Controversial crucifix creates rift at Warr Acres,OK church
This is a rather absurd controversy that has been going on here in Oklahoma.  I looked at the picture of the crucifix, and I wouldn’t have seen anything unless someone had pointed it out.  I’m inclined to believe that the artist was trying to be traditional and had no intention of any hidden sexual message.  It would take a Protestant to see a perversion in it.  I don’t think it’s an oversexualization of Catholic images, I think it is the oversexualization of our culture that makes us project perverted thoughts on otherwise traditional images. 

I know a friend who goes to that parish, and she says before they got the crucifix there was simply a huge mosaic of Jesus behind the altar.  Obviously, they needed a crucifix and the pastor, who also does Byzantine rite Masses, must have seen the need for one.  An additional interesting fact: the Latin Mass community here has been holding daily Masses at St. Charles while their new church, St. Damien’s, is under construction.  Sunday Masses are held in the chapel of the Catholic high school.

The controversial crucifix has caused a deep divide among members of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, where it hangs above the main altar.
"There are a couple people who have left the parish,” said the Rev. Philip Seeton, the church’s pastor. "There are people in the parish who don’t like it and have stayed.”
Critics of the crucifix take issue with what appears to be a large penis covering Jesus’ abdominal area. Seeton said the portion of the crucifix in question is meant to be Jesus’ abdomen "showing distension” — not a penis.
Seeton said, "I’ve had people who have vocally said that that’s what they see there. I’ve had people who have been just as vocal who said that’s not what they’re seeing there.”
Janet Jaime, a local iconography artist who designed the crucifix, had no comment.
"I think it was painted according to the certain specific rules of iconography and church art,” Seeton said of the crucifix.
The crucifix is about 10 feet tall. It has been hanging above the altar since Feb. 21.
Seeton said the crucifix doesn’t concern him, and there are no plans to remove it.
Monsignor Edward Weisenburger of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese also said he has no problems with the crucifix. He said the archdiocese has received no complaints about it.
However, numerous current and former church parishioners contacted The Oklahoman this week expressing outrage at what many called a "pornographic” depiction of Jesus. Many asked that their identities be withheld.
Parishioner Rita Cook said the crucifix is one of many recent decisions by Seeton, who has been at the church since 2008, that longtime parishioners are concerned with.
"The crucifix is the straw on the camel’s back,” said Cook, who has attended the church for 35 years. "I think it’s an embarrassment to our Lord. I think it’s an embarrassment to our parishioners. And I think it’s an embarrassment to our visitors.”
Molly Jenkins, who is not a member of the church, said she attended a funeral at the church recently and immediately noticed the crucifix.
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worthless without pics.  I dont think it was intentional.  But once you see it, you cant unsee it.  Seems jeuvenile to me.

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I think there must be other issues in the parish and this is just a convenient focal point.
Really, people?.....Really?

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(04-20-2010, 12:30 PM)HotRod Wrote: worthless without pics.  I dont think it was intentional.  But once you see it, you cant unsee it.  Seems jeuvenile to me.

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Yeah, the  second the image popped up I noticed it at once.  Those who have been exposed to (no pun intended) and are used  to iconography can see the details of Christ's mid-section with no problem -  but those not used to iconography (western Catholics) will definitely see something unusual.  I find it quite unsettling and the laity in general will probably find it unsettling too.  But, then again, it's your typical novus ordo temple trying to tie themselves into knots to show everyone how inclusive they are.  How about a large, traditional Latin crucifix, circa 1912?

They should remove it.
Gotta admit, I see it, too.

It is fallic symbol, even if from the middle ages there are similar.

I can see it when I'm looking for it, but then it starts to look like ab muscles again. People who can't help but see it might see phallic imagery in a lot of other places they shouldn't.

And again, really?

No self- respecting Catholic artist would have left that image the way it is. It is a common problem in art that a pattern may create an unintended image in the mind, and when it is perceived widely, it cannot be dismissed as one viewer's over-active imagination.

Images of nude men abound in art and that configuration of shadows in the abdomen suggesting a penis is not what most artists see.

Also, that skull is laughing.

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This last one is mine, and years of painting from the nude model alongside many many artists gives me a lot of experience with how the male appears in paint. That artist deliberately left that visual "misunderstanding" up there in my opiniion because part of an artist's training is to be aware of unintended images.  Sometimes they enhance a piece, but often they must be removed, usually just with a slight change in shading or line.

Really, my question is this, given the laughing skull that acompanies it, how did they go about searching for an artist in the first place? Was it done prayerfully? Did the artist ask for any prayer-support while working on the crucifix?

My diocese formed an arts council a few years ago, (I am not on it), but am only one among a hundred listed artists) and while it certainly does include all kinds of people in the listings, it also ensures that there is  a widely available pool of artists  who can be consulted for major commissions.

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