Maike Hickson

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Bishop condemns Austrian ‘Jesus clock’: ‘It doesn’t pass the pub test’

Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

SYDNEY, March 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Richard James Umbers, an auxiliary bishop of Sydney, Australia, has taken to Twitter to comment on the news that an Austrian diocese is currently hosting an art exhibition that includes a wooden Jesus mutilated and turned into a clock, with His arms cut off and used as the clock’s hands.

“In Australia,” Umber comments, “we would say it doesn’t pass the pub test [the test of public opinion at a tavern].” He criticizes the profanation of the sacred when he adds: “The sacred should not be utilised in a profane way and the corpus should most certainly not be upside down (St. Peter is presented in that fashion).”

The art exhibition is taking place in Innsbruck, in the Spitalkirche, with the permission of the local bishop, Hermann Glettler. The wooden body of Jesus had been salvaged and then turned into a clock, with Jesus hanging upside-down.

This art exhibit has caused much indignation among Catholics. Observers call it “blasphemous” and say it shows a “lack of respect for Our Lord.” Others call it “sacrilegious” and wonder why a bishop would allow such an art exhibition in his own buildings.

As to Bishop Glettler, he made headlines in the summer of 2018, when he allowed a feminist artist to place a slogan on the Innsbruck Cathedral that stated: “As long as God has a beard, I am a feminist.”

This time, Glettler has permitted — in the frame of this new art exhibition, being held in three different churches in Innsbruck — the use of a light installation, a sign reading ME (and WE in reflection, meant to highlight the “tension” between the view of self and “solidarity with the community”), hanging down from the ceiling in front of the altar of his own Innsbruck Cathedral, where people pray and receive Holy Communion. This “art” stems from Manfred Erjautz, the same artist who created the Jesus clock, which he calls “Your personal Jesus.” Bishop Glettler commented on this Jesus clock with the words: “The Cross is neither an arbitrary decoration nor a symbol of power. It must be reviewed and studied in depth. Manfred Erjautz with his Jesus clock in the church not only causes new reflections on the Cross, but confronts us with serious questions about the essence of life.”

The art exhibition started on Ash Wednesday and it is supposedly meant to be a “Lenten art exhibition.”

Bishop Glettler, who was made bishop by Pope Francis in 2017, also made a stir earlier this year when he announced that there will be a set of pastoral seminars offered to divorced and “remarried” couples, at the end of which there will be offered an official Church blessing for their new — but illicit — relationships.

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Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.