Pope Benedict XVI has reversed centuries of traditional Roman Catholic teaching on limbo, approving a Vatican report released Friday that says there were "serious" grounds to hope that children who die without being baptized can go to heaven.The image is from Ellen von Unwerth's 1998 photography exhibit "Original Sin." This is how it's described in John Hopkins University Press's Performing Arts Journal.
Theologians said the move was highly significant — both for what it says about Benedict's willingness to buck a long-standing tenet of Catholic belief and for what it means theologically about the Church's views on heaven, hell and original sin — the sin that the faithful believe all children are born with. Although Catholics have long believed that children who die without being baptized are with original sin and thus excluded from heaven, the Church has no formal doctrine on the matter. Theologians, however, have long taught that such children enjoy an eternal state of perfect natural happiness, a state commonly called limbo, but without being in communion with God. "If there's no limbo and we're not going to revert to St. Augustine's teaching that unbaptized infants go to hell, we're left with only one option, namely, that everyone is born in the state of grace," said the Rev. Richard McBrien, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. "Baptism does not exist to wipe away the "stain" of original sin, but to initiate one into the Church," he said in an e-mailed response.
Inspired by E. J. Bellocq's turn-of-the-century photographs of prostitutes in Storyville, New Orleans, the artist has concocted a creole stew of sexual high jinx, picturesque decay, and exotic poverty. Acted out among ratty Victorian furnishings, her soft porn scenarios feature a cast of half-naked models dressed in scanty garments that call to mind moth-eaten Victoria's Secret lingerie. Hilarious French titles summon up Playboy at Night: Hot Rain, Burning, Feline, Thirsty.The (Russian) model is Tatiana Zavialova. There is a worshipful English-language (Russian, i.e., .ru) web site devoted to her.
On a pink wall, a sign saying "Tequila Sauza Estate Collection presents Original Sin" greeted the viewer at the door, alongside "Gallipettes," a large color print of a pair of legs clad in black boots and holey black stockings waving in the air. In "Mardi Gras," a nude model wearing the same black stockings and boots stands up on a rumpled bed, her only other clothing heavy lipstick and a black domino mask. Nude outdoors, the same model pulls on her stockings at night among blurred street lamps in "Minuit Rue Royale." A few landscapes provided a setting of vine-draped trees leaning over decrepit shacks and fetid swamps, and in other small photos, a narrative of sex and possible murder inside the shack begins to form. "Après-midi" showed a nude man lying on a stained floor; above him leans the same nude woman in her boots and stockings, pushing down on his tattooed chest. Hand prints cover a pair of thighs in "Mains Curieuses." Could it be blood?