of Mr. Kenney’s quote you printed,
    Mr. Kenney goes on to say “But he (Kenney) says he is at peace with it, and in a letter to the archbishop objected to “pop art” and “absurd, secular cultural icons” in the cathedral. Kenney hopes that people who agree with him will speak up and that the incident sparks “conversation” about what is appropriate in a church.”
    Let’s quote the man in context and entirely.
    As for the movie Joseph of Nazareth, The directer Rafael Mertes is not interested in historical accuracy so much as in telling an entertaining story. Even secular critics describe his “biblical epics” as “…more or less as recorded [in the Bible]. But the filmmaker, evidently convinced (and understandably so) that the Books of the Bible, as written, might not lend itself to a conventional dramatic structure, have imposed a fictitious story of their own on the proceedings — and while it is good to see them put within some proper settings, the results are often quite banal.”
    For example the one he did on the book of Revelation has a romance developing between two spies. I’m not an expert on the Book of Revelation but I know that’s not in there.
    If I may, there is an excellent book on the life of Saint Joseph, written in the 1700, with a full imprimatur etc. by Mother Maria Cecilia Baij OSB, Benedictine Abbess of the Convent of St. Peter in Montefiascone, Italy. Clearly the writings of a 16th century Abbess with full Church approval have more credibility than a director whose more interested in entertainment than accuracy.

    I’m always amazed by the folks that are so concerned about the rights of their fellow creatures even to the contempt of GOD. Have we lost all sensitivity to the rights of Almighty GOD?
    That Cathedral is the House of Almighty GOD. HIS property. Really everything is HIS but HIS House is a House of prayer, HE Said so. Where is the long list of how HE’S been wronged in this matter.

    – respect GOD’s authority;
    – not neglect your GOD by the human respect of your pastor
    – not profane the house of God with idols.
    – respect the property of GOD;
    – not give his word cheaply to GOD remember your Baptismal promise ;
    – keep his word once given to GOD Who has first claim on us;
    – make his grievances known in the proper fora; and when that fails be ready to defend your GOD
    – not risk the wrath of Almighty GOD;(for the record the place was empty)
    – reflect, deliberate and pray for the grace to defend your GOD
    – repent, go to confession when he has missed the mark and fallen prey to human respect.
    It’s all about GOD. Not the flowers, not the pastor, not the people who paid for the flowers to see mary poppins swinging from the rafters. It’s about the devil using selfish men to mock GOD in HIS own house. And Catholics, who claim to love GOD letting the slimy snake get away with it.
    Queen of the Most Holy Rosary pray for us!

  91. PTK_70 says:

    @Indulgentiam……only a few points more and then I must beg off this thread:
    – You and I and Mr. Kenney will surely agree that the nave of a Catholic cathedral is not where we want to see a mid-air display of Mary Poppins.
    – To be clear, I wasn’t quoting Mr. Kenney, per se, but rather a paragraph from the newspaper article, a paragraph which I quoted in its entirety.
    – Thank you for the book recommendation.

  92. kat says:

    Your quote is excellent. Interestingly, Tenebrae for Holy Thursday, the day he is to be sentenced, begins with that quote, “Zelus domus tuae comedit me, et opprobria exprobrantium tibi ceciderunt super me.”

  93. bourgja says:

    Sorry, but as much as I may agree that this display was inappropriate, it does not justify the actions taken by the custodian. Cutting down the Mary Poppins figure from such a height could have caused great damage to the floor of the cathedral, not to mention the potential harm to any people who might have been underneath (yes I know he looked in advance but you can’t be too careful). He should have protested through the proper channels, and not resorted to vandalism to make his point.

  94. Chiara says:

    Regarding the Update: The fact that the rector regularly celebrates the TLM and the state of the choir are not the issues here. Sadly, one can display all the outer attributes of faithfulness and still be capable of hideous acts of disrespect toward God.

    Where is the Archbishop in all this? How could he or any on his staff have possibly approved of this in the first place? Perhaps if the Flower Show people wished to create beautiful arrangements of flowers at each altar, and if the public were allowed to respectfully visit the cathedral to view these arrangements it might be imagined to be acceptable.

