The JFK stained glass window

The JFK stained glass window

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • “Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?”  Looks like he’s standing behind John.  I wonder where Abraham and Martin are.

  • There is popular precedent for this kind of thing.  I’ve seen a commemorative plate with JFK and RFK pictured on opposite sides, with Blessed Pope John XXIII forming the top of the three-faced pyramid. 

    I saw this in an actual household in Ireland, too. 

    I reacted against all this Kennedy worship, and I now have a special fondness for Kennedy jokes.  And I’ve never even been to Massachusetts.

  • This is the sort of thing I’d expect in the Episcopal “National” Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

    Have you been there? It’s a splendid Gothic cathedral, and it’s filled with shrines and mementos to political and public figures; the state flags hang over the nave, and presidential seals abound.

    Visiting the “National” Cathedral, I find myself thinking, “our nation doesn’t have an established church; but sometimes I wonder if the Episcopalians know that…”

  • Putting aside whether JFK was worthy of such an honor, is it unknown in European Cathedrals to remember Catholic emperors on windows or paintings? I don’t know if it would necessarily shock me to see Constantine on a European stain-glassed window.

    JFK was Catholic, and a significant leader in American history. I guess that was probably their reasoning. I wouldn’t understand a depiction of Ghandi or MLK, though.

  • “a significant leader in American history”

    Come on. What is the enduring legacy of the Kennedy presidency? He was Catholic. Well, technically, that’s true.

  • 20 years or so ago when I moved to Pittsburgh and I was looking for an apartment, I looked at a number of places in old houses, where the landlord, usually an older widow, was still living in like the first floor. Several times I saw the combination of a picture of the Pope, Jesus and JFK all nicely placed on the wall, usually with Jesus at the top.

    The impact of JFK’s election on a certain segment of the catholic populace cannot be overstated.

  • I can’t think of an instance of an emporer or king in stained glass in a Church.  Ussually Catholic kings are afforded a burial place in the Cathedral or its crypt.  Kings often make it into depiction with religious significance, i.e. in the baptistry of John Lateran their is a fresco of Constantine being Baptized and also of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge portraying the “In Hoc Signo Vincit” affair.  The deposed Legitamate Catholic Kings of England (after the reformation) have a minor monument in the back of St. Peter’s. 

    Having been to many of the Cathedrals of Europe, I would say there is not much president for honoring a ruler, who was not declared a Saint, in this way.  I would like to know of examples if I am wrong (so i can go visit them).

  • I don’t know if there is a stained glass window in a church for him, but the way some liberal Catholics canonize Martin Luther King, Jr.—even in church publications directed at youth—maybe there should be a stained glass window somewhere showing him and a bed with one of his girlfriends—as most biographies of him-even the very sympathetic to him ones—now agree, he was not exactly an exemplary husband.

  • I am not convinced that sacred art must be saintly.  I spent the day at the ruin of St. John of God in Chicago, and took this picture (it is large)

    showing an American “Tommy” carrying an American flag bowing reverntly to St. Michael while being assited by St. George.  Did the artist mean to suggest that the Ameican cause in WW1 was holy? Or that the Tommy was a definitely saint? Or (more likely in my estimation) was it an appeal to the good judgement that the parishoners were capable of reaching Heaven, if they stick to the cause of St. Michael and St. George?

    There is some great realism in Catholic Art that does not require a leap to believe, that is, everday vocations that are celebrated for their inherent value and glory in the art of our traditions.