Catholicism on the Catwalk: Reflections of a Fledgling Fashionista
The Scriptures caution Christians against (1 Tim. 2:9-10) “fancy hair styles, gold ornaments, pearls, and costly clothing,” and advise them instead to dress in “good deeds.” Even today, people detect a radical distinction between two kinds of “goodness”: physical beauty and moral virtue. But are the two mutually exclusive? Can the goodness desirable to the senses align with an interior reality as well? Inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Exhibition, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” a pastor muses on the creations of fashion designers (all of whom were “raised” Catholic) who clothe and adorn the human body. Is there a connection between faith and beauty, form and function, soul and body, sacred and secular, sign and signified? Does the idea of clothing—or perhaps the lack of it—tell us anything about the human condition Christ came to save? N.B.: the presenter’s expertise in fashion is the direct result of knowing nothing about the subject.
Timothy Shea Valentine was born in Amityville, Long Island, and ordained for the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1985. After a pastoral assignment, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1988, pursuing graduate degrees in music, biblical theology, and philosophy. He also remained involved in pastoral, sacramental, prison, and missionary ministry. In the year 2000, he joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Education at Fordham University, where he taught philosophy of education, pedagogy, and curriculum for several years. After the events of 9/11, Fr. Valentine eventually joined the Chaplain Corps of the United States Army, serving for eleven years, including two combat deployments to Iraq. Leaving the Army in 2014, he served at the University of Great Falls, MT. He returned to diocesan ministry in 2015, teaching philosophy, theology, and the arts at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami Florida. He is presently serving as pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Roslyn, NY, and teaches philosophy and theology at St. John’s University in Queens.
The lecture takes place at the Catholic Center at New York University (238 Thompson St., just south of Washington Square Park).
Reception: 6:00 PM
Lecture: 7:00 PM
Admission for Sustaining Members: FREE
Suggested donation for non-members: $10
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