Something truly extraordinary happened in the gardens of Vatican City State yesterday. Pope Francis, in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI, consecrated Vatican City to Saint Michael the Archangel and to Saint Joseph, whom the Church Universal venerates as her patron and invokes as the Terror of Demons. The Holy Father, Pope Francis said, “On consecrating Vatican City State to Saint Michael the Archangel, we ask him to defend us from the Evil One and to cast him outside.” Is this not an implicit prayer of exorcism? The housecleaning of Vatican City is no mere figure of speech. The Pope released a mighty archangelic power of cleansing this morning.
It is also worthy of note that Pope Francis used the term “to consecrate” rather than the softer “to entrust” that was in favour some years ago. This would, I think, indicate a certain theological shift that may not be pleasing to everyone in the Curial offices. My dear friend, Monsignor Arthur Calkins, is an expert on the question and vocabulary of consecration. I should be very eager to hear him on this point.
Here is a translation (courtesy of Zenit) of the brief address Francis gave yesterday at the inauguration of a monument to Michael the Archangel in Vatican City State. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI joined Francis for the ceremony. Subtitles are my own.
Lord Cardinals, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,
Distinguished Gentlemen and Ladies!
Initiative Planned by Pope Benedict XVI
We have gathered here in the Vatican Gardens to inaugurate a monument to Saint Michael the Archangel, patron of Vatican City State. It is an initiative planned some time ago, with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, to whom always go our affection and gratitude and to whom we wish to express our great joy to have him present here in our midst today. My heartfelt thank you!
I am grateful to the Presidency of the Governorate, in particular to Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, for his cordial words, to the offices and workmen involved in bringing this about. I also thank Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, President Emeritus of the Governorate, for his presentation to us of the works carried out and the results attained. A word of appreciation goes to the sculptor, Mr. Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio, and to the benefactor, Mr. Claudio Chiais, who are present here. Thank you!
Michael: The Champion of God’s Primacy
There are several artistic works in the Vatican Gardens; however, this one, which is added today, assumes a place of particular importance, be it for its location, be it for the meaning it expresses. In fact, it’s not only a celebratory work, but an invitation to reflection and prayer, which is well inserted in the Year of Faith. Michael – which means: “Who is like unto God?” – is the champion of God’s primacy, of His transcendence and power. Michael fights to re-establish divine justice; he defends the People of God from its enemies and above all of the enemy par excellence, the devil. And Saint Michael triumphs because it is God who acts in him. This sculpture, then, reminds us that evil has been vanquished, the accuser is unmasked, his head is crushed, because salvation was accomplished once and for all in the Blood of Christ.
To Cast the Evil One Outside Vatican City State
Even if the devil always tries to scratch the Archangel’s face and man’s face, God is stronger; the victory is His and His salvation is offered to every man. We are not alone in life’s journey and trials; we are accompanied and sustained by the Angels of God who offer, so to speak, their wings to help us surmount so many dangers, to be able to fly high in regard to those realities that can weigh down our life or drag us down. On consecrating Vatican City State to Saint Michael the Archangel, we ask him to defend us from the Evil One and to cast him outside.
Dear brothers and sisters, we consecrate Vatican City State also to Saint Joseph, the custodian of Jesus, the custodian of the Holy Family. May his presence make us stronger and more courageous in making space for God in our life to overcome evil always with good. We ask him to guard us, to take care of us, so that the life of grace will grow every day more in each of us.
That’s not a toad Saint Michael is sticking his spear into. is it?
The unnamed sculptor has made the Archangel look a bit “Arch,” hasn’t he?
Do angels normally go around naked? Roger will know,
And are they always that “buff”? Lovely ‘pecs’ and ‘abs.’
I thought Pope Benedict looked pretty fit too, Toad.
The artist appears to be Giuseppe Antonio Lomuscio.
…But we wouldn’t want to see Benedict in the buff, would we? Or Toad, that’s for sure. Not even Giuseppe could work his artistic magic on him.
How clever of Golden to find the artist. Thanks.
Signor Lomuscio has also got a very photogenic line in Hollywood style, female saints: glossy, handsome, male ones too.
Very nice. Plenty of skill. Clever chap.
Twisting my words, Toad.
