What Is This I Don’t Even?!

The glorious period of waiting that is Advent begins today, which means a sense of anticipation of the coming of the Lord, no Gloria at mass, lighting the candles on the wreath, deep meditation on the mystery of the incarnation, and the annual abomination that is the unveiling of a new Breaking Bread book from OCP.

This year, OCP (Oregon Craptacular Publishing) has outdone themselves with awfulness.  This thing is going to be stabbing me in the eyeballs every Sunday for the next year.

What even is it? My son asked me to put it away, saying it was “too disturbing.  It looks like some kind of cult sacrifice thing.” Yeah, that’s an image Catholics want to reinforce.

We were making guesses as to what it could possibly be. A shattered stained glass window reassembled by a team of colorblind iconoclasts? Melted colored cellophane? The thing in the middle that (I think) is supposed to be a jug looks like a skull out of a Santeria ritual.

OCP Art Director Judy Urben surveyed the grandeur that is 1700 years of Catholic visual arts and said, “Gimme the one that looks like someone puked confetti into a centrifuge.” Hey Judy: here’s a tip, for free: Art is supposed to be beautiful or true. Ugly and confusing? Not so much.

Then again, maybe she was just being honest about what’s inside. We had to sing “Maranatha” today, which is the sonic equivalent of this picture. (It makes me think of this.) OCP figures if they’re going to publish a book containing the Greatest Hits of Bad Church Music, they might as well produce packaging that matches the quality of the songs inside.

By the way, have you figured out what this art depicts? Give up?

It’s called “The Pilgrims of Emmaus” by Alfred Manessier.

Yeah, me neither.


Here’s something to refresh yourself after that.

You know, Latin is not a particularly difficult language, and our heritage of hymns is filled with many wonders. I get angry about music and art in Church because we’re denied beauty by purveyors of ugliness. As Catholics, we have a right to beauty in our worship.

READ the follow-up about how the masters painted the same subject.