HEADS WILL ROLL! A new “You won’t believe your eyes ugly” altar

You know about the flesh-eating amoeba that attacks brains?  Part of the problem in the Church today is the worldly, spirit-eating amoeba that is eating the souls of bishops.

This is from La Repubblica.

Here is a new altar in the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta a Gallarate.

A sort of “head will roll!” altar.

This has little to nothing to do with the Christian Faith.  This is not a healthy “Memento mori”.  This is not a display of relics of saints to venerate.

This is simply appalling.

A great argument for the antependium.

These people think they are sooooo sophisticated and deep.

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  1. Benedict Joseph says:

    Appalling. Ugly. Utterly moronic.
    You have got to be kidding. I had to check to see if it April 1st…
    It is a defining visual statement regarding the state of Christ’s Church since the election of a pope on 28 October 1958. Does anything further need be said?

  2. Man-o-words says:

    And they say that two heads are better than one. . . .

  3. Man-o-words says:

    You know, there are far better ways to get ahead . . .

    Father, you simply dont appreciate the artwork. It is clearly ahead of its time

    Altared minds?

    Heady genius?

    Okay, I am done. For now.

  4. acardnal says:

    Appears to be skulduggery to me.

  5. Elizabeth D says:

    This is actually disturbing. It also probably cost a fortune. Is it supposed to mean something? Is it Mary and the Apostles, their decapitated heads representing that they are “living stones”? Whatever it is supposed to mean, this was not the best way of showing it. Is it supposed to imply that Catholicism is the European version of the Mexican death cult that built a tower of skulls in what is now Mexico City?

  6. APX says:

    Are these supposed to be the heads of the martyrs? Does this church have a trigger warning when you walk in?

  7. tzard says:

    Think of walking into a church and seeing this – the initial shock! Is that how you pastor your flock? I’m sure they can come up with some heady explanation, and proudly explain it. How smart they are! And how manipulative.

  8. carn says:

    “Is it supposed to mean something?”

    The artists says so, via google translate:

    “The intention of Parmiggiani, one of the greatest Italian contemporary artists, was to create “a table deriving from the juxtaposition of two superimposed marble slabs that hold and protect, almost maternal pelican, a multitude of ancient heads, relics and emblems of a sacredness , of a humanity, of a totality “. But those 120 severed heads, which reproduce the statues carved by the great masters of art history (from Fidia to Michelangelo, from Bernini to Canova), have left many believers perplexed, at least those who are posting fiercely critical comments on the Facebook group “The Hidden Varese”.”

    Some priest says, that after some time of desensitization the altar will look less appaling:
    “And for now, the appeal of Monsignor Ivano Valagussa seems to have little effect: he has followed closely the work: “Come in person, watch carefully, you will change your mind: art needs time and listening”.”

    The priest is probably correct; at least according to my experience, the third or fourth time one watches a brutal horror movie one feels a lot less shock, revulsion, fear, anxiety and so on.

    This should also happen with that altar in case someone feels as if it is a horror movie frozen in stone.

    I personally have no patience for practically any art, that needs lots of effort, patience and time to achieve a minimal understanding; art should try to pick me up where i am, even if it wants me to take me somewhere far off; so any art that does not even attempt to do this – like this one – is art i do not like.

    And i truly dislike the demeaning attitude behind, that supposedly it is because i lack understanding or so; cause usually, when one nonetheless finds the motivation and digs and tries to understand, one ends up with some pretty bland meaning like religion/conservatives/capitalists are evil and/or atheism/left-wing/socialism is good.

    Its gets really on my nerve, if someone suggest there is some deeper meaning in some art and then the deeper meaning is nothing more than a reiteration of some left-wing political manifest or so; i can read them and understand them without any need for art to convey the message.

  9. WVC says:

    This is either something from one of the lower circles of Dante’s Inferno or Eye of the Tiber . . . C’mon Catholic Bishops!! You’re making it so that the Episcopals are laughing at us. The EPISCOPALS!!

  10. michele421 says:

    As a confirmed liberal, my agreeing with you may be another sign of the impending end of the world, but in this instance I just can’t help it. That is really hideous.

  11. Joe in Canada says:

    but is La Republicca “FrTom-Approved!”© ?

  12. MrsMacD says:

    20 burly guys walk up to the altar and start carrying it away…
    What’s the matter Father? Are you losing your head? sss
    Anger. It inspires anger! Revenge. It’s tempting. It also is like that thing that people do because we’ve been conditioned to do it. Pretend there is nothing ugly going on in the sanctuary, carry on.

  13. Glennonite says:

    As unsettling as watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I cannot bring a non-Catholic to Mass these days for fear of embarrassment; add this…thing to the list.

    There was a time when the Church promoted and displayed beauty; now She seems to only thumb Her nose at beauty.

  14. rwj says:

    I hope someone spins all those heads under that table to look at the Altar behind them.

  15. SKAY says:

    It is hideous. What is the point?

  16. Unwilling says:

    Really, only four girls (out of 10?) serving at Mass… it’s not sooooo bad.

