Welcome to the Tasmanian Catholic Justice and Peace Commission

Art points to the Church’s perennial teaching on justice and peace.

african womenGraphic artist Louis Barcelona created the eye-catching icon for last year’s press kit for The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO).
Louis Barcelona is Project Support Officer with ACMRO.

Given the impact of associations in art, ordinary folk may have interpreted the image “Mother of All” in different ways. In a recent email conversation, Barcelona provided some background to the picture [seen here].

To begin with many would have thought that the image was a Madonna and Christ-Child. When asked about this, however, Barcelona responded that indeed it wasn’t a Madonna and Child. It is in fact an image representing the Church. He explained: “We wanted to visually elaborate … the Church without frontiers, Mother to all” (April, 2016).

Likewise, the rainbow’s association with gender ideology is relatively new but possibly dominant association these days. The image is overlaid by a spectrum of colours. Barcelona wrote: “We wanted the final image to represent everyone [migrants and refugees] regardless of their ethnicity, skin colour …” (April 2016). So the spectrum of colours used on the image “Mother to all” points to the origins of refugees and migrants and was not meant to be linked with gender ideology.

Past Associations
Few people would know that Pius XII made prior use of the rainbow. In fact he used it to describe the Blessed Virgin Mary. He wrote: “Is she not a rainbow in the clouds reaching towards God, the pledge of a covenant of peace?” (1954).

Both icons, Mother of All and the Pius XII’s image of the Blessed Virgin as a rainbow demonstrate how visual and literary images art can be used to deliver the Church’s message about peace and justice. This brief analysis also shows how such messages can be re-shaped though cultural associations.

While associations and ideologies are constantly in flux, the Church’s teaching remains solid on the way forward for those truly seeking peace and the good of all.

Pius XII claimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary (like a rainbow) was a great and encouraging sign that peace would ensue from a “well-ordered harmony under the rule of the will of God” (Pius XII).

Today, the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) advocates for migrants and refugees and the Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace (PCJP) seeks to remind advocates that true solidarity is more than just good feelings and is a “firm and persevering determination to commit [themselves] to the common good” [of all] (PCJPC, 193) and that such a commitment necessarily eschews the narrow constraints of ideology.

Readers are encourage to read the encyclical referred to in the article and available through the hyperlinked reference below.

Ad Caeli Reginam. His Holiness Pope Pius XII. Encyclical on Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary Promulgated October 11, 1954
Email from Louis Barcelona (April 2016).
Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace. (2004). Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Disclaimer The views expressed in this newsletter and the linked articles are entirely those of the author and not necessarily those of the Archdiocese of Hobart .