Lent provides the perfect setting to pray about one of the most important issues in the Church today, the healing of sexual abuse. CLICK here to learn more and order for your parish or faith community.
Below is my art response to the these Stations of the Cross. This response is published in the book. i am so grateful to Liturgical Press for asking me to be part of this important project.
The Artist’s Response
I pray that my fingers covered in paint may help redeem the abuse our children faced at the hands of my brothers.
Backdrop of Chaos
With my fingers, brushes, and rags, I splashed paint on the canvas. From that chaos, Jesus emerged. The sex crimes of clergy will never fade or go away. Healing must allow the chaos to speak. The disorder cannot be blended away or ignored or painted over. The disarray becomes the consistent motif for all fourteen stations. I cannot control the chaos of abuse. I also could not control how the face of Jesus revealed itself from the canvas of such discontinuity, disorder, and madness.
Outside the Lines
I pray that my paintings with blurred lines may help heal the ways my brother priests blurred lines of appropriate boundaries. They destroyed children’s innocence and that destruction continues within adulthood. I want people to see themselves here in the mess, the mix of colors, and the unfinished nature of the characters. I want people to see Jesus’ emotion for them.
Our children use primary colors to create art. I want to experience the innocence of raw color and their instincts of applying paint on canvas. These images are not adorned with clean lines, nuance, or historical style. Viewing the colors and styles of children enable us all to heal.
Face of Christ
The face of Christ holds every emotion of abuse and of our untold stories. He receives all we offer him. Jesus, in turn, reveals to us both suffering and mercy. In his eyes, we find home.
The Disembodiment of Abuse
We often fear and feel shame within our abused bodies. Jesus is revealed without a body in the majority of these paintings. Our bodies need to tell their own stories. These stations reveal disembodied suffering of many who cannot face the truth of their abuse.
The Handprints of Children
The handprints reveal the longing of our children to touch mystery, to touch love and hope again. The prints suggest that innocence can only be restored by the mystery of Jesus. We all wait to touch such mystery. This touch may heal the forbidden touch of the past.