This is Not Our Lady

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This is Not Our Lady

Seeing a picture of the statue of “Our Lady of the Angels,” at the new Cathedral in Los Angeles, our readers were asked whether or not the figure represented Our Lady. Of the hundreds of responses which came in, only a handful believed that what they saw represented the Mother of God.

The rest struggled to interpret what they saw. Many said the image appeared androgynous, others said it looked like an android or someone who would make a good character for the next Star Trek movie. Another wrote that the image would fit well as an advertisement for a unisex hair styling shop while Samuel D’s first impression was that of, “a 1930’s Stalin Communist propaganda poster.”

Needless to say, the vast majority of our readers adamantly expressed their opinion that the image of “Our Lady of the Angels,” not only does not reflect their concept of Our Lady, but does not even reflect their concept of femininity or motherhood. They agree that it is a tragic expression of our times. Please take a few moments to read through the excerpts below, which we have chosen from these responses.


Outrageous. It is a clear example of the New Age thought that is trying to do away with our precious Faith and has infiltrated even the True Church of Christ.Miguel B.

Oh. Heavens.
Ummmm… shouldn’t she at least have HAIR?!
And that OUTFIT! What’s with her NECKLINE?
“I begin to feel that I am shut up in a madhouse.”
– JRR Tolkien
Teresa A.

This is not Mother Mary!
Mother Mary is modest in dress and loving in posture. Her face is gentle and kind. The lady in the picture has a hard looking face, the neck line is too low and the sleeves are big enough to put 5 arms through them. No this is not a statue of Our Lords Mother.
Anne H.

What a heart-wrenching thing to do to our Blessed Mother. How can they do that to her? I pray that an earthquake will destroy it and that monstrosity that they call the new cathedral.
Jeanine N.

I am 11 years old. My mom showed me the picture of the statue and asked me what it was. I said it looks like a Roman Warrior. Then my mom asked me if it was a boy or a girl. I said it’s a boy.
My mom said it was the Blessed Mother and I didn’t believe her. It doesn’t look anything like her. It’s a BOY!
Patrick N.

Is this a female?? No way could our blessed Mother look so cold. No way could she be dressed as a character from Star Wars or ET!! I am shocked.
Zelda H.

In the year 2000 the National “Catholic” Reporter had a worldwide art competition. The winning entry was a painting entitled “Jesus of the People”. This statue of Mary reminds me of the painting, they are both androgynous and they are outrageous. Indeed, the Church is in a sad state of affairs.
Marko H.

This is definitely not Our Lady and it makes me sad to see her depicted in such a way.
Anne R.

I have already responded myself. So I asked two of my children, who they thought the statue represented. At first they had no idea. Then I asked if they thought it was a girl or a boy, they both said a boy. I asked if it looked like Our Lady at all, a resounding “no way” was their reply. Out of the mouths of babes.
Steven A.

This is not Our Lady. This is a Hollywood superstar!
Oscar A.

Ugly! Not in keeping with tradition. She never wore her hair short! The expression on her face can be read as one of boredom, certainly not loving or caring.Debra C.

She looks like a Gnostic priestess.
Augusto O.

The statue, in the pop-up, looks like a young boy in a dress…the diocese of Los Angeles is wrong for having exhibited this statue, especially in the scandalous era that we are living.
Nancy F.

The Blessed Virgin Mary?
Puleeze! We have many artistic renderings of the Blessed Mother down through the ages, and some from the descriptions of those visionaries to whom she has appeared, and she certainly didn’t look remotely like that. What an insult to the Blessed Mother! What an insult to those of us who love her. It’s worse than an insult, it’s a sacrilege.
Jacquelyn C.

I always try my best never to judge anyone. Yet after seeing the statue, all I could think of was the saying of Pope Paul VI “The smoke of Satan has entered the Church.”

“Men will surrender to the spirit of the age. They will say that if they had lived in our day, faith would be simple and easy. But in their day, they will say, things are complex; the Church must be brought up to date and made meaningful to the day’s problems. When the Church and the world are one, then those days are at hand” – St. Antony the Abbot – Fourth Century
I believe that when we start offending the most Holy Mother Of God, not out of our ignorance or weakness, but out of our pride and contempt, then the end is near. God may forgive us when we sin against Him, yet when it comes to His Most Beloved and Holy Mother, I can not imagine a Perfect Son Jesus will delay the protection and defending of His Mother’s dignity and honor.

