On May 7, 2018, the fashion world’s Super Bowl was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
According to Wikipedia, “The Met Gala. . . is an annual fundraising gala. . . . It marks the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. Each year’s event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, and the exhibition sets the tone for the formal dress of the night, since guests are expected to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit.”1
“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”
This year’s theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, with the Met Ball launching an exhibit with the same name that runs from May 10 to October 8. For both the Met Gala and Exhibition the Holy See lent priceless liturgical vestments and other equally historic sacred objects.
The choice of theme and the exhibit’s design was Andrew Bolton’s, the Costume Institute’s Curator in Charge. Raised a Catholic, he lives with his homosexual partner, Thom Browne. It was Bolton who, over two years of negotiations and numerous trips to Rome, obtained the loan of the Vatican vestments and objects. His efforts received support from Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, Curia Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as well as the First Section of the Vatican’s Office of the Secretariat of State. During the negotiations, Bolton also consulted with the notorious Fr. James Martin, S.J., the “Rainbow Jesuit.”2
“What Is the Cardinal Archbishop of New York Doing Here?”
The New York Archbishop justified his presence by saying that the Church preaches the true, the good and the beautiful, which come from Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Since fashion reflects beauty, in this sense the Church has a connection with it.
What the Cardinal said is true from a purely doctrinal perspective. But he failed to add that true beauty, which proceeds from God, is a chaste, harmonious, and reverent one. He also failed to criticize the nudity and extravagance imposed today by fashion dictators.
Given the immorality of previous Met Gala balls, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York should have known that this year’s Gala was just as unlikely to have any “heavenly bodies” or “Catholic imagination.”4
A Prestigious Platform for Sacrilege, Immorality, and Madness
And what should have been expected indeed happened: The 2018 Met Gala was a fashion extravaganza of sacrilege, immorality, and madness.
No Catholic can be indifferent to Lana del Rey’s sacrilegious parody of Our Lady of Sorrows. This singer, incorporated a representation of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pierced by seven swords, atop her bodice. Raised Catholic,5 she declared that from religion “I take what I want and leave the rest.” Looking like an eccentric Jesus figure, actor and singer Jared Leto stood next to her for the pictures, using a lengthy priest stole and wearing a golden crown of thorns.6
Nor can any Catholic who is faithful to his baptismal vows not be indignant seeing pictures of Victoria’s Secret model Stella Maxwell wearing a tight strapless column gown stamped with six large icons of Our Lady; actress Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a Neapolitan nativity scene on her head; or actress Zendaya Coleman dressed up as a back-and-cleavage-showing Saint Joan of Arc.
Other models and celebrities in indecent garb displayed halos of holiness over their heads in clear debauchery of the Catholic portrayal of angels and saints.
Ridiculing the papacy, Met Gala 2018 co-host and pop superstar Rihanna appeared in white, crowned with a bishop’s miter and wearing a strapless minidress and robe that revealed her scantily-covered bosom.
Actress Anne Hathaway was dressed in a red cardinal’s outfit, with a bare back and equally indecent, cleavage-displaying front. Rapper Nicki Minaj sported a cardinal-type flowing red cloak, and her impure top was not outdone by the front of her dress which was slit almost to her waist, revealing her bare legs when she walked. To media Minaj declared: “I’m dressed as the devil.” Another Victoria’s Secret model, Taylor Hill, wore a red-trimmed cleavage-showing black dress, a pectoral cross, and what looked like a cardinal’s red sash and pellegrina.
Almost all the women’s dresses were carefully designed to draw attention to intimate parts of the body. Many used transparent fabrics. One woman wore a dress that covered only one side of her body, leaving the other completely naked from head to toe.
Singer Katy Perry, who composed a song titled “Dance with the Devil,” came in a gigantic winged white angel costume and a skimpy golden minidress. Madonna, who has performed the most outrageous blasphemies during her career, came with a crucifix dotted crown, and wearing a black dress with two-and-a-half-inch-wide, see-through, full-torso cut-out Latin cross.
Later that evening Madonna performed “Like a Prayer” on the museum’s staircase. Together with the young choristers from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel who sang in a surprise performance, earning praise from immoral Rihanna,7 Madonna was the night’s most highlighted entertainment.
“I Didn’t Really See Anything Sacrilegious”
Most shocking of all were Cardinal Dolan’s comments to Sirius XM radio8 on Tuesday, May 8, the day after: “I didn’t really see anything sacrilegious,” adding, “I may have seen some things in poor taste, but I didn’t detect anybody out to offend the Church.”
Speaking of Rihanna, who came dressed “as a pope,” the cardinal said she “was very gracious,” and joked about lending her a miter and that she had already returned it. He joked again about this immoral fashion icon administering the Sacrament of Confirmation: “I was teasing my auxiliary bishops, who were teasing me about Rihanna and I said, ‘Hey, you guys should not complain because she’s volunteered to do some confirmations.’”9 The Cardinal was generous in his assessment of the participants: “This was a crowd that was rather respectful of the sacred. They were all very respectful, very interested.”
And he concluded: “Anyway, it was a good time. What a great evening it was.”10
A Bondage Mask Amid the Sacred Vestments
As for the actual exhibit “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” it covers twenty-five galleries and 60,000 square feet.