What I meant to draw attention to (while you were oohing and ahing over St Michael’s glutes) was how Pope Benedict looks so much better physically now than when Pope Francis visited him at Castel Gandolfo not long after his election. Marvellous and thanks be to God.
Your Spanish may help you read this article on the artist, Lomuscio. It’s from the website of the Apulian city, Trani, where the artist lives:
If not, you could always whack it through google translate.
Anyway, it looks like Lomuscio got the commission for the sculpture after winning an international competition for the job. Chief judge of the competition panel was the director of the Vatican museums, Antonio Paolucci.
Whoever gave Toad’s comment at 11:06 (^) about the St Michael monument an ‘excellent’ rating must be easily impressed. I would have given it a ‘very poor’ rating, except I prefer to say why a comment is substandard instead of hiding behind a veil of anonymity. So here goes: it’s vulgar, blasphemous, not the least bit witty and not at all in keeping with the avowed ethos of this blog. More in the line of someone hostile to the Church than merely ambivalent about it. Next he’ll be offering his har-dee-har-har interpretation of Michelangelo’s David, or perhaps even his Pietà. Most mornings, before leaving the house, I say St Michael’s Prayer, and I’m not interested in having this garbage sullying my thoughts when doing so, not even for the 24 hours or so that it might take to purge it from my consciousness.
Crikey! JH is ever so cross with Toad!
Anyway, by way of reparation, Toad awarded him 5 stars for his magnificent rant.
And it was probably only Toad who gave himself 5 stars for his own comment. (!)
No need for false modesty is there? And so it’s no big deal.
…No point in taking Toad seriously, either (which JH surely doesn’t, in any case, by now.) And anyway this comment will no doubt “await moderation” until JH’s blood pressure reaches normal lawyer level again.
So moderation serves a useful purpose.
But for JH to put Giuseppe in anything remotely resembling same ballpark with Michelangelo is just plain silly.
Giuseppe would be the first to agree. Thinks Toad.
“More in the line of someone hostile to the Church than merely ambivalent about it.”
What has perceived “hostility” to The Church got to do with discussing the merits of a work of art. JH?
Must we assume anyone to is “hostile” to the church will automatically rate Michelangelo, or Fra Angelico, or El Greco, or even Murillo, no good?
Notwithstanding the usual trite nonsense here (God forbid we should describe the thread so far as “inane”), I rejoice to see the quality of the artwork in the service of the much-needed exorcism of the Vatican. Lord, expel all demons from this place.
…Does merely asking whether it is the custom of angels – arch ones particularly – to go around naked* constitute ‘hostility’ to the Church? If so, how?
*Does it depend on the weather? 90% here today. Toad might do a Saint Michael himself, and go around in just his underpants.
I suppose what dismays me is seeing Faith being replaced by human Reasoning. Spiritual development stunted by a lack of piety.
The Holy images inspire spiritual development, but what happens to Fallen Man, what does Cain see through His eyes? But in Cains eyes these become lurid and the equivalent of Page 3 tabliod images to be gloated over in sexual terms.
Depicting St Michael like a Greek or Roman hoplite feeds the Cains.
The Faith should now be looking forward to our Lords return and the Messianic Kingdom (On Earth as it is in Heaven). The Past has been judged by God and the Holy Ghost is driving the Church forward. Few of Many doesn’t matter.
Two of my favourites The Glorious Son of David and King of Judea St Joseph! The lowly Archangel St Michael who opposed the Fallen Seraphim Lucifer! What an example here of lowliness and Humility over coming Pride! The meek St Joseph and the lowly St Michael.
The talk of works of Art is something that turns me away because it means that in a Holy Place the Artist is being elevated instead of the Subject.
How very very sad to hear DeVinca’s Last Supper Or Michaelangelos Pieta. It smatters of Solomon and His Temple doesn’t it?
These works can so easily become priceless masterpieces in the eyes of the world. But actually worldy distractions in Our spiritual development.
Sadly Toad (and Toads have venom) has simply killed any discussion on spirituality with His lewd observations.
In 1960 that list of Masonic Curia members lingers in my mind and todate non of these has been thrown out of their lofty towers. Our Lord said of such exorcisms. Unless the house is cleaned teh unclean spirit returns!
 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out.
Note that St Luke was a Doctor!