    But after visiting the link provided by one of the commenters to a secular newspaper which reviewed the event with photographs, it was nothing like that. One particularly painful photo was of characters from “War and Peace” in a sled in front of a beautiful statue of Our Lady and Jesus, which was obscured by all the Hollywood hoopla.

    The people who put on the show obviously wanted a grand, beautiful building to showcase what seems to be an otherwise fine flower show. In any other venue, it would have been a wholesome and lovely event.

    I understand why the custodian was placed in prison. He could have killed someone by his acts, or at the very least, physically damaged the cathedral. But a cathedral is built and consecrated for greater use. What a dreadfully disrespectful and misguided decision on the part of the Rector and the Archbishop.

  95. Praynfast says:

    Thank you for the update regarding the pastor’s use of the TLM! The update shows the fallacious logic of the argument that the Latin Mass = holy Catholics and reverence! In fact, there is no relationship at all. Just ask Martinus Luther or Maria Poppins!… “Sicut pleni cochleari descendit saccharo facit Medicine.” Better yet, “Missa in Latinae Catholica non solutionem quaestionum!”

  96. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Chiara,

    I agree fully with your thoughtful analysis. We can only pray that the grace of God will bring about an thorough examination of the event and that the Archdiocese can find a way to appropriately sponsor this event in the future. Turning the Cathedral into an exhibition space is not one of them,

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  98. phlogiston says:

    The pastor says the TLM? And what possible difference could that make in all this? Sacrilege is sacrilege, no matter who commits it or allows it. (PS – The SSPX is not in full communion with … this.)

    [That’s not the only thing with which the SSPX is not in full communion.]

  99. Ann Malley says:

    [That’s not the only thing with which the SSPX is not in full communion.]

    ….indeed. But a thorough and “honest examination” of that disconnect would be in order. The fruits of confusion that have a priest declaring that he sees nothing wrong with this secular display inside God’s house has its roots. The additional charge of slander against the festival that the priest leveled at the custodian (to be found on Blog for Dallas Area Catholics) in the letter dismissing him is similarly indicative of a confused understanding.

    So, no, this is not the “only” issue in which there is not “full communion.” That latter portion being a made up term to cover the absurdity of decrying separation for those who choose clarity in doctrine.

  100. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Chiara makes a number of interesting points. “Perhaps if the Flower Show people wished to create beautiful arrangements of flowers at each altar, and if the public were allowed to respectfully visit the cathedral to view these arrangements it might be imagined to be acceptable.” There would be a lot of scope for reverent imagination in that: one wonders if that is how it started in 1985 (or if there was a background of such reverent floral display). It would be interesting to know more of the preceding 30 years’ Festivals. And about the formulation of the rationale for the Project: has that changed over the years? Mr. Kelly’s article reports, ” ‘I learned three years ago that he [Mr. Kenney] didn’t approve of the flower festival,’ Woeger said.” Might Mr. Kenney’s disapproval have existed (and been repeatedly expressed through various proper channels) even earlier, before it came to Br. Woeger’s attention? Might its source be the specific content of each one of the last several Festivals?

    Mr. Kelly notes, ” Kenney said in an interview this week that he will make restitution.” Does anyone know where this interview might be found?

    Chiara found the “Dr. Zhivago” display “in front of a beautiful statue of Our Lady and Jesus, which was obscured by all the Hollywood hoopla” particularly painful. It has been a long time since I saw the 1965 movie (and I’ve never seen another), but I was wondering if this leaving of the statue unveiled was deliberately paying attention to a dimension (or possible dimension) of the story, though it was a statue rather than an ikon. If so, it might make more sense than most of the scenes, though whether that justifies it to any extent remains the question.

  101. Suzanne Carl says:

    I was a parishioner at the Cathedral, sent my son to school there for a few years, and even volunteered at the flower festival, once. The real problem here is the clash between those who wish to make the Cathedral a museum and those who wish to have it be a thriving parish and sacred space.

