This is the visual equivalent of the groovy fake-Celtic elevator music that Magic Circle bureaucrats very nearly succeeded in forcing on the Papal Masses. I swear, the Catholic Church in this country is incapable of designing anything that doesn’t feature Pentecostal flames that look as if they’ve been copied from a 30-year-old album cover. I’m sure the Holy Father will be too polite to wince visibly when he sees those banners – but, seriously, you don’t have to be infallible to work out that the Bishops of England and Wales (and Scotland, too, alas) have no aesthetic judgment whatsoever.[...]Read the whole (brief) post here; and here is the banner Thompson is discussing:
Pardon me while I finish chuckling about the "...incapable of designing anything that doesn’t feature Pentecostal flames that look as if they’ve been copied from a 30-year-old album cover..." line. Man, I wish I'd written that.
Seriously, is there anything even remotely Catholic about that banner? Sure, tongues of flame = Holy Spirit--but usually such images include, you know, people--the Apostles, perhaps, in a Pentecost scene. The flames by themselves could be the Holy Spirit, or they could be the fires of Hell, or a pagan fire-ritual, or a barbecue gone awry or a campfire run amok--or any such thing. There's nothing particularly holy or sacred about the image of stylized flames all by themselves, nothing to show what the artist intends the picture to represent.
Of course, there's also nothing with which to offend the irreligious or anti-religious, and maybe in a post-Christian secularist mediocre nation-state like the United Kingdom (or like America, since we're not much better) that's really the whole point.
Meaningless banners can only offend the faithful, after all--and the faithful, weary after forty years of meaningless banners and ugly churches and pathetic music and unfortunate art, don't really have the energy left to fight over hideous papal banners to be displayed during a visit that has already been spoiled by all the fighting and controversy and general rottenness that's already been displayed, and will only get worse before things are over.
UPDATE: In the comment box, Deirdre Mundy points out that more than ugly fire can be seen in this image. Um, ewww.....