Why Ash Wednesday belongs out of the church and out on the street

This year, I will be joining many Episcopal priests in taking the public witness of Ash Wednesday one step further. On Wednesday, my colleague Catherine Caimano and I will put on cassocks and surplices, and go to a corner near Duke University Hospital with small containers of ashes and copies of a litany of repentance from the Book of Common Prayer. We will offer “the imposition of ashes” to people in the street.

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Religious art: fig leaf or full frontal?

Pope Benedict XVI recently praised the use of nudity in the 16th-century masterpiece, “The Last Judgment,” which dominates an entire wall behind the altar in the famed Sistine Chapel. “The bodies painted by Michelangelo are filled with light, life and splendor.“He wanted to show that our bodies contain a mystery: within them the spirit is manifest.”

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