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Question Title Posted By Question Date
Catholic art hand symbolism explanantion mary jean Monday, February 14, 2011


Hi: I just wanted to add (as a sculptor and repairer of vintage Catholic art), that the hand gesture shown is not quite accidental. It is indicitave of the hidden Eucharistic heart of Jesus, shown in adult figures of Jesus. I have put a url here of a statue I am restoring at the moment to illustrate this. I hope you can see the similarity - the finger position is a (mostly Victorian) device used to convey tenderness.

When statues are removed from churches it is a bit like book burning in my view;- we loose a whole knowledge of how to read sacred images, or how to use them for our edification.

The questioned hand gesture says simply "God loves you."

We could think more deeply about it and associate his tunic with the veil of the tabernacle and his child's heart as future promise of the eucharist hidden from view.

Question Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r)

Dear Mary Jean:

Thank you so much for this information. It is very interesting. This also illustrates how we must be careful not to jump to conclusions about such things.

St. Ignatius Loyola teaches:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

This establishes a principle that applies across the board, not just to a statement one makes. We need to give a favorable interpretation to what people do, including artists, unless there is demonstrable evidence to the contrary. In otherwords, we are to avoid the grave sin of rash judgment.

Anti-Catholics are experts in rash judgment about the Catholic Church. This is sad and is the devil's work.


On the Subject of Symbols

While we are on the subject of symbols, let me expand this answer beyond the hand gesture of the original question.

Here are some examples of how anti-Catholics commit rash judgment concerning symbols used in the Church:


Bent Cross of Pope John Paul II


The Cross on the staff used by Pope John Paul II is called a "Shepherd's Staff" or a "Pastoral Staff" which is a symbol of the Pope's being the shepherd of the Universal Church. The Pope decided to use this instead of the traditional crozier which is a symbol of jurisdictional authority.

This "bent" Shepherd's Staff was first used by Pope Paul VI when he was elected in 1963.

There is absolutely no connection with Satanism as anti-Catholics suggest.

The anti-Catholics propose that Satanists in the 6th Century adopted this "bent" cross as one of their symbols to mock the Catholic Church.

You will find this repeated by many anti-Catholic websites. Most of these websites got their information from the flagship of Hate Sites -- Other sites include: and among many others.

CuttingEdge, in their repeating of this demonic slander against the Church quotes from another bigot, Piers Compton, who wrote the diatribe, "The Broken Cross: Hidden Hand In the Vatican", Channel Islands, Neville Spearman, 1981

Mr. Compton states in his book:

This Bent Crucifix is "... a sinister symbol, used by Satanists in the sixth century, that had been revived at the time of Vatican Two. This was a bent or broken cross, on which was displayed a repulsive and distorted figure of Christ, which the black magicians and sorcerers of the Middle Ages had made use of to represent the Biblical term 'Mark of the Beast'. Yet, not only Paul VI, but his successors, the two John-Pauls, carried that object and held it up to be revered by crowds, who had not the slightest idea that it stood for anti-Christ." (p. 72) On page 56 Compton prints a picture of the current Pope, John Paul II, holding this bent or broken cross, just as we have shown, at left.

However, neither Mr. Compton, CuttingEdge, or any other anti-Catholics proposing this demonic lie about the Church, has ever offered one shred of documented proof to support their claims of the "bent" cross used by the Pope has a Satanic history going back to the 6th century.

Indeed, no Satanist I have come across makes this claim to this cross. Most Satanists, in fact, are amused by what they call, "the lack of intelligence of Christians" to suggest that the bent cross is one of their symbols.



The "bent" cross used by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II is an original artistic creation of an Italian artist by the name of Lello Scorzelli. Mr. Scorzelli was born in 1921 so I think it is a fair bet that his original artwork was not adopted by Satanists in the 6th Century. I could be wrong though. Wink

Even if these bigots were to say that this artist copied the design from Satanists in the 6th century, where is the documented proof on this? We certainly cannot take their word for it "just because they say so".