In it are many mannequins for women with dresses modeled after clerical attire worn by bishops and priests. Many of the dresses are transparent and extremely revealing. Many others include crosses, chalices, Sacred Hearts, icons, and religious imagery. There is also a bondage mask (used in sexual perversions) covered in rosary beads.11
One of the dresses featured a short black skirt with a sleeveless top and an icon of Our Lady on the front and back. Another dress, with a mostly transparent top, shows a naked Adam and Eve on its lower part.
“Fashions Will Greatly Offend Our Lord”
The sacrilegious Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Met Gala and Exhibition remind us of the prophetic words of Saint Jacinta, the youngest Fatima seer. After the apparitions at the Cova da Iria, she received several private revelations, especially when in the hospital in Lisbon, where she later died. One day she told Mother Godinho (her guardian): “Fashions that will greatly offend Our Lord will appear. People who serve God should not follow fashions. The Church has no fashions. Our Lord is always the same.”
She added: “The sins which cause most souls to go to hell are the sins of the flesh.”
With a directly supernatural illumination, this innocent girl, who died before she was ten years old, makes a statement that matches Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s Treatise on Morals almost word for word: “The sin against this precept [the Sixth Commandment]. . . is the vice that fills hell with souls”.12
Modesty Is the First Defense of Chastity
Since the sins of the flesh are the ones that lead most souls to Hell, the obvious conclusion is that all care must be taken to avoid them.
Modesty is chastity’s first defense. It is the enceinte, the curtain wall that defends the castle of purity. It is the garden that leads up to and adorns the palace.
The virtue of modesty leads us to great vigilance when it comes to fashions. For our way of dressing, while reflecting the beauty of virtue in our soul, should avoid everything that would lead others into temptation and sin.
Fatima and the Vision of Hell
In the context of the sacrilegious Met Gala and Exhibition, how can we not recall the vision of Hell the three little Fatima shepherds had?
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say very often, especially whenever you make some sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, it is for Thy love, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’
“Upon saying these last words, she again opened her hands as in the preceding two months. The reflection appeared to penetrate into the earth and we saw, as it were, a sea of fire. Submerged in that fire were demons and souls in human shapes who resembled red-hot, black and bronze-colored embers that floated about in the blaze borne by the flames that issued from them with clouds of smoke, falling everywhere like sparks in great fires, without weight or equilibrium, amidst moans of pain and despair that horrified us and made us shake with terror (that must be when I shouted “aahhi” people said they heard). The devils had horrible and disgusting shapes of scary and unknown animals but were transparent like black burning coals. Scared and as if asking for help, we raised our eyes to Our Lady, who said with goodness and sadness:
“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go; in order to save them, God wants to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world.”
May these words of the Mother of God serve to confirm us in the Faith amid the stormy, sacrilegious world in which we live.
- “Met Gala,” accessed May 11, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Met_Gala.
- Cf. Jason Horowitz, “How the Met Got the Vatican’s Vestments,” The New York Times, May 3, 2018, accessed May 13, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/fashion/heavenly-bodies-met-gala-vatican.html.
- Jim Fair, “Cardinal Dolan on the ‘Catholic Imagination,’” May 8, 2018, accessed May 13, 2018, https://zenit.org/articles/cardinal-dolan-on-the-catholic-imagination/.
- [USE CAUTION in accessing this article’s footnotes] Cf. “Met Gala 2017 Dresses,” Vogue, accessed May 13, 2018, http://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/met-gala-2017-dresses.
- “Lana del Rey,” Wikipedia, accessed May 13, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Del_Rey#Personal_life.
- Accessed May 13, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2018/05/07/fashion/red-carpet-pictures-met-gala/s/red-carpet-met-gala-3474-lana-del-rey-and-jared-leto.html.
- Claire Giangravè, “Sistine Chapel Choir Hushes then Wows a Raucous Met Gala Crowd, Crux, May 9, 2018, accessed May 13, 2018, https://cruxnow.com/vatican-at-the-met/2018/05/09/sistine-chapel-choir-hushes-then-wows-a-raucous-met-gala-crowd/.
- Audio https://soundcloud.com/siriusxm-news-issues/cardinal-dolan-talks-about-the-met-gala-2018.
- Joseph Sciambra, “Cardinal Dolan and Rihanna: ‘She’s Volunteered To Do Some Confirmations,” accessed May 13, 2018, http://josephsciambra.com/cardinal-dolan-and-rihanna-shes-volunteered-to-do-some-confirmations/.
- Thomas D. Williams, “Cardinal Dolan Says Nothing ‘Sacrilegious’ at Met Gala, ‘All Very Respectful,” Breitbart, May 9, 2018, accessed May 13, 2018, http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2018/05/09/cardinal-dolan-says-nothing-sacrilegious-met-gala-respectful/.
- Cf. Emily Smith, Raquel Laneri and Kate Sheehy, “Catholic-Themed Met Gala Includes Bondage Mask With Crosses,” PageSix.com, accessed May 13, 2018, https://pagesix.com/2018/05/07/catholic-themed-met-gala-includes-bondage-mask-with-crosses/.
- Homo Apostolicus, Tractatus IX, De Sexto Praecepto Decalogi.