Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Blasphemous Pictures On Doors Of Our Lady Of Lourdes In Bethesda - With An Important Correction

This past Saturday I attended Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda and saw this picture on several of the entrances.

It is not my purpose in this post to discuss the inherent merits or demerits of masks (for another post).  In fact, I will uphold the private property rights of owners and/or custodians to determine what attire must be worn to gain admittance to the premises.  Indeed, it would be a delightful thing if pastors insisted upon a modicum of decency in attire - for both men and women - as people approach Our Lord.

The issue is this.  Jesus, as a Person, is Divine.  He always has been.  He has two natures, but is Divine.  It is blasphemy to depict Him as one who can get sick and/or spread disease, and that is precisely what this picture is doing.  It is not cute, it is not humorous, it is not harmless.  Fifty years ago, no sane person would dare have been so flippant with His image.  The same thing holds with pictures of Our Lady.  We are seeing her similarly mocked.  Recall that she was conceived without original sin and its effects.  Pictures of her masked fly in the face of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

I do not mean to impugn the motives of the parish staff.  I've been told they simply wanted to introduce "lightness" in the face of the pandemic situation.  Be the motives ever so benign, they don't mitigate the damage done by the blasphemy.  What heresy does this communicate to children and to those poorly catechized?

From what I'm hearing, Lourdes is not the only parish so blighted.  These pictures, and pictures of a masked Blessed Mother, are being found in several parishes.  Truth be told, I don't see that much difference between these masked pictures and some of the vandalism that is running rampant.  The motives might be different, but the outcomes are still the same.- defaced and mutilated images of Our Lord and Our Lady.

CORRECTION - There is at least one other crucial difference between the vandalism and this blasphemy.  Many of the vandals profess no religion at all.  I think we can safely assume that none of them are ordained priests.  The blasphemy at Lourdes is being committed by an ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church.  As such, he is an "alter Christus".  More's the disgrace - and possibly sacrilege against the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Here is contact information for Our Lady of Lourdes.  Please email Father Walsh, being both respectful and direct.  Tell him that there are other ways to properly communicate the masking policies of the parish without joining Antifa and Black Lives Matter in disrespecting Our Lord.


  1. I have today sent the following email to the pastor and parochial vicar of Our Lady of Lourdes parish:
    Frs. Walsh and Morrison:

    I am forwarding this blog posting in the event that you may not have seen it: https://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.com/2020/08/blasphemous-pictures-on-doors-of-our.html

    The author's criticism of the picture or poster strikes me as well-founded. The image used is that of Christ the Good Shepherd but with the singular feature that Our Lord is depicted with a facemask. The obvious implication is that He Who is Eternal and Omnipotent God, Creator of All Things Visible and Invisible, Conqueror of Sin and Death, and The Life has either been overcome by infection with the COVID virus or is susceptible to such infection. This self-evident blasphemy is in turn compounded by the inscription "Thou Shalt Not Enter Without A Mask" which, by adopting the language, style, and tone of the Decalogue commanded by God on Mount Sinai to a public health order of Montgomery County, thereby implies either that Christ is inferior to and subservient to Caesar or that the Montgomery County Executive speaks with divine authority.

    I would request that these pictures or posters be removed immediately and that a service of public reparation be undertaken by the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes to atone for this blasphemy.

    Yours respectfully,


    1. Thank you. Please notify us of his reply. I too had emailed him. He did reply, but it was very dismissive of the blasphemy. He placed "humor" above the reverence due to the Second Person of the Trinity.

    2. I received a mocking reply from Fr. Walsh that he and Fr. Morrison would pray for me which he closed with the opaque phrase "In Him", whoever that might be.

    3. From: Robert Walsh
      Date: Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 4:39 PM
      Subject: Re: Restore-DC-Catholicism: Blasphemous Pictures On Doors Of Our Lady Of Lourdes In Bethesda
      To: LOTR

      Thank you for your email. Fr. James and I will be praying for you!

      In Him,

      Fr. Rob

      Fr. Rob Walsh
      Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes
      7500 Pearl Street
      Bethesda, MD 20814

  2. Refuse to wear the mask.
    I question the validity of a Mass where a mask is required.
    Is the intent to serve God or the mandates of Government?

    1. As I said in the beginning of the post, the purpose of the post is not to debate the merits of the masks. I respect the rights of property owners and custodians to dictate the policies observed on their premises, just as I would expect respect of my rights to determine what happens in my home.

      The main purpose is to raise awareness of blasphemy at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda and to ask faithful Catholics to speak to the pastor regarding the blasphemy.

  3. Seems I've run foul of your criteria for comments. Don't know how...Starting not to care now...or maybe you just didn't receive it??

  4. Am si grateful to find this post. I am a parishioner and sent two letters to Fr. Walsh very respectful. Said i understood the role of humor in ministry but not at the expense of Our Lord's Holy Face and even offered to design a new flyer with a cute design of their choice and place it so no staff would be inconvenienced. Each was about a page long. His reply was utterly dissmissive and told me to have a sense of humor. Am planning to write to the Bishop. This would never have happened under Msgr. Filardi

    1. Are you a parishioner there? If so, please send me your email in a comment box; obviously I won't publish that.

    2. My bad for not registering your entire comment. At any rate, I'd still like to discuss the possibility of organizing OLOL parishioners to take some action here. Thanks for your consideration.

  5. Just in case it is of interest here is my letter to Fr. Rob Walsh on Aug 24:

    Dear Father Rob,

    Thank you for your invitation to us to contact you with our thoughts and concerns. While away from a computer, I hand-wrote a letter a couple of weeks ago and realized later I had neglected to provide contact information.

    So, am writing again to ask if you will kindly take down the images that have been placed around the Church with Jesus Christ wearing a face mask. As a convert to Catholicism, I would hope never in my life to see an image of Our Lord that is designed to evoke any feeling other than adoration. It was deeply shocking to see this image on my way into Adoration, the week after our beloved Msgr. Filardi departed.

    I understand humor has its role in ministry, and if you would like to substitute some kind of stick figure I would be happy even to design, print and place them so that none of the parish staff is inconvenienced by this request.

    Aside from the fact that Our Lord's Holy Face is being used as a joke, the image also of course implies that this world-wide wearing of masks is something approved by Our Lord. Some Christians, myself included, have grave concerns over the origin of this virus and the response by governments and churches, especially the simultaneous closing of all houses of worship all over the planet, and for the first time in the history of Christendom, a world-wide forbiddance of the faithful to Communciate all during the Lent and Easter seasons--while liquor stores remained open. So, to see that His Supreme authority is being invoked to support the mandates of "Caesar" is especially discomfiting.

    Would really appreciate your deep consideration of this request and look forward to your reply.

    I also hope that your time at Lourdes has been happy and rewarding for you so far, and that it will continue to be more so with each passing year.

    Sincerely, etc.

    Unfortunately I deleted his reply but it was literally just one sentence along the lines of 'I hope you can appreciate the role of humor', which in fact I had acknowledged in both letters.


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