The bottomline is that this is just another straw man erected by anti-Catholic bigots whose hatred for the Catholic Church is so great as to only be described as demonic and who have no respect for truth, logic, of even common sense.



The famed Inverted Cross



Again we have a case of non-thinking by people who do not care to think and do not care to know the truth. That is the nature of bigotry. Bigotry seeks no answers, but only invented notions to support their bigotry.

Satanists are really amused at this notion posited by Christians that the upside down cross is one of their symbols:

Here is a comment from one Occult Site:

I laugh at this idea because of what people believe (about the Inverted Cross as a sign of Satanism)... I'm going to share a secret with you which may change your view of this symbol. The inverted Cross is a Christian symbol, but it's not one belonging to the Christian Satan. When Saint Peter was to be put to murder, it was determined that he would be crucified. Being a humble man, he felt that he didn't deserve to be crucified as his master and God, instead being crucified upside-down. This became known as the Cross of St. Peter. When someone wears the inverted Cross, they're making a statement as being humble in the eyes of God.

Another non-Christian Occult site says this:

The inverted cross was not invented or first used by Satanists. It is the cross that St Peter was crucified on because he didn't feel himself worthy to be crucified on the same form of cross as his "messiah", Jesus Christ, was.
It was a symbol for unworthiness and deep respect of ones superiors: representing folly, hardship, failure and reverence for Christ. That's what it used to mean. Since the advent of the B-Movie and limited public intelligence the inverted cross became a reversed Christian symbol - a symbol of Anti-Christian sentiment. Let us not forget that The Cross is just a symbol, used and misused over the millennium for a multitude of reasons.

The Baphomet is the official symbol of the Church Of Satan, but many Satanists use the inverted cross to symbolize their dislike of Christianity. It's modern meaning has came to mean "anti-Christian" and it is used and recognized as such in today's world, but not in history.

Bottomline: the inverted cross is a symbol of St. Peter. The Pope is the successor to Peter which is why the "Cross of Peter" may be on his chair. As the occultist said above, the inverted cross was neither invented by Satanist nor used by Satanists.

The use of the inverted cross is a rather modern practice of some dilitante Satanists such as teenagers and others wishing to give a symbol of rebellion. We cannot help if numbskulls abuse our symbols.



Sarah Palin hand gesture


One more example from the luny-tunes at site shows several pictures of Bush, the Clintons, the Obamas, and this one of Sarah Palin all giving the sign of Satan, according to them.

Another example of profound rash judgment and abject ignorance.

While Satanic rock bands may have adopted this hand gesture for their own purposes, perhaps as a symbol of rebellion, it is ridicules to presume this is the intent of these politicians.

Again, with the principle favorable interpretation unless there is evidence to the contrary, what does this symbol really mean, what is its origin?

Sign Language- I love youWell, this symbol is on a U.S. Postage Stamp commemorating American Sign language. They are called the  "I love you" stamps. The "I love you" sign is a combination of the American Sign Language letters I, L, and Y.

It is rather obvious that these politicians are saying to the crowd, "I love you" not flashing some Satanic symbol.

Neither the Church nor the creators of American Sign Language can control how people use their symbols. If we were to abandon a symbol that has meaning for us as Christians merely because Satanists or other non-Christians adopt the symbol for themselves and give a different meaning to it, we would have to abandon all Christian symbols.

The plain cross found in Protestant churches as well as the Crucifix is used by some Satanists, dilitante Satanists anyway, and by heavy metal bands.  Nearly every symbol the Church (Catholic or Protestant) has ever used have been used by Satanists or pagans or has a history rooted in paganism. Such symbols as Christ dying on the cross was a common story among pagans in pre-Christian times, the cross, the fish, Christmas Tree, and even the wedding band all have pagan histories.

So if these numskulls are going avoid being hypocrites they must throw away their wedding bands, the crosses around their necks, the crosses in their churches, the Christian Fish symbol, and all the rest.

Like it is with all bigots, they have no logic, no sense of reality, and no brains -- only minds closed and eyes blinded by the sins of hard cold hatred, arrogance, and pride.

Rash judgment is a grave sin. It is best to avoid it.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary


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