Banksy is at it again, this time making a statement about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Entitled Cardinal Sin (see it here), the new work features a bust of a cardinal with his face sawed off. In it’s place are bathroom tiles, creating a pixilated effect. When I first saw the picture, I thought it had been purposefully obscured by BBC in order to hide what Banksy actually did to the bust. The effect is that the cardinal seems to be hiding behind a pixilated effect similar to the way criminals hide their faces on TV interviews.
In a statement, Banksy said, “I’m never sure who deserves to be put on a pedestal or crushed under one.” He also said, “The statue? I guess you could say it is a Christmas present. At this time of year it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity – the lies, the corruption, the abuse.”
As a Christian…
I love Banksy and his work. I have some choices to make regarding his contention that the true meaning of Christianity is “the lies, the corruption, the abuse.” I can conclude that he’s talking about a man-made system, led by broken – in the case of the Roman Catholic Church – men, who have been corrupted by power and wealth (Yes, the Roman Catholic Church is quite wealthy). It gets me off the hook, as a Mennonite, so it’s tempting. However, it doesn’t allow me to experience the full weight and horror of the critique.
As you think about the true meaning of Christianity, measure what Christians do today against the life and teaching of Jesus. The distance between the two will be filled with lies, corruption and abuse. It isn’t just “them” it may very well be “Us”, too.