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Monday, September 2, 2002

Monday September 2, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:25 AM

Elevation of the Host

Some religious fanatics may be offended by my account, in the note below, of a theatrical bartender-priest at Lincoln Center who last night held a CD aloft in what may seem a parody or satire of the elevation of the host in the Mass. They should consider the following account of how a medieval nun viewed the host:

…she saw a great brightness between the priest’s hands, so vivid and so bright and of such wonderful beauty that in her opinion it could not be compared to anything the human spirit could imagine. And it seemed to her that this brightness had a circular shape….

For another appearance of a priest associated, if only by synchronicity, with Lincoln Center, see the photographs below, both from the New York Times obituaries section of Friday, August 30, 2002.

Richard Lippold, a sculptor known for radiant, expansive abstractions in metal, died on Aug. 22….

Richard Lippold’s ‘‘Orpheus and Apollo’’ at Avery Fisher Hall in 1996.

Jack Manning/The New York Times

Bill Wassmuth, a former Roman Catholic priest who opposed the Aryan Nations group in northern Idaho, died on Tuesday, Aug. 27. 

In this little drama of August 30, played out in the obituary section of the New York Times, it is not clear from the Lippold sculpture who is to play the role of Orpheus and who the role of Apollo. One might interpret the note below, written two days later, as implying that Orpheus is to be played by Lionel Hampton and Apollo by Christ himself.  Such a drama is neither parody nor satire.  It is, on the contrary, deadly serious. 

“A great brightness,” as seen by the medieval nun described above, is traditionally associated with the Aryan sun god Apollo.  For more on this theme in Roman Catholic art, see

Sun-Worship and Catholicism,

The Monstrance and the Wafer God, and

A Catholic rebuttal.

For a less dogmatic approach to these matters, see my journal note of June 13, 2002,

 A Mass for Lucero.

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