Jesus the… Bearded Woman?

If one spends enough time in traditionalist circles, then he is bound to eventually hear how “the Novus Ordo” has made Catholicism more effete.  If anyone who bothers to look at Catholic art honestly and objectively, it becomes quite clear that the feminizing took place several centuries ago when transvestite portrayals of Christ were all the rage.

He glanced at the statue which the camp workers had erected near the gate. It caused a wince. He recognized it as one of the composite human images derived from mass psychological testing in which subjects were given sketches and photographs of unknown people and asked such questions as: “Which would you most like to meet?” and “Which do you think would make the best parent?” or “Which would you want to avoid?” or “Which do you think is the criminal?” From the photographs selected as the “most” or the “least” in terms of the questions, a series of “average faces,” each to evoke a first-glance personality judgment had been constructed by computer from the mass test results. This statue, Zerchi was dismayed to notice, bore a marked similarity to some of the most effeminate images by which mediocre, or worse than mediocre, artists had traditionally misrepresented the personality of Christ. The sweetsick face, blank eyes, simpering lips, and arms spread wide in a gesture of embrace. The hips were broad as a woman’s, and the chest hinted at breasts– unless those were only folds in the cloak. Dear Lord of Golgotha, Abbot Zerchi breathed, is that all the rabble imagine You to be? He could with effort imagine the statue saying: “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” but he could not imagine it saying: “Depart from me into everlasting fire, accursed ones,” or flogging the moneychangers out of the Temple. What question, he wondered, had they asked their subjects that conjured in the rabble-mind this composite face? It was only anonymously a christus. The legend on the pedestal said: COMFORT. But surely the Green Star must have seen the resemblance to the traditional pretty christus of poor artists. But they stuck it in the back of a truck with a red flag tied to its great toe, and the intended resemblance would be hard to prove.

A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter J. Miller


8 thoughts on “Jesus the… Bearded Woman?

  1. Hideous images! The more I see them, the more I like Eastern abstract-like icons.

    I hope you forgive my ignorance, but… apart from the mandylion/sindone, do you know which are the sources of the tradition that the Lord was long-haired? In Patristic times, especially in the Byzantine area, it was not unusual to depict Him as short-haired and beardless. The latter characteristic dissapeared when the mandylion was discovered, but what about His hair?

    Thank you so much,
    K. e.


      • Interesting. I’d imagine the historical Christ would have been bearded and long-haired as was custom of Jews of that era. Beardless and short-haired portrayals look like an attempt to make Christ accessible to the Greek/Roman world (much like how many African depictions-whether the old Ethiopian ones or the more contemporary ones in Sub-Saharan Africa-portray his skin tone as almost black). Many of the oldest icons do, however, show him bearded:


  2. I was going to a Latin Mass for 7 years, but have been attending a UGC parish for the past 6 months due to the Latin Mass being changed to an inconvenient time. I’m happier at the Ukrainian parish as the people just speak about normal every day things at coffee hour and I don’t have to hear anymore about if the Pope is valid or other weird ideas. BTW I went to a fully a
    diocesan TLM, but there was still at least one man there who spoke like a sedevacantist.


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