UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Episcopal priest insists his nude photography is high art
Unconvinced by his argument, the Rev. John Blair's diocese has fired him.
- Tim Townsend
- United States
- September 18, 2012
In 1564, the council ordered that some naked figures in Michelangeloâ€™s massive â€śLast Judgmentâ€ť fresco in the Sistine Chapel be covered up as a result of the councilâ€™s dictate that â€śall lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust.â€ť
It will be difficult for critics to compare Michelangeloâ€™s nudes with the ones photographed by the Rev. John Blair. Just after the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri launched an investigation of the St. Louis priest, many of his photos of nude models were removed from the Internet.
And yet the dioceseâ€™s disciplinary board, whose members will decide if Blairâ€™s photography constitutes sexual misconduct, will try to answer the same question as Trentâ€™s participants 450 years ago: How does the church recognize the beauty of art that depicts Godâ€™s creation â€” the human form â€” without seeming to condone â€śa beauty exciting to lustâ€ť?
Blair worked as a spiritual care supervisor at Christian Hospital in St. Louis County. On Wednesday (Sept. 12), after hospital administrators saw the priestâ€™s photography, he lost his job.
Blair was not hiding his art. In fact, he could hardly have been more public about it. The 40-year-old priest declined to be interviewed, but he describes himself in several places online as an artist. Much of his photography is of adult female models in classic nude poses; his work has been shown in local galleries and art shows.
Before his page on an online photography website was taken down, Blair described some of his work as including â€śartistic nudes and fine art erotica.â€ť Some of the images involve male and female models in more explicit sexual poses.
â€śMy work is about identifying and affirming the beauty and mystique of the models with whom I work,â€ť Blair wrote on his photography page. Many of the models who have commented on the priestâ€™s page praise his â€śprofessionalismâ€ť and â€śrespect.â€ť
Full Story: Episcopal priest faces scrutiny over nude art photos
Source: Washington Post