Virgin and Child
Dieric the Elder Bouts, c. 1465
via The Awl, a strange letter from the Washington Post:
While attending the 4 p.m. Christmas vigil mass at my church this year, I was shocked.
I look beyond the fact that no one dresses up for church and that talking across the pews seems to be a normal occurrence, but what happened this year is beyond me.
During the Holy Communion mediation song (with only 10 minutes left to the service) the women behind me started to breast-feed her baby."The nerve of some people, desecrating our celebration of birth, hope, and motherhood by feeding their babies. And get those paintings out of here, too!
At first, I found this letter funny, but the more I thought about it, it's just sad. Who looks on a natural, intimate act of motherly love and is revolted? Who cannot distinguish between a breast being used to nourish a child and one exposed salaciously? It must be very isolating to live that way — appalled at displays of affection, unable to distinguish between lunchtime and pornography.
Also, I was raised Catholic and, in our church, you weren't supposed to turn around and stare at the people behind you during the service.