  17. majuscule says:

    I was going to say it looks like some sort of a press and…

    …the thought made me so queasy I can’t type…

  18. Gab says:

    That’s looks very pagan to me. Aztec pagan.

  19. Semper Gumby says:

    Memento mori: Good

    Memento Tamerlane: Bad

  20. VP says:

    SKAY – the point is to erode the Church by destroying its aesthetics and liturgy, and to weaken its sacramental life by making worship an unpleasant experience.

    This altar succeeds in all these areas. Today’s Church obviously respects things that are brutish and crude, not beautiful. Instead of participating in the Sacrifice of the Mass and contemplating the Eucharist, I am invited to distract myself by trying to figure out the “message” that the “artist” is sending through this unavoidable “artwork.” Who are the heads supposed to be? Maybe the Church doesn’t care if I show up anymore.

    Or maybe all the disembodied heads are simply a nod (sorry) to Islam.

  21. pbnelson says:

    Reminds me of the Celtic skull arch at Roquepertuse. Definitely pagan.

  22. PCali says:

    It took me a little bit to figure out why it seemed like a familiar concept, but I figured it out. It reminds me of this passage in the Harry Potter series:

    A gigantic statue of black stone dominated the scene. It was rather frightening, this vast sculpture of a witch and wizard sitting on ornately carved thrones…Engraved in foot-high letters at the base of the statue were the words MAGIC IS MIGHT…Harry looked more closely and realised that what he had thought were decoratively carved thrones were actually mounds of carved humans: hundreds and hundreds of naked bodies, men, women, and children, all with rather stupid, ugly faces, twisted and pressed together to support the weight of the handsomely robed wizards.

    Not that an altar is comparable in any way to what is described, but the design of the base is what I was thinking of.

  23. Amerikaner says:

    I wonder if this is a sort of masonic memento mori?

  24. mharden says:

    Looks like a monument to the victims of Communism. Like the stacked skulls of the Khmer Rouge.

  25. fmsb78 says:

    Oy vey… Looks like an altar made in hell with the heads of the bishops of our crazy times.

  26. MrsMacD says:

    or maybe it represents the victims of the revolution in France… Or all the ruined statues of the 60s wreckovators

  27. Benedict Joseph says:

    Imagine if they were wearing miters.

  28. MrsJackson says:

    Why do they all have a the look of ancient Roman sculptures of those of Michelangelo? The death of Rome? The decapitation of Rome? This is going to bother me…

  29. Dismas says:

    I must say that this is certainly, if less ugly than the WMoF Nazgul Bottle Opener, the least intelligible sculpture that I have seen all year. While the perverse delusions of the former were somewhat transmissible, in this latter, I am afforded no grasp other than the ones commissioning, sculpting, and venerating this thing are barking mad.

    I cannot even bring myself to call this thing as “horrible” or even “ugly”. Rather, the appropriate term is simply “stupid”.

  30. JustaSinner says:

    The bishops should have quit while they were ahead!

  31. NBW says:

    Very disturbing. I agree with Gab, it looks very Aztec/pagan. Is this symbolic of all the souls they are dragging to Hell? I noticed all the heads were perfect males…hmmmm…..

  32. JARay says:

    This is an utter insult.

  33. mibethda says:

    An antependium might solve the problem.

  34. Prayerful says:

    I hope all these terrible Cramner tables are dismantled, and maybe put in a Museum of Stupid Ideas.

  35. haydn seeker says:

    You have got to be kidding me. Look at the body language of everyone in the photo, they all hate it. It is demonic.

  36. FrAnt says:

    This altar reminds me of the Paul VI section of modern sacred art in the Vatican Museum. You know the section everyone passes through on their way to the Sistine Chapel, but no one stops. No one will go out of their way for a glimpse of that when there is a beautiful and respectful church nearby.

  37. Whatever happened to the Italian spirit of rebellion against stupid stuff? Isn’t this in the same country where they moved the plaque commemorating the first Mass in Italian because people were throwing things at it?

    Although this goes beyond stupid. This looks pagan — which, since, as Scripture says, all the gods of the Gentiles are devils, would make it occult. It is a version of the Abomination of Desolation. And it’s part of a pattern of high churchmen embracing and publicly displaying symbols and images that evoke homoerotica and the occult.

  38. gretta says:

    That is just…ugly. Presumeably there is some sort of message to be had there, but I don’t get it. Any of it. Ugh.

  39. UncleBlobb says:

    Usquequo, Domine?

  40. ChesterFrank says:

    He is a contemporary artist, not a liturgical artist. Its not the first time this mistake was made.

  41. MrsMacD says:

    Did anyone notice what looks like the head of the pieta at the front at the bottom?
    @MrsJackson it certainly has that sense. “We’ve put all your lovely statues in a tomb. We’ve burried your Faith. All your great works are entombed. ” The fact that Mass is said on this thing is blasphemous.