I wonder what the didactic intent is. I always thought that the decoration of our church was designed to transmit knowledge. The better question is what are we supposed to learn about “Our Lady of the Angels” from this representation.
Matt L.

I am appalled and very disappointed with all of the misinformed people who compare this “man” to Our Lady………God Save Us!!
Raymond P.

Being a Catholic in the traditional sense, I don’t find the statue at all appealing. Our Lady is our heavenly mother to whom we go for encouragement and comfort. This statue of “Our Lady of the Angels” does not show the warmth or compassion of Mary.
Pat D.

This is a neo-feminist “sans gender.”
Gloria K.

Someone suggested to us the idea that it might be “unisex” Mary…and this might not be too far off…something that the homosexual faction might promote or welcome. Otherwise no one might even imagine this to be the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of God.
Patti M.

The statue doesn’t look like Jesus’ mom. It looks more like someone without gender striking an almost yoga type position. I think it would fit better in a Hollywood studio than in a church.
Grace B.

It seems to be a mixture of a farmhand and a Roman citizen in ancient Rome! It is 100% masculine. This is certainly an outrage to the beauty and modesty of Our Lord’s Mother. It CANNOT be Our Blessed Mother!
Mary S.

First of all, this looks like a young boy/man. There is nothing to indicate femininity in this statue. This would be a good representation of a “Greek idol” or an Egyptian servant. This artist made NO effort to capture Our Lady’s feminine purity or chastity, and has abandoned the reality of the pure beauty that is Our Lady! The idea that this would represent Our Lady is blasphemous and insulting to Catholics. This outrage MUST be reversed. The perpetrators cannot be allowed to offend Our Lord and defile Our Lady’s image. Please organize faithful Catholics so we can come to Her defense and so we can make reparation for this terrible statue.
Mark S.

This image is definitely not Our Lady. This statue looks androgynous, a further attempt to blur the distinctions between men and women.
Francis S.

“Our Person of Equality” – Having no distinctive sexual or religious features, “she” is whatever the irreverent eye beholds. In short, to quote one Catholic author, it is “ugly as sin.”
Michael M.

The ideal androgynous persona of the 21st Century.
Marc R.

I am suppressing, with great effort, my initial reactions to this so called depiction of Our Lady of the Angels in this so called Cathedral in L.A. It is a sad reflection of how depraved our society has become. A Roman Catholic cathedral, where the main attraction is not the Blessed Sacrament…it is the almighty dollar. Unfortunately, it is also a reflection of the office of the Bishop in that Diocese who would consent to build any Church that does not adhere to the Sacred Traditions of the Catholic Church. Trouble is that this type of ” Cathedral ” fits in with the Hollywood worldly mentality. Needless to say, we must pray for those who believe that God and His Kingdom must change to fit in with today’s society.
David W.

It is someone’s vision of Our Lady of the Angels, but it is not my vision of the Blessed Mother. We’ll all just have to wait until we get to heaven to see who is right!
Connie L.

The Statue looks like a young boy…perhaps begging for food! It
certainly does not look like the Blessed Virgin! Hard to believe it was not possible to choose a more delicate statue showing the beautiful face of the Blessed Virgin.
Barbara Z.

No disrespect intended, but she looks like a Stalinist farm worker.
Linda C.

I think the statue looks more like a man than a woman. For me, it is not inspiring at all. The Virgin Mary is true woman, the highest of the human race. She should be depicted as someone of great beauty and femininity. I will take the Pieta by Michelangelo as superior in perception of her true character and grace than this androgynous woman depicted here.
Mary W.

I would have taken this for a young man. This is the first time I see a depiction of Mother Mary with bare arms! And the outfit? No comment; I don’t want to add to my list of sins to my Confession list this weekend! Thank God for our rich treasury of Sacred Art!
Judith S.

It is an outrage to me so I can’t imagine the offensiveness of this statue to Our Beautiful Mother…is this a catholic cathedral and which clergy authorized this statue?
Tricia M.

It appears to be the modernist view of what the radical feminists would want. Can’t really distinguish male/female characteristics. Whatever it is , it is NOT OUR LADY!
Ralph G.

It is certainly not a statue I would venerate. No, in my humble opinion this is not a statue of ‘Our Lady’! Our Lady is so humble She would never expose Her bare arms and throat, or be bare headed. Jewish Maidens consecrated to God did not do this. Sorry, but this is a modernistic piece of garbage.
Tom B.

