Letters To The Editor

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Thoughts on the
Pieta and life

To the editor: Pieta, the incredible statue carved by Michelangelo, which today sits in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It is a miracle of technical skill but also of faith. It is a marble sculpture of the lifeless body of Christ, lying across the lap of his mother.
This brings to mind some things about the Virgin Mary that the Catholic Church has been grappling with for centuries, yet it remains ineffable, and therefore a source of ridicule. How best to regard the mother of God?
Through the Gospels we know a good deal about the brutality of the passion of Christ. From the treason of a friend to a horrific death, an absolutely innocent person.
In the Pieta we are forced to ask ourselves things we don't dare answer. Like this: Which is the greater pain, to endure public torture and bloody death without cause; or to hold the lifeless body of your own son who suffered these things?
Indeed, which is the greater sacrifice, yourself or your child? God knows, but on earth only a parent can attempt an answer, and shudder. It is too horrible even to contemplate. Yet the question is posed by a marble statue.
It is on sad days like today that I wonder if I can live as an atheist, where children are no more than a pesky side-effect from a fun night out. Or as a Protestant, where Mary is only breeding stock; a mere player, with her exits and her entrances, soon forgotten.
Lawrence Gefre


The Press

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