Archive for October 8th, 2013

Dear Mr Nichols,
I am a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan. I today I discovered that you are using the icon of “St. Teresa of Jesus” (Avila) on your Caelum web posting with no credits displayed and no permission from us, the SSIHM. I am the artist and have been given the responsibility of managing the copyrights for all of my icons  (www.saintjosephstudio.com). I am working closely with our intellectual copyright lawyer and must ask you to send me a donation of $300 for illicit use. You must also remove it from your site. I will allow two weeks for this to occur, or you will hear from our lawyer.
Thank you kindly,
Sr. Nancy Lee Smith, IHM
Dear Sister,
I don’t remember using any of your icons; if I did it was unintentional. I try to credit the artist when that is known. I probably, if I used it, found it somewhere uncredited. My apologies.
As an iconographer myself (www.eighthdayicons.com) I am appalled by your attitude. I don’t know how much you have studied iconography, but in the tradition the iconographer is not an “artist”, not obsessed with his or her individual creativity, but is a vessel of God. He or she would no more think of copyrighting whatever image came through them than they would think of suing someone who used it. I surely hope that you never try and sue an Orthodox blogger who used one of your images, as this would add to the scandal that Roman Catholic “iconographers” have already stirred by their use of noncanonical models and general ignorance of the tradition.
Daniel Nichols
ps: Getting sued by a nun, vowed to poverty; that is rich. I may have to blog about it.
pps: Found your icon, from two years ago; contrary to what you claim, I in fact gave you credit, but have gladly deleted it.
Icon of St Teresa of Avila NOT by Sr Nancy, but by Lynne Taggart. I was, by the way taught by IHM sisters in late elementary and junior high. I wonder if “Sr Nancy” was one of the two or three mean nuns that I had…

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While it is true that Francis differs from Benedict in style and substance, and, I have argued, in vision of the Church’s role in the modern world, the contrast should not be exaggerated. Francis did not invent love of the poor and concern for the oppressed. Every pope has reiterated the inherently radical vision at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine, which Benedict reminds us is based in Love:

The world’s wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. In rich countries, new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty and new forms of poverty are emerging. In poorer areas some groups enjoy a sort of “superdevelopment” of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation. “The scandal of glaring inequalities”[56] continues. Corruption and illegality are unfortunately evident in the conduct of the economic and political class in rich countries, both old and new, as well as in poor ones. Among those who sometimes fail to respect the human rights of workers are large multinational companies as well as local producers…

From the social point of view, systems of protection and welfare, already present in many countries in Paul VI’s day, are finding it hard and could find it even harder in the future to pursue their goals of true social justice in today’s profoundly changed environment. The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods, increasing purchasing power and thus accelerating the rate of development in terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market. Consequently, the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State. Systems of social security can lose the capacity to carry out their task, both in emerging countries and in those that were among the earliest to develop, as well as in poor countries. Here budgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks; such powerlessness is increased by the lack of effective protection on the part of workers’ associations. Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church’s social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum[60], for the promotion of workers’ associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.

Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate

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