Sunday, October 16, 2016

Virtual Iconoclasm

Next year, Christians will be observing the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. There is a tremendous debate about how this anniversary should be marked. Protestants may celebrate it, but I don'd think a Catholic should--and ultimately an event that stands in the way of Our Savior's prayer the night before He suffered--"That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." (John 17: 21 Douai-Rheims)--is not something to rejoice about.

But in Estonia, a museum has developed an odd way to remember one aspect of the Protestant Reformation: the destruction of images. The UK Daily Mail tells  and illustrates the story:

A new exhibit at the National Museum of Estonia which invites visitors to desecrate an image of the Virgin Mary has sparked outrage in some quarters of the Christian community.

The virtual image is projected on a screen in a glass case - and remains intact until a 'smash' zone is kicked at the base of the installation.

This causes the sacred statue to shatter and is replaced by the word, 'Reformation' - after which the exhibit resets itself.

It is intended to celebrate the Protestant Reformation in the historically Lutheran nation.

I have not seen a Catholic response (Catholics are in the minority in Estonia), but not even the Lutherans like it:

Urmas Viilma, the Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, said it insults the feelings of believers.

'I very seriously doubt that this exhibit is suitable for the permanent collection of the National Museum of Estonia, even if it is interesting from a technical point of view or from the perspective of modern approach to the depiction of historical events,' he wrote on Facebook.

He further noted that for a 'huge number of believers,' the Virgin Mary is 'not some historical figure or event, gone into oblivion, but a reality today.'

From the Raccolta, an Act of Reparation to the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Most glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, turn thine eyes in pity upon us, miserable sinners; we are sore afflicted by the many evils that surround us in this life, but especially do we feel our hearts break within us upon hearing the dreadful insults and blasphemies uttered against thee, O Virgin Immaculate. O how these impious sayings offend the infinite Majesty of God and of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ! How they provoke His indignation and give us cause to fear the terrible effects of His vengeance! Would that the sacrifice of our lives might avail to put an end to such outrages and blasphemies; were it so, how gladly we should make it, for we desire, O most holy Mother, to love thee and to honor thee with all our hearts, since this is the will of God. And just because we love thee, we will do all that is in our power to make thee honored and loved by all men. In the meantime do thou, our merciful Mother, the supreme comforter of the afflicted, accept this our act of reparation which we offer thee for ourselves and for all our families, as well as for all who impiously blaspheme thee, not knowing what they say. Do thou obtain for them from Almighty God the grace of conversion, and thus render more manifest and more glorious thy kindness, thy power and thy great mercy. May they join with us in proclaiming thee blessed among women, the Immaculate Virgin and most compassionate Mother of God.

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