  42. Barnacle says:

    I had to sign in and say ‘Ugh.’ Revolting. Please Our Lady may your Triumph come soon. I fully expect that at that wonderful event this ‘monstrous carbuncle’ (phrase borrowed from and thanks to the Prince of Wales) will disappear in a puff of smoke.

  43. rbbadger says:

    I’m surprised they don’t have three candles at one end of the altar and a pot of flowers on the other. I saw that numerous times in Italy.

  44. aroc981 says:

    Hey, at least it’s not rainbow colored?

  45. jaykay says:

    UncleBlobb: “Usquequo, Domine?”

    Indeed. Also: “Quo usque tandem abutere, (originally Catalina, but insert name of choice) patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?”

    Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.

  46. iPadre says:

    And you can see a beautiful High Altar in the background that these weirdos despise.

  47. L. says:

    Sometimes readers at Mass read so slowly, emphatically, and bombastically that it’s funny. My way of illustrating this is by using a secular, but now peculiarly apt, illustrative bad reading: “What is that …in the road …A HEAD!”

  48. Fr. Reader says:

    If you have one minute, do this experiment.
    Go to a search engine, fo to the area for searching images, and type “beautiful churches” or “beautiful church altar”.
    Now search “ugly church”.
    It does not fail.

  49. Charles E Flynn says:

    The monstrosity would be better if it were bisected by a short net, so it could be used for table tennis.

  50. Grant M says:

    When I first saw the photos, I thought “OK, I get the reference to Apocalypse 6:9.” When I looked it up in the Vulgate, I saw that the verse includes an invocation “Usquequo”.

    Et cum aperuisset sigillum quintum, vidi subtus altare animas interfectorum propter verbum Dei, et propter testimonium, quod habebant : et clamabant voce magna, dicentes : Usquequo Domine (sanctus et verus), non judicas, et non vindicas sanguinem nostrum de iis qui habitant in terra ?

  51. HvonBlumenthal says:

    It strongly resembles a sculpture by Parmiggiani which was recently displayed at the Villa Empain in Brussels

  52. JKnott says:

    Could it be a commemoration of the French Revolution? The Age of Enlightenment!

  53. Andreas says:

    When one sees such cases where ‘art’ desecrates rather than promotes the sacred, then one can only conjecture that for no small number of priests and bishops who approve and indeed, encourage such efforts in art, architecture and music, ‘Soli Deo gloria’ has been supplanted by ‘Soli Artifex gloria’. One might say, then, that such efforts may in some cases reflect a form of narcissism both unbecoming to and inappropriate for The Church.

  54. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    There are a lot of homosexualists in the field of “art”.

    Homosexualists hate God’s Authentic Church as well as authentic Catholics.

    They get revenge through diabolical sacrilegious things like the above.

    Similar things are done by a major publishing company in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Simply view the “cover art” for many of the books they publish. While they aren’t as outright diabolical, much of the “cover art” has clear homosexualist undertones.

  55. Markus says:

    A. It ain’t ART if you have to explain it.
    B. A fine example when an atheist artist is commissioned for liturgical art.
    C. The “artist” is evidently jealous of previous art masters.
    D. Fine visual art is near death in the civilized world.

    From a commissioned artist of 50 years.

  56. Ellen says:

    Every time I think they’ve reached the bottom, they dig a hole. What a hideosity.

  57. Olecrochet says:

    I had the same thought. Rows and rows of skulls.

  58. Mariana2 says:

    “A great argument for the antependium.”

    A great argument for a well aimed grenade.

  59. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I’m sure that if we just “put our heads” together, we can decide on some lofty meaning for this altar. Perhaps we’ll think it’s “head and shoulders” above other examples of modern art. What strikes me is how many unemployed in Italy pray at church to find a good “headhunter” for job placement. They must feel that this altar speaks to them.

  60. …..and I see Fr. Sotelo is taking is going above and beyond in his fatherly care for souls. Not one but 3 corny jokes to lighten the mood! You have saved us from near despair.

    Seriously thank you, the sight of this ” altar” is appalling. I cant even cry.

  61. …..and I see Fr. Sotelo is going above and beyond in his fatherly care for souls. Not one but 3 corny jokes to lighten the mood! You have saved us from near despair.

    Seriously thank you, the sight of this ” altar” is appalling. I cant even cry.

  62. Kathleen10 says:

    Haha, how ridiculous. I hope one of them bites Father on the knee.
    A small child would be unsettled by this. Even a child knows creepy when they see it. Hardly the way to get a child to want to come to church. It looks like Bin O’ Heads. We need to stop wondering about motives, the motives are to destroy the church. Nobody’s this idiotic accidentally.

  63. epr says:

    Three words: long altar cloths

  64. maternalView says:

    We need to laugh at this stuff. It’s ridiculous. It’s fake art. And like the gender game lots of people are going around calling things by names they are not. Stop pretending this is art. Don’t be cowed by people who deny your common sense. This is not art. It’s stupid.

  65. PostCatholic says:

    It’s hideous! I like it!

  66. dcntodd says:

    Not sure which is worse: the horrible horrible horrible altar, or all of the bad bad bad puns posted here!

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