The Top of St. Thomas Becket’s Skull

The martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket has a been a popular subject for artists from the middle ages to the 20th century, but one detail of the murder stands out in a few depictions. These show the top of the saints skull being shorn off by the first blow, like so: And: And: Medieval art…

The Pierced Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Is the Blessed Mother a martyr? St. Bernard of Clairvaux thought so. Building on the prophesy of Simeon that a sword would pierce her heart, he preached that “only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son…. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly…

Peter of Verona Exorcises a Statue

Four scenes from the life of St. Peter of Verona, also known as Peter Martyr, are depicted in frescoes at the Portinari Chapel, at the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio, Milan. One of these shows an incident from his life in which he exorcised a possessed statue of the infant Jesus and the Blessed Mother, complete with devil…

Peter Bruegel Paints Some American Bishops

One of the lesser annoyances of the past weeks of depravity and scandal was seeing the loathsome vulpine face of sexual predator Theodore McCarrick (formerly Cardinal, and hopefully soon-to-be-former “bishop” and “father”) staring back at me from endless articles about his crimes. Now that the report is out on criminal coverups in Pennsylvania, we have…

The Popish Octopus

Political cartoons are located somewhere between bonobo chimp vocalizations and bathroom graffiti on the spectrum of self-expression, and anti-Catholic cartoons are no exception. They tend to traffic in a few shopworn motifs to convey their contempt for Romish sorts, and the octopus makes regular appearances. This has the benefit of requiring no particular thought or…