I am sickened by this statue of Our Lady. Where ever has anyone seen any type of depiction of her without a veil? I feel like climbing up there and placing a veil on her dear sweet head. How insane is Cardinal Mahoney to have such little regard for her and such disrespect? I have to go by the “cathedral” every day, and shudder every time I look up and see that statue. In my opinion, that is not Our Lady at all.
Mary N.

This is awful and an embarrassment if it is supposed to depict our Blessed Mother! If so who could approve such a figure, and what is their objective and agenda? I had heard about the statute but had not seen a picture until now. As a ‘militant’ Catholic convert, I am appalled by and ashamed of this monstrosity called a Catholic Cathedral. I hope it is not true that symbols/representations of other (false) religions are depicted on the big brass doors. The “Modernists” must have played a large role in the planning, design and construction of this building. I have to look at it whenever I am in downtown LA, but I have no interest in stepping inside except as a curiosity seeker.
Duncan M.

This statue undoubtedly looks more like a sensuous Latin athlete than Our Lady. Instead of inspiring you affable or pious thoughts, it pushes you further away from the woman – prototype to whom we should get closer and closer with the help of the visible things through religious art. Because of its exposed sensuality and because it is deprived of most of the traditional symbols proper to the saintly persons, this statue surreptitiously discourages a prayerful attitude and the cult of images, which in turn is a form of protestantization in course in our Holy Church. I would never pray my rosary before it, and the woman this statue wishes to represent (whomever she might be) most certainly deserves not the cult of hyperdulia due to the glorious Mother of God.
Laureano P.

I’ve viewed it and, as far as I’m concerned, this statue is as much a representation of Our Lady as the Basilica is a representation of a Catholic church. I can’t speak for Our Lady but I don’t see how she can be very happy with it because it totally detracts from what I personally believe is Our Lady. This could be a rock star, a store mannequin or anyone, but it isn’t Our Lady to me. I’m so very tired of our bishops trying to be so inventive that they’ve not only destroyed our liturgy, etc, but now they’re out to destroy our buildings and our images of Our Lady.
Dale W.

The statue looks like it was made by someone who does not know Scripture. We are supposed to conform our lives to be God’s image, but man always tries conform God to his image, or, in this case, conforming the image of God’s mother to the genderless image of man today.
Bill S.

The sculpture reminds me of an androgynous Swedish tennis player rather than the meek Jewish girl chosen to be Mother of God. It is an artistic attack on the faithful to have Our Lady depicted androgynously, and for the Diocese to approve that statue rather than a traditional Catholic one (i.e. one that evokes the sacral and supernatural) is deeply disturbing. May Our Lady save us from those who claim to honor her.
Jacques C.

This statue is not Our Lady. It does not represent in any manner Our Lady’s dignity, attire, demeanor or virtues as known to Catholics, but given the recent sacrilegious representations of Our Lady in the world, it would not surprise me (but still anger me) that someone finds this an appropriate representation of Our Lady. But it is not!
Michael M.

It seems to me to be typical of the deformed sense of maternity and femininity that pervades our society today. The statue in no way reflects motherhood nor the tenderness with which the Mother of God certainly had to a great degree. Majesty is also absent. If this were the statue of a coal miner from Pennsylvania one might understand it but it has nothing to do with the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Byron W.

This is blasphemy. The bishop should be defrocked and this image destroyed.
George R.

That does not resemble any description of the Blessed Mother I have ever read. Looks more like a lesbian activist.
Joe B.

I don’t feel that this is all that offensive. It’s not my picture of the Blessed Mother, but it’s some artist’s view. The picture was in St. Anthony Messenger this month. It’s a depiction of the Blessed Mother as Our Lady of the Angels. It’s OK.
Deborah S.

It seems the homosexual agenda has permeated the artistic depictions of our saints and the Virgin Mary. It is heretical to assume she was immodest in appearance. The depiction, furthermore, the appearance of the Virgin Mary should be so as to be a reflection of her inward nature and beauty. The statue of the Blessed Mother does not fulfill it!

It doesn’t spur me to think Virgin Mother and all the other adjectives that have always described her…but it might for some. Hard to tell.
Karen M.

