Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.

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Posted: June 11 2009 at 1:59pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Two years ago my husband went to an earlier Mass for the feast of the Sacred Heart and the priest mentioned that a stand-alone image of the Sacred Heart (without Jesus) that was extremely popular has been condemned by the Vatican. The reason he gave was that the heart is never separated from the person.

I had never heard of that, and made me wonder is that still the case? Was it the Vatican or just a recommendation? Is it still in effect?

Well, I went on a rabbit trail and found out some information, but not totally conclusive. I thought I'd throw this up here and see if anyone else knows anything about it. One of my favorite liturgical year books (OOP), particularly because of the symbols illustrations is With Christ Through the Year: The Liturgical Year in Word and Symbols by Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B., Illustrated by Sister M.A. Justina Knapp, O.S.B., 1947 Bruce Publishing Company.

I did a search on the illustrator's name and ordered this book: Sister M.A. Justina Knapp, Christian Symbols and How To Use Them, . The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee: 1935. This link is to a republished version.

This book is also fabulous!!! And next to the figure of the Sacred Heart was this explanation:
After the death of Christ "one of the soldiers with a spear opened His side and immediately there came out blood and water" (John xix. 34). Again Christ is called the Rock in the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthian (x. 4). These references gave rise to the symbols used freely to illustrate the invitation to "draw waters with joy out of the Saviour's fountains" (Isa. xii. 3).

The Sacred Congregation of Rites has placed some restrictions on the use of the picture of the Sacred Heart. This was done to prevent a too material or offensive representation of the Heart of Christ. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is essentially spiritual in character and intention; but as it was introduced at a period when ecclesiastical taste had suffered from the materialistic spirit of the age this symbol of Christ's love was often delineated anatomically with almost revolting fidelity.

The following are the restrictions:

1. Without the figure of Christ the heart may not be represented on the altar, unless the bishop of the diocese gives special permission. (S.S. Rit. 12 Sept., 1857 ad XX, 4, N. 3059).

2. The use of the heart without the Figure is permitted on the walls of a church, in windows, and for private devotion. (S.C. Rit. 5 Apr., 1879, N. 3492. S. C. Inqui. 26 Aug., 1891).

In this picture the rays of light streaming from the Sacred Heart are in the form of a cross. They indicate the love of the Sacred Heart for all mankind. The thorns signify the pain and suffering He bore to expiate the sins of man. The open wound is a symbol of the haven of rest and safety for the repentant sinner.

Since it says "The use of the heart without the Figure is permitted on the walls of a church, in windows, and for private devotion" that means we're safe for our displays at home, but I did think this was very interesting.

Jennifer G. Miller
Wife to & ds1 '03 & ds2 '07
Family in Feast and Feria
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Posted: June 11 2009 at 2:41pm | IP Logged Quote jackiemomof7

What about the Sacred Heart on vestments alone?? I know I have seen this and on Traditional vestments. I would think that #1 above means this is not allowed???

Thanks Jenn

Jackie wife to Jim for 27!! years, proud army mom of Chris(25),Chef Matthew(24) and Sister Grace of Benedectines (21),Joshua(19),Nicholas(17),Jaymee(15), Elizabeth(13) and 2 in Heaven.Grandma to 3!
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