Bolivian President Evo Morales presents a gift to Pope Francis at the government palace in La Paz, Bolivia, July 8. The gift was a wooden hammer and sickle ­— the symbol of communism — with a figure of a crucified Christ. CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano

A blasphemous gift

By 
  • July 16, 2015

KRAKOW, POLAND - Was the “crucifix” given to Pope Francis by Bolivian President Evo Morales — a corpus hanging on the hammer-and-sickle — blasphemous?

Perhaps not, but likely so.

If you were to go to the Czech community’s Masaryk Park in Toronto and look at the Crucified Again sculpture, which features a man crucified upon the hammer-and-sickle, not only is it not blasphemous, but it is a profound theological and social commentary. Jesus suffered under the evil empire of Soviet communism in His disciples who were brutalized.

I could imagine Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz — famous for his Homeless Jesus — extending his Matthew 25 series of sculptures to show Jesus as one of the many prisoners beaten, tortured and killed in the communist gulag. He might hang Jesus on the hammer-and-sickle to that effect. I have his sculpture When I was in Prison in my rectory and it certainly isn’t blasphemous.

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