The current “Heavenly Bodies” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum is both an admirable and needed endeavor. It is a much needed reminder that the secular and the sacred not only co-exist but are of one garment. The museum’s website as an introduction to this exhibit states in part “...features a dialogue between fashion and the medieval art from the Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism.” The Vatican’s cooperation and loans to this exhibit should be seen as “heavenly” especially in a haunting venue as the Cloisters.
All to the good. My complaint (read: disgust), however, was with the so-called Met Gala and its attendant “costume party” that opened the exhibit and Cardinal Dolan’s participation in that event. This “costume party” betrayed the aforementioned goal of the Museum. It was vulgar. It was hedonistic. It was an insult to people who hold faith close to their hearts. To use a quaint term: It was sacrilegious. No doubt it was a wonderful evening for the secular elite and the low celebrity. So what was the cardinal doing there lending his prestige to this mockery of what we, as Catholics, hold so dear and near. I have no answer.