Normally, I consider myself a traditionalist when it comes to religious art. However, when I first glimpsed this statue…my first impression was STRENGTH. Our Lady was beautiful indeed, and I’m sure didn’t wear her hair short because of cultural dictates. I am sure though one of her greatest attributes was strength and perhaps that was what the artist was trying to convey, although maybe he or she could have portrayed it more elegantly.
Wendy C.

To make Mary more palatable to our modern sensibilities (and less threatening to our sore consciences) she has been rendered, in this statue, less than spotless, less than holy, less than sublime, and no longer-set-apart. She has been made truly a woman of the 21st century.
Catherine V.

It’s horrendous, if not demonic. No one could possibly think Our Lady looks like that. No one could be inspired by that, to pray to Our Lady. It must have been a homosexual who designed it, as it portrays neither man nor woman. What kind of Catholic would tolerate it, let alone enter the (Church?)
Doris D.

I am not offended by it. It may speak to someone else of the solitary moment each of us must have with the Father when we surrender our wills or perhaps a difficult problem to Him. But honestly, the representation of Our Lady of Fatima is too European for my taste.
Christine A.

Face appears sweet and serene. Since there is no photograph or sketch of Our Lady, this is someone’s expression.

“She” looks like a he. Also, her sleeves make it look like she is about to fly away. Otherwise I think it’s ok.
Lynne H.

You showed a picture of a young man wearing a weird shirt. Where is the picture of Our Lady? I assume this is the statue that is in the cathedral. Is it really there? And do they regard it as a representation of Our Lady? What an abomination! The face and hair say it is a man. The narrow hips say it is a man. The plunging neckline says it is certainly not the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Bob S.

I believe this statue is a beautiful representation of Our Lady. Although the image might not look like YOU think Our Lady looks like, the artist should be honored to have had the opportunity to depict his/her vision of Our Lady. May this statue provide a means to inspire all who view her.
Daniel N.

These hard chiseled features with the eyes closed seem to suggest some form of eastern meditation, an inward turning towards self, which by all scriptural references and tradition in no way reflects the humility and outward seeking nature of Mary in serving others, particularly her son. This statue is more a Goddess for the future than the Queen of Heaven who calls us to follow her son here and now.
Blaine S.

Mary was the epitome of perfect womanhood as deigned by Our Creator. This is some artist’s rendition of appealing to the modern woman. The modern woman should be half the woman that Mary was and this world would be in much better shape.
Bernard L.

The statue is harsh and uninviting. It lacks grace and the nurturing sense of Our Lady. We seem to have lost the need to be real and somehow must portray our heroes in the context of Hollywood tripe.
Kay R.

If this image of Mary helps someone come to know and love her son…all praise be to God!
Ryan V.

Calling that statue “Our Lady of the Angles” is absurd. You cannot even identify it as Our Lady.
Catherine Z.

Definitely Not! There is no purity or inspiration in this statue. Our Blessed Mother should NEVER be portrayed thus.
Thérése M.

When our hearts and minds fail to see and honor God, our statues will reflect our idols of dead egoism. A secular statue, without halo, without veil, without the pierced Immaculate Heart, without crushing the head of Satan is best suited for a modern cry of self-worship -not worthy of helping us to lift our eyes to Heaven. So much “innovation”, yet no solid renewal. May our Heavenly Mother, Blessed Virgin Mary guide us to repent of our sins, with the Way of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that we can be faithful to Him to the end of our lives. May You quickly crush the head of the ancient snake as God appointed You, Holy Mother Mary. (Gen. 3: 15, Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible) Amen.
Fr. Thai T.

If this is the way that Archbishop Mahoney displays the Mother of God, it is no wonder that our Church is in such a crisis! What a lack of reverence and respect! This is an outrage!
Walter S.

Definitely not Our Lady. Looks more like a “modern day-can’t make up their mind whether they’re a male or a female,” any thing and everything is acceptable, being. Definitely not Our Lady.
Christopher U.

I definitely do not like this sculpture. In my opinion it portrays an effigy of a ” hard-working communist heroine” whom comrade Stalin forced to toil and labor as a factory slave.
Andrzej Z.

I was never a fan of modern “art,” and this statue only confirms all of the things I dislike: it’s a big, ugly, cold composition that speaks volumes about the individual artist’s “personal expression” and next-to-nothing about the subject–which happens to be Our Lady. (Glad you told me!) The statue is blatantly insensitive to tradition, which seems to be the driving force behind the entire $200 million-dollar project. What a shame–we have more money, tools, man-power, etc., and what do we produce? “Grand” empty spaces and impotent “art.”
William C.