The Church has always supported and promoted art. Art critics and commenters are invaluable in the appraisal of such art.
The Vatican Museum (or “museums”, more accurately) is the 4th most visited museum in the world
During the 60’s great art works ended up on rubbish tips as a direct consequence of the novus order programme. I dislike the term Museum which implies curiosities when associated with the catholic Faith because it smatters off mythology and primitive beliefs!!!!
I intensely dislike lurid comments and references especially made obliquely to what is Holy Pure and Virginal. Our Lord and Our Lady are Purity, Virginity and Holiness. Away with carnality!!
If on leaving the Museums, which stand under the shadow of the dome of Saint Peter’s, you have captured the historical interest, respect and regard that the Church of Rome has for Art of all times and in all its form, and for all that has been created by the hands of “homo faber”, the sole figure that bears comparison with God the Creator, then the visit will be not have been in vain. You will have understood the essential: the Vatican Museums are namely the site in which the Catholic Church finds its identity. (Professor Antonio Paolucci, Director of the Vatican Museums)
But for carnality we would not exist. Don’t be ashamed of your God given body.
I saw no ‘lurid comments’ at all – perhaps you might examine your conscience here?
Which “great artworks” ended up on the rubbish tip in the 60s? I heard nothing of this catastrophe.
GC and others are likely already aware of The Vatican Secret Archives (VdH Books, 2009). The Archives consist of more than 85 kms of bookshelves, and this impressive coffee table volume presents more than 100 of the most interesting and historically significant documents from its ever growing collection: the Trial of the Knights Templar, the Sentence of the Council of Pisa Deposing Benedict XIII and Gregory XII, the Bulls Condemning and Excommunicating Martin Luther, and of course, Henry VIII’s “Great Matter”. Stunning photographs plus expert commentary.
JH, as we know the papacy predates almost every modern nation state, if not all of them, which is what the secularist elites of the white-race world feel most uncomfortable with. It just shouldn’t happen. Why can’t it just conveniently become a museum like the Musée du Louvre or Peking’s Forbidden City, darn it.
Golden has her tongue firmly in cheek (^) obviously 😉
But honestly, johnhenry, is there any other institutional phenomenon that has existed so formally without interruption since ancient times? What are they doing right? It hasn’t changed all that much except to become even more unevolved than usual.
The conservation expertise is hugely improved 😉
True, GC. There are several continuing religious traditions older than Christianity, but none (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, etc.) are homogenous, nor do they have the institutional pedigree of the Catholic Church. Almost 2000 years and counting. I hope to live to c. 2030 A.D.
“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18, Douay-Rheims.
Those who choose to dispute the Christ-prophesied primacy of the Catholic Church must confront that historical reality. Not even the Orthodox can lay claim to such continuity and longevity. As for political institutions, perhaps Iceland’s Althing is the oldest, but still a juvenile at 1000+ years.
I should have elaborated when I said: “Not even the Orthodox can lay claim to such continuity and longevity.” Of the ancient Sees – Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem – the latter three disappeared long ago. And the See of Constantinople is not as old as Rome.
This statue is offensive to Catholic faith and morals, un-canonical, and a blatent example of homo-eroticism in religious art…How can the Satanic demon of Sodomy [in the Vatican Gardens] cast out the same [in the Vatican itself] ?
PS – that’s “blatant…”
“BS”, more like.
What happened to St. Michael’s clothes? In all the statues of St. Michael that I have seen, our dear Archangel, Prince of the Church, has always been clothed! The artist only left a strip of cloth to cover the front (groin) and the back (butt) parts, then all else is naked! Honestly,I am scandalized by this indecent representation of Archangel Michael. I wonder if St. Michael accepted this consecration. I wouldn’t put such statue of St. Michael in my house, even if he is my favorite! And, by the way, did anyone hear them pray the St. Michael Exorcism Prayer in English or Latin, or the Consecration Prayer to St. Michael during the consecration of Vatican City to him? If there was any, why wasn’t this prayer published?
For Pete’s sake Jane – don’t start all that again! They go nuts!
(if you will pardon the expression>)
It’s ART. Apparently.
But, since you already have ‘rushed in’ – do angels have belly buttons?
Important theological issues, these.
It says here.
