Is this Jesus painting pornographic? [MSNBC]

One of the featured videos at MSNBC

Entitled “Is this Jesus painting pornographic”?

St. Charles Borromeo is the parish, Arch. of Oklahoma City.

Me, I am not one to go out and make waves via the media, instead of following proper channels.

But has anyone seen this? Is there a grain of truth to their complaint?

I can’t tell if its pornographic…the area is question is blurred out.

Pornographical material, by definition, is there to arouse. If this crucifix is in a church, and looks like what I think it might look like behind the blur, I don’t think its pornographic. It’s the picture of a dying man.

Then again, the area in quesiton is blurred out so I can’t really tell what’s being portrayed.

It’s pretty hard to tell, for the censoring mark was quite large. From the overall style of the picture, however, it seemed to have been intended to be respectful of Christ. For, after all, He was a man as well as the Son of God. To say He did not have the male parts would be saying that He was not a man.

I think the picture isn’t pornographic, but I understand that it is rare for any depiction of Christ to also display Him completely nude.

I had the video on mute, however (It would be awkward if I was overheard listening about penises) so they might have said something that would change my mind.

Here;s an article with a picture of the painting in question…

It’s…um…kind of funny, I guess. Maybe poorly painted, but I don’t know if it was painted this way on purpose or on accident. :slight_smile: The video did not have to blur this out tho…they did so to create a bigger controversy. It’s supopsed to be his stomach.

Offensive to some? I can see that. Pornogrpahic? I vote no.

So it’s supposed to be an abdomen?

Then doesn’t that mean the people seeing a penis just have sick minds? :smiley:

Are you kidding me MSNBC?? What a foolish video.

The real picture: open if you dare!:rolleyes::smiley:

Now we’ve jumped to the height of lunacy, and of seeing nudity where none was intended.:rolleyes: That’s a Byzantine representation, and the “penis” is meant to be Jesus’ “six-pack,” for lack of a better term.

I think someone DID have their mind in the gutter, and it wasn’t the artist :smiley:

Now that being said, a nude representation would not be out of line historically, as the Romans often crucified in the nude, both to accelerate death by exposure as well as to add that little extra bit of humiliation to the victim.

The American culture is not ready for the “Total Naked” crucifix. And, I don’t think I’m ready for it either… But Christ was crucified naked… The Romans knew this would shame those being crucified… Add shame to the pain that our Lord suffered.

In some Asian Churches there are totally naked crucifixes… Those sculptured out of clay or molded out of plaster, plastic or other materials… These crucifixes are placed in a separate room so those who may be offended will know not to enter… Also, by having them in a separate room, the parent can choose if it is appropriate to have their children view this type of crucifix.

Is it pornography?? Don’t think so… It’s reality… Much like Michelangelo and his nude paintings and statues which are located in museums and chapels in Italy… However, to the best of my knowledge, Michelangelo didn’t sclupt or paint our Lord nude.

My personal opinion… While it’s reality, it is also disrespectful… This is why Christian artist throughout the centuries have draped our crucified Lord.

I never noticed this about the San Damiano Crucifix before. I guess it’s a badly drawn 4-pack if people see it as something else.

[quote=Will B;6530711
]My personal opinion… While it’s reality, it is also disrespectful… This is why Christian artist throughout the centuries have draped our crucified Lord.

Except, if that were meant to be a penis, why bother to have any draping at all on the corpus, as show on the icon? That’s a bit like putting a fig leaf on someone’s forehead instead of…:wink:

dude, it’s his abdomen.

if you’re gazing at the image of Christ dying for us on the cross, and all you can think about is the detail of His abdomen which may appear phallic to some, you’re focusing on the wrong thing.

:thumbsup: Quoted. For. Truth :slight_smile:

Ok, so maybe my mind is in the gutter, but it does look like a penis-and a huge erect one, at that! I’m sure it wasn’t the artist’s intention, though (even Jesus wouldn’t have been that “well endowed” :o, and I can’t imagine that being tortured to death would produce an even involuntary erection). No “six pack” abs represention I’ve ever seen looks like that.