I dislike the portrayal of Our Lady very much. We have almost taken her out of our churches altogether and now we are trying to change the image we have had of her throughout the centuries.
Rose M.

Any Jewish girl would have had long hair that was covered. Other than that I like the representation. The figure is strong, open and serene.
Richard W.

Everyone’s interpretation of Our Lady is different. I didn’t think the statue was offensive at all.
Patty M.

I find the realism extremely comforting. As a new mother to two children, I find it difficult to relate to the pristine statues and pictures of Mother Mary. Surely she must have felt some of the same pressures of motherhood I feel. I finally see those pressures in this version of Mary–in her strong hands that have to cook and clean, in her strong arms that carry a child, in her practical dress that withstands a day’s work. Yet, more importantly, I see her surrendering her pressures to our Father. Regardless of outward appearance, the inner peace shining in this Mary has helped me today.
K. M.

This is an illustration of how art has destroyed the dignity of Catholicism in general and is a further disgrace of what is happening to our churches.
Frank M.

It looks like a degenderized version of a woman with the look of a modern day feminist in the clothing used by cultists in order to partly mock the garb of priests. The short cut hair indicates that which is prevalent among a majority of modern women now to keep from having to bother with it and to keep from emphasizing their femininity, and hold it as something to be disdained because of their conception that outward appearances of femininity conjure thoughts of weakness and vulnerability. Also the plunging neckline and the bare arms of the statue are indicative of a diminished sense of modesty that was not prevalent in Mary’s culture. This is a politically correct and poor portrayal of the true depiction of Mary our Mother The Queen of Angels that is not only a politically correct statement in nature, but historically incorrect as to how Jewish women truly dressed in the time of Jesus, thus incorrectly depicting how Mary would have really looked especially compared to approved apparitions such as Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. This is a poor representation for the city of Los Angeles’ Catholic community and I am surprised that there wasn’t enough outrage to reconsider the approval of the statue.
Don K.

Is it Our Lady? Is it even a lady? This politically correct, unfeminine and unmatronly portrayal of Our Lady completely blurs her role and image as mother and woman. She is not the image of feminine goodness but feminine blandness. If anything, I think those who should truly be insulted are women, for whom this portrayal shows no flattery or respect.
Kristopher M.

This is definitely not a statue of Our Lady! It looks like a guy. Whoever constructed it needs to take a closer look at a description of her. Then again, it could possibly be just the artist’s interpretation of her…but still, it does not resemble Our Lady in any way, and I never would’ve guessed that the statue was of her.
Val Q.

For most of my adult life (59 yrs.) I had in my mind an image of a beautiful robed woman with a gentle smile and reaching out to us with loving arms. This image does absolutely nothing in conjuring up that image of our Mother. What is the Catholic Church coming to? Is their any hope?
Richard S.

It appears to be a cold, hardened, and dispassionate statue of a young man-a total contrast to a warm, loving, embracing mother as Mary truly is.
Patricia B.

The statue gives me the impression of a very masculine person. The male facial features with the short hair slicked back on the sides, along with the muscular arm and hands does not in any way remind me of the beautiful Mother of our Lord. I think they should get a refund for this one, before Mother Mary lets her Son’s arm come down. God have Mercy!
David S.

My first impression? A short-haired, butch feminist who could have stepped out of the 1930’s Stalin Communist propaganda posters. What a shame and an affront not only to Our Lady, but to true femininity and modesty.
Samuel D.

When I look at the picture I simply can’t imagine Our Lady and see just and image of a woman with her arms stretched out. I know we ought to see with the eyes of faith, but we should ask if Jesus would want a statue in honor of his mother to appear in this fashion. When Our Lady stretches out her arms it is to give us graces, treasures from heaven, with great love for her children. A love that is so great that it consumes. You can’t conform Our Lady to today’s modernism. She is of God and is timeless. Because She is of God the statue should reflect her great modesty that God created her with, reflecting her purity.

Without any explanation, I showed the picture to my eleven year old son and asked what he thought about it. He said it reminded him of a Star Wars character standing in front of the sun. When I asked him if it was a boy or a girl, he answered emphatically, “That’s a boy.”
Jean H.


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