In the eye of the beholder

Working in the newspaper business, even the Catholic press, is often a no-win situation. There are stories that will run in this publication that some folks like and others, not so much.

There are stories, either from the wire services or home-grown that will touch hearts or rankle feathers. It’s inevitable.

For the most part, Anchor readers will form opinions of the publication that will remain with them and those with whom they associate. Others are compelled to pick up a pen, or peck away at a keyboard to let us know what we’ve done right or wrong in their opinion.

I like that. I like learning what people think about The Anchor. Having been a part of  the good ship Anchor for 18 years, I have a great affinity for this paper. So does the staff. We are all here for a reason, and that is to bring the Good News to the good people of Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands.

I say all this because it was I who chose the cover artwork for this week’s Easter Anchor, and I’ve got a feeling that not everyone is going to like this rendition depicting Our Lord’s Resurrection gracing page one.

As with music, my taste in art is eclectic. I admire the classics and the conservative, and I dig the modern, unconventional, and creative. As long as the art, or music, is not irreverent or offensive, I see and hear it as an expression of the artist.

I wouldn’t dream of running an Anchor cover with a Salvador Dali work or worse yet, Hieronymus Bosch. Although I do love their work, it’s over the edge for worship art.


This week’s cover is by London artist Stephen B. Whatley, a man 10 years my junior. The cover piece, “The Glory of Christ,” is not the first piece I’ve seen by Whatley. On my office wall, I have prints by him of Pope Francis and St. Kateri.

The cover artwork, though unconventional by conservative standards, evoked from me the joy and hope of the Resurrection.

The colors explode with optimism after a cold, relentless, colorless winter here in the Fall River Diocese. Isn’t that what Easter is, optimism and a new dawn?

The long sweeping strokes creating the Lord’s Body said “weclome” to me. Wasn’t that Christ’s intention when He rose from the dead: to welcome all of His brothers and sisters to the Kingdom of God?

His open arms and calming countenance make me want to go give Him a big hug — a great big thank you hug.

Whatley’s bio information states that he has a “deep Christian faith.” I find evidence of that in his works. His portfolio of Christian art includes wonderful pieces of Christ, as an Infant and in good and bad times in His earthly mission. He’s put on canvas the Blessed Mother, as Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Madonna, Our Lady of Lourdes, and her Sacred Heart. Whatley has given us his version the Divine Mercy, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and an array of saints and Biblical scenes. All with the same hopeful, joyous use of color and sweeping strokes.

He’s even painted Fred Flintstone, Bugs Bunny, Queen Elizabeth II, Elizabeth Taylor,  Elvis, and several self-portraits.

He’s painted landscapes and cityscapes of his beloved London and European locales as well as New York City.

His drawings, although in charcoal, are equally pleasing to the eye.

And speaking of the eye, they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I know some won’t like this week’s cover, and that is more than fine with me. We’re not clones, thank God.

But to those who don’t like the rendition, please remember it was chosen because I saw in it the holiness and hope of Christ. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but not the subject matter — and this week that subject matter is Christ Risen. Alleluia. 

Happy Easter season Anchor readers.

(More