    Father Gutgsell is a good and faithful priest. If anger is directed, or fault assigned, it does not belong to him. In my experience with him, he has always counseled toward the holy and sacred, but in the face of years of unrelenting attacks, has made decisions to accommodate, so that the way to conversion is kept open. That is why he will have a TLM, and a 5:30 quicky Mass on the same evening, both said by him. He is not in control of the flower show, that belongs to Brother William Woeger.

    Brother William needs to be locked away in a monk’s cell. He has regularly exhibited a total disregard for the sacred, while ironicly being the Master of Ceremonies at the Cathedral for at least two Archbishops. Over the years, the Flower Show has annual abominations. There was the painting, Poppycock, that featured a rooster and two poppies, set on the altar next to the statue of our lady. When I complained, Brother William had me moved to a different position as a volunteer. The paining stayed. I wrote to the Archbishop, and mentioned the problem in a meeting of parish employees. When I said it was scandalizing children, Brother William responded,”I think Christianity is a religion for grown-ups.”

    Every year, parishioners who are accustomed to being shocked and scandalized by the displays flee to other parishes for the weekend. They leave the parish to Brother William and his non-Catholic board. Some, like us, find another parish home, and never return.

    When we left St. Cecilia, we spent months discussing our decision making process with Fr. Gutgsell. We went back and forth between parishes. I have a deep love for Fr. Gutgsell. He is a truly holy priest in a very difficult situation.

    Brother William is the real culprit here. He needs to go.

  102. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Suzanne Carl,

    I an sure I am not alone in being grateful for this additional information on background and context!

  103. Chiara says:

    Suzanne – I am fully sympathetic with your experience in confronting the clergy when defending the dignity of the Faith in your parish. I had a similar experience, but in my case, I felt that God wanted me to stay. It has not been easy or pleasant, but I know it is heartbreaking to leave one’s beloved parish. I hope you find peace and joy in your new parish.

    I think in this case the ultimate responsibility lies with the Archbishop. The religious brother you mentioned may have been doing the dirty work, but he is there at the pleasure of the Archbishop. I do not understand how the Archbishop could have countenanced this whole scenario – how did it ever get approved in the first place? He is the one who gave a free hand to whoever made an exhibition hall of God’s holy cathedral. And he is the one who should accept the shame for the indignity and scandal he gave to his people.

    It is all a grievous, scandalous situation. It distresses me to know that any clergyman, especially an Archbishop, can allow God’s cathedral to be used as a backdrop for a secular exhibition. This is dreadful.

  104. Suzanne Carl says:

    You can see the exhibits back to 2001 here:

    This is Poppycock. It was the reason we first complained.

  105. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Suzanne Carl,

    Thank you!

    My quick impression, starting in 2001 with about the first half of the photos is that there are already oddities, that, as Chiara suggested in one example from this year, there is often an effect of obscuring sacred images with parts of the floral displays, and, that there is such abundant ostentation, that, even if most reverently intended, it does not certainly show good judgement or taste.

    But, in 2002, things get (to my mind) very grotesque very quickly, with skulls with flowers in their teeth and clothed skeletons. (There are, of course, churches which make use of human bones in decoration, and have saints visible whose bodies have not been preserved incorrupt, which would provide a ready rationale, and yet…)

    Lots to complain about in 2006 (the huge, realistic painting woman in the peach-colored negligee, where the full nakedness of some parts of the anatomy is provocatively cut off by the lay-out, for one notable example!).

    The first nine years documented under one Archbishop, the next seven under his successor. Presumably, sixteen occasions of some sort of ‘dual approval’, as Archbishop and as ex-officio Board member. Mind-boggling (if my first four Festivals sampled are at all characteristic).

    I’m not sure how much exploring I want to do in the photo archive, but it is good to know of it, however deeply disheartening the effect.

  106. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    steve51b31 asked if this was not Archbishop Elden Curtiss’ diocese: Wikipedia tells us it was, and allows us to work out that he presumably presided over 16 Flower Festivals, the last nine of which are documented at the site noted by Suzanne Carl.

  107. SLHansenWriter says:

    Mark Kenney pled guilty and was ordered to pay a $100 fine and court costs today. Archdiocese did not seek restitution or recommend any sort of sentencing. Details here:

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