There’s a definite dichotomy between the vision of Mary as a demure, peaceful virgin mother and a single, frightened unwed mother.
This past Christmas season, one church’s depiction of an obviously stunned Mary holding a positive pregnancy test led to a rather … well, decidedly un-Christian response from a more traditional
A liberal Anglican church in New Zealand has denounced as “Christian intolerance” the defacing of a large billboard it erected outside its premises to mark the Christmas season. The billboard shows an apparently shocked Virgin Mary examining a home pregnancy test kit.
A Catholic activist damaged the billboard on Sunday, during a prayer protest by around 100 Catholics outside the St. Matthews-in-the-City Church, located on a busy intersection in downtown Auckland.
The man responsible for ripping the image, Arthur Skinner of the Catholic Action Group, said the church was welcome to have him arrested, and warned that if the provocative image was replaced he would damage it again.
“Even people who aren’t Catholics know instinctively you don’t attack the Blessed Virgin who gave us the savior of the world,” Skinner told New Zealand television. “To see this at this time is an absolute abomination.”
The pseudo-Renaissance style picture of Mary carried no tagline and the church leaders, vicar Glynn Cardy and associate priest Clay Nelson, invited people to offer their own thoughts.
“This billboard portrays Mary, Jesus’ mother, looking at a home pregnancy test kit revealing that she is pregnant,” they wrote when the billboard went up. “Regardless of any premonition, that discovery would have been shocking. Mary was unmarried, young, and poor. This pregnancy would shape her future. She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last.
“As in the past it is our intention to avoid the sentimental, trite and expected, to spark thought and conversation in the community. This year we hope to do so with an image and no words. We invite you to wonder what your caption might be.”
Unsurprisingly, as caption ideas were …