Jane Eyre: I sympathize, but don’t empathize (or is it the other way ’round?) with your objections to this statue. Representations of St Michael, partially clad, are nothing new:
And what about all those completely naked cherubim and seraphim?
If Our Lord can be depicted with only a loin cloth, I see nothing inherently wrong with angelic figures being portrayed in a similar way. Not saying I’m particularly taken with the statue in question, but often these things must be given time to be understood – otherwise we risk falling into the trap of the typical tourist who says: “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like”.
johnhenrycn: Naked cherubim & seraphim, traditionally called “putti”, are in the form of babies, not adults. It did not take much time at all for the Servant of God, Fra Jerome Savonarola, to understand, and consequently condemn nudism in the art of Renaissance Florence & Rome. Of the examples of St.Michael you give above, all have their loins covered, just as Our Lord is covered on Crucifixes.
Jane Eyre San Miguel: Well said!
To both of you: My sincerest good wishes in the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary,
Mark Grillo, TOC, ROSMA
Good ole Jerry Savanarola. He’s constantly in my thoughts when I consider Renaissance art. I was shocked to hear of his execution 😉
btw: what’s a “TOC” and a “ROSMA” ?
“Third Order Carmelite” (TOC) is my guess, based on third order Franciscans (TOF). ROSMA has got me stumped.
If you are able to find a photo of the sculpture with much better detail and definition (gulp!), I think people would not be so dubious towards it. I say this because of the comparison we could then see between the figures of Michael and that of Lucifer(?). We can still see Lucifer’s beauty and that he was once just as beautiful as Michael. Alas, it is clear too that Lucifer’s beauty is now diseased, as it were, and it is almost pitiable to see him so disfigured and beaten while still noticing his former wholeness. I think such is the overwhelming effect of this comparison that we do not notice the nudity; it recedes to the background.
Try blowing this photo up with “control +” and you may see what I mean.
As for other artwork with rudies in them, many paintings of the Resurrection and the Harrowing of Hell stand out. This Rubens and this by Agnolo Bronzino, for examples.
golden chersonnese: Yes, you are correct; I am a Carmelite Tertiary. ( I appreciate that you did not take TOC for “Take-Out Chinese” 🙂 ). johnhenrycn: I know of well-read, conservative clergy who, lacking knowledge of the full case concerning Savonarola, erroneously think he was a wayward soul and an unrepentant excommunicate. In the future you will want to avoid any flippancy when speaking of this Servant of God. I add here a link to help you understand the truth concerning Savonarola. With prayers and all good wishes I remain, Sincerely yours in Jesu + Maria, Mark Grillo, TOC, ROSMA
PS – “ROSMA” stands for the Portuguese Royal Order of St.Michael of the Wing.
A History of Vatican City (Potted Version)
A cute little video to watch while munching on your English muffins later this morning:
JH, I do wish these guys would lay off the “company” and “corporation” stuff. The Holy See is no more a “corporation” than the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations or the court of Queen Elizabeth.
I see your point, GC, but acknowledging the Holy See as a body corporate is the only way it can have legal status equivalent to that of a human being in the eyes of the law. It’s a legal fiction, but a useful one.The Secretary-General of the UN is merely an office, not a distinct legal person like the Holy See. HM The Queen is, of course, a real person, and has no need of legal fictions.
JH, the Holy See is a bishopric. The Church is a society, not a corporation. It is formed by all those other sees and jurisdictions in communion with the Holy See and, through it, with each other.
I beg to differ. Not entirely, but in part. However, it’s late, so I will leave you with this:
JH, nice, and I get you . . . but . . .
8. For the only-begotten Son of God established on earth a society which is called the Church, and to it He handed over the exalted and divine office which He had received from His Father, to be continued through the ages to come.
10. This society is made up of men, just as civil society is, and yet is supernatural and spiritual, on account of the end for which it was founded, and of the means by which it aims at attaining that end. Hence, it is distinguished and differs from civil society, and, what is of highest moment, it is a society chartered as of right divine, perfect in its nature and in its title, to possess in itself and by itself, through the will and loving kindness of its Founder, all needful provision for its maintenance and action.
(Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei)
Or did Vatican II change that?
…AKA – VaticanWorldWideIncorporated.Org.Com/
Oh yes, Toad, and it’s on Twitter too. Not sure about Facebook, but.