Michelangelo had it right!
I ran across an interesting podcast recently by Fr. Thomas Loya on www.CatholicRadioInternational.com. Go to: http://www.catholicradiointernational.com/abodyoftruth.php and scroll down to the 7/21 episode “At Her Breast”.
Fr. Loya is a Byzantine Catholic priest who is pastor of a church in Homer Glen, IL just south of us. He studied in in the early 80’s and was in the audience when JP2 presented his “Theology of The Body” talks at his regular Wednesday audiences in those years. He was also in the crowd in St. Peter’s Square on the day that JP2 was shot! Fr. Tom has talked of this event – he was literally standing on the spot where John Paul was shot minutes before. He felt an uneasiness and moved away – only to watch the events from not far away.
In this podcast Fr. Loya starts out by stating: “For many years of my life – for several hours a day – I looked at naked people – mostly women..”
He was of course an art student! He painted the icons and images at his church in Homer Glen (www.byzantinecatholic.com)
The podcast discusses a new book released by Vatican (only in Italian now) about efforts to restore great artwork that shows the. He talks about the “hyper-sexual” images in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and notes that Renaisance artists really were the last ones to show “true” Catholicism in their artwork.
Fr. Tom notes that the prudishness often associated with Catholicism was actually an aboration introduced by Protestant reformers like Luther and Calvin. The Sistine Chapel images even use the naked human form as background decoration where others might use patterns or other images. These images were designed to be inside Churches. It would be hard to imagine them in a Church today.
He also notes that JP2 gave very clear instructions to the artists restoring the images to remove any loincloths or fig leaves not put there by Michaelangelo! The Pope says mass under these images and new Popes are elected in this room.
At the end of the podcast Fr. Tom presents an interesting recommendation to combat our porn-adicted culture – allow women to breastfeed their babies without covering up – just like the artwork!