Monday, May 14, 2018

“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination:" What Met Gala Gets Right

Having never before so much as heard of the Met Ball and not much caring about the world of fiction which is the Hollywood land of make-believe, this year's theme of that day explicitly addresses me, a Catholic priest.

My spontaneous reaction is that, on the surface, one may interpret that affair as a positive thing. Women dress up to show-case some popular impressions of Catholicism. That cultural event did indicate various obvious facts.

1. Women dress up, men do not. And there is a difference between the two. Notice that even the notorious homosexuals stuck to that modern protocol. I saw no "drag-queen" displays. Thank God!

Moral: dressing up is for girls.

2. Catholicism is important.
Entirely oblivious to that world of cultural elites, the biggest surprise to me was this, that such a powerful industry, built entirely upon fantasy, willfulness, pride and lust, should even show up to acknowledge the existence of the Catholic Church, which is a direct reference to Jesus Christ Her Lord.

Moral: Jesus Christ is not dead, He lives in His Holy Church! Even the devils confess the name of Jesus. Cf. Matthew 8:29.

3. Gender/Sex and True Religion are Analogous.
The feminine genius has a natural sense of mystery in its need to dress up and to make-up itself. There is something supernatural in woman's wastefulness in styles and accepted fashions, dresses, obsession with skin and hair and every superficial aspect of her person; because the body points beyond the body to the superior grandeur of the entire person. The person includes the flesh but is much more. The person is both body and soul. What is more, the body/soul reality of the person indicates God, in Whose image God created them. Imago Dei. So we do well in the English language, for example, to capitalize the "I." But we should, with more reason yet, capitalize also the "You." We actually do that, fittingly, with the name of the true God, and all His pronouns. Cf. Genenis 1:27.
Catholicism's priesthood and Her entire sacramental system is up to the same thing as women dressing up to manifest the persona, but at the superlative level, because it indicates and serves the Lord of all. A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Material things are thereby transformed by God, in His ministers, to give us God. Emmanuel: God is with us. So we dress up to indicate that fact. Just as the body points beyond the body and the human person points beyond himself to God His Creator, in Whose image he is made, so the splendor of the Catholic ritual and her consecrated ministers advertise the truth of the Person and the reality of God Himself, in the flesh, Jesus Christ. The Most Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist, is Jesus Christ Himself, bodily and trans-historically and really present on the earth. "This is My body,...My blood,...for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of Me." The Catholic priest is the royal minister of Christ. The priest also stands in persona Christi. We dress up our rituals, our selves and our churches to show it!

Moral: "Et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis et vidimus gloriam eius gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiae et veritatis." John 1:14

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