Some years ago, my newspaper  carried a brief article noting that a respected Catholic magazine had selected a winner in its international art competition. The magazine had sponsored the contest in order to come up with a new image of Christ – one that would be suitable for the next millennium.
In a syndicated article carried in the Houston Chronicle, reporter David Crary informed us the winning painting had been selected from over 1700 entries. It was to be used for the cover of a special millennium issue of the National Catholic Reporter. 
The winning rendering of Jesus is a bit different from what one might expect. We know that the Jesus of Scripture was a Jew, born of the supernatural union of Mary of Nazareth and the Holy Spirit. Admittedly, Jews in these days of the Dispersion come in many shapes, forms and shadings. No one, of course, really knows what Jesus of Scripture looked like; whether He was tall, short, fair or dark. However, it seems likely His features were generally Semitic. Not so the Jesus of the Third Millennium, at least as far as the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is concerned.
The winning image of the Y2K Catholic Jesus is a black man. Well, actually, the model who posed for the painting was a woman. So, does that mean that at least some of the folks at NCR were hoping to bring out the "feminine side" of the Catholic Jesus? Were they expressing support for the feminist movement within the RCC? Was this a symbolic acknowledgement of the gay/lesbian/transgender/transsexual crowd within the RCC? Who knows?
Maybe it was just really bad artistic taste.
I think it interesting that a Catholic news magazine selected a rendering of the Catholic Jesus that was painted by Janet McKenzie, an artist who "describes herself as a 'devout agnostic' with an interest in many faiths." 
McKenzie described her painting in these words:
"My goal was to be as inclusive as possible. At first glance, he is a black or African-American Jesus, but looking more deeply you see many people in it." 
And so the Catholic world, at least that part of it served by the National Catholic Reporter, has a new face of Jesus to work into wall hangings, pillow cases, T-shirts and candle holders. This Jesus has very dark skin, wears his hair in dreadlocks, has everted lips and a spatulate nose. His robes look more central African than Palestinian and he has surrounded himself with some strange symbols.
"The painting shows a robed and haloed Jesus. Against a pale pink background are a yin-yang symbol, intended to represent perfect balance, and a feather, symbolizing the American Indian spirituality that McKenzie learned about during a stay in New Mexico." 
Well that certainly should help the one-world-religion movement score a few points with their non-European targets.
One of the judges, who runs an art gallery, commented, "It's not real masculine. It's not real feminine. It's not really androgynous, either." 
If this is what the Jesus looks like to some Catholics, then we at last have visual evidence that their Jesus is NOT the Jewish Jesus Who was born of the young Mary of Nazareth.
|(C) Associated Press, 1999|
Once again we are provided irrefutable proof that the Roman juggernaut or her agents are willing to go to almost any extreme -- except conform their doctrine and practice to Scripture -- in order to lure the lost and wandering into her web. God be merciful to those who look to the Roman whore for their salvation. May He shine the Light of His countenance upon them and call them to His breast.
1. Anonymous, "A New Face For Jesus.' San Antonio Express-News, December 14, 1999, p. 2A
2. David Carry, "Painting Depicts A Modern Jesus," © Associated Press (1999), appearing in the Houston Chronicle, Dec. 13, 1999
6. Sherry Lynn Best, quoted by David Carry, "Painting Depicts A Modern Jesus," © Associated Press (1999), appearing in the Houston Chronicle, Dec. 13, 1999,