We have 4 round “rose windows” in our church that are supposed to depict the 4 Marks of the Church. In the “Holy” window, the “Bride of Christ” is depicted coming up out of the waters of Baptism, and there are several Saints surrounding it. In the original window (our church is only 10 years old) the “Bride” looked like Jesus, so it was taken down and redone (w/ longer, blond hair, and flowers in the hair). I don’t see why this crucifix can’t be redone so the abs look more like abs. and there’d be no confusion. :shrug:

In Christ,


Nope, that is not a male organ. That is an abdomen.

As for the “pornographic” part, I think the Miller test can be applied.

* Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
* Whether the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions
* Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. 

And I think that:

I. No, taken as a whole, it doesn’t appeal to prurient interests. I don’t think it was meant to in the first place. It only appeals to prurient interests to some people who see things which aren’t there.

II. No, it does not depict sexual conduct or excretory functions in a patently offensive way.

III. Yes, it does have a serious artistic value.

Therefore, unless my weak and errant logic fails me, I don’t think it’s pornographic.

Good example of how it should be done.

I wouldn’t have immediately seen it, but once it’s pointed out, it does look like one. Now that people are talking about it, it would be difficult not to think of it when looking at the crucifix.

No matter what the intent of the artist was, the crucifix is causing people to focus on something other than worship. It’s simple enough to find another crucifix.

Its wrong. Period It is very easy to see how it was “mis-interpreted”. Anything that is so easy to be misinterpretted, is not going to inspire prayer, it will be a distraction. Period. Even people who don’t see it that way (and it doesn’t look like any abdomen I have ever seen) will probably think of the controversy when they see it.
As for being historically correct to show Jesus nude on the cross, maybe. But to what purpose. And remember, Christ is human also, he deservces a little privacy and respect.

Nudity does not automatically equal pornography.

If we’re going to talk about pornography in a Catholic context, perhaps it would be useful to be reminded of the CCC definition of pornography:

2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

By the above definition, not even the display of an erect male organ would be considered “pornography”. Certainly viewing an erect male organ would not be “pornography” for me, and wouldn’t even be considered leading me to lust, but a homosexual man or a woman viewing the same image might have a different reaction.

A large part of pornography is in the eye of the beholder; for me, the above definition of “pornography” hardly is pornography in my eyes simply because it thoroughly turns me off, but it is pornography in its intent and thus sinful.

We are therefore responsible ourselves for avoiding erotic images that cause us to lust. For some it can be a lingerie billboard, and for others, nude art.

Taste, good, mediocre or poor, is another matter altogether. I have seen a lot of religious “art” that is in very poor taste but not even remotely involving nudity.

I guess I see roughly three levels: nudity (non-erotic), erotica, and pornography. But the lines are blurred by individual sensitivities and what turns us on.

I neveer said it was pornographic, I said it was wrong. It is disrespectful of Christ, it is a cause of distraction as opposed to a help in prayer, it is a cause of scandal. It has no place in a church.
I went back and looked at it again. No matter what the picture is supposed to show, I don’t believe anyone if they were to claim they looked at it and did not at least think of genitalia.

Sorry if I was unclear, I wasn’t responding to your post specifically but to the thread title.

I agree that the image could at the very best, be called “in poor taste”, or “poorly executed”, and can definitely be seen as a distraction from prayer.

I tend to be a stickler for exact terminology but that’s because I need to in my profession.

In fairness, responders to this thread should check the complete picture of the icon being depicted, as already offered by some posters. It’s far from pornographic, and is most certainly not a sexualized image of Jesus Christ. Puhleez! One can see that the stylized seam of the covering on our Lord’s Body has two ends of the cord going down the front.

MSNBC sensationalizes if not creates controversy where none should be to boost its poor ratings in the cable news industry. It must be fashionable to criticize everything Catholic these days.

Importantly, let’s not forget what the Crucifixion was and is all about, as Rev. Rolheiser’s article (click link below) has explained.

An unknown Umbrian artist painted the original San Damiano crucifix in the twelfth century. Those who wish to read up on the background of the icon, please click on the following links:

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