On Metro Seminarians, Cassocks and Conducts, and Modernizing the Church

by The Former Sapphist

THESE ARE THE KINDS OF STUNTS that give millennials the reputation they have.

After a long night of struggling to get some sleep because of the unforgiving heat, I woke up to this photo in my Facebook inbox. Two friends had sent me messages to get my insight on it.

I took that as a prodding. I followed the comments the whole day, switching screens between work and Facebook, and I couldn’t wait to get home and write about it. As of this writing, Jay Mark (one of the seminarians) has either taken down the photo or set his post to private.

This post is so vividly wrong on so many levels. As St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary reserves the right to express and harness the space to make themselves known, so too, am I harnessing the same cyberspace to make them realize the gravity of the manner in which they have exploited that right — because to educate the ignorant and admonish the fool is an act of mercy.

I will dissect the nuances of their post in random order:

On Photography

Mr. Brixx Barrios, or should I say, Bro. Brixx Barrios, photography takes more than just asking a person to strike a pose and smile and point with your bulky DSLR which is probably on automatic portrait mode anyway. Please know that ethical photography involves considering how the photo will impact its viewers versus the output that the client or your subject demands of you in the excitable moment of a whim. If subjects or models place themselves in a compromising position without them realizing it, it is your responsibility to educate them of the possible outcomes of the shot that they want, and how it may impact their reputation and character as individuals.

Be mindful that as a photographer, you are the vehicle that will carry their message to the world. The question is, was the message truly clear to you, the implications of the contexts that came into play in your photo’s composition? Obviously, these did not occur to you. What were you thinking? I could go on all day discussing your subjects’ poses. Did you not realize how much sexual innuendo was there, while they were dressed in what’s supposed to be a piece of wardrobe that represents answering the call to holiness and purity? Your photo is no different from a photo of Miley Cyrus licking a popsicle while dressed as a nun. Yes, my religious feelings were offended. In a world of spiritual dryness where my spirit is thirsty for more spiritually enlightening models, this one photo of yours ruined my hopes. We struggle with the dearth of vocations in our seminaries, a concern that constantly competes for inclusion among the numerous prayer needs that accompany my Rosaries.

I invite you to read through this blog and maybe you would realize the importance of context in photography, especially since you are training to be a spiritual leader in the future — a priest. In philosophy — which I know is a staple in the seminary — such discourse should be covered in Schematics. Ask your theologians about it.

‘Cassocks and conducts’ coming up next.


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