07 May 2015

The Jubilee logo: Pro-wrestler Jesus, two-headed saint on skis, or Looney Tunes character?

By now you've surely seen the disappointing logo for the upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy which begins this December 8th:

As soon as I saw the logo two days ago, I knew I did not like it, in so small part because it looks like Jesus has two heads (and the beard of his actual head seems to form his tunic).

I am happy to see I am not alone in this initial reaction to the logo. Thomas McDonald thinks the way Jesus is carrying the man on his shoulders makes it look as though "Jesus appears ready to body slam the dude into the mat." I can see it.

When Simcha Fisher first saw the logo, she "wondered if there were some obscure two-headed saint on skis that I had forgotten about." I don't think there is such a saint, but you can never be too sure.

The more I look at the logo, the more it reminds me of something from the days of my childhood:

Please tell me I'm not the only one that sees a similarity.

The logo could be improved with the inclusion of a scriptural citation on the right side of the mandorla (the almond shaped bit behind Jesus); this would at least balance it out and would help it "sit" better on either the left or the right side of a page.

There is, at least, one positive element to the logo: Jesus is depicted with the marks of his mercy, with the wounds still present in his hands and feet.

McDonald goes on to ask, "Why are we getting bad art like this in 2015?" It is certainly a fair question to ask.  To the eyes of many (and to me), the logo harkens back - or simply returns - to the "dark ages" of ecclesial art following the Second Vatican Council and is not a step in the right direction for a generation seeking Beauty, which, as Dostoevsky said, "will save the world."

The answer to McDonald's question can be found, at least in part, by remembering the that the priest who created the logo lives in Rome and those in charge of the Jubilee are Italian. The Italians today have a different aesthetic sensibility than much of the rest of the world (though, to be fair, you might just as easily see something like this in the U.S.A. today).

As one simple example, the use of the font Comic Sans Serif is perfectly acceptable here on official documentation, whereas in the rest of (at least) the Western world, it is a childish font to use. Remember that online photo album of the pontificate of Benedict XVI put together by the Holy See, the one that used Comic Sans Serif and made it something of a laughing stock in many parts of the world (though many recognized the good intentions behind it)?

UPDATE: Deacon Kandra has a post about the priest who created the logo.


  1. Oh, you make me laugh! Yes, it is true, it does look rather like a bad cartoon... on the other hand, I understand the intention of the artist to attempt to portray a mystical reality of Jesus, true God and yet true man, seeing through our eyes and humanity through His...when we are "face to face" united in Him. A noble intention, poor execution. Poor guy. I don't know how anyone could carry it off.

  2. As soon as I saw it I knew it was a Rupnik. He did the church of our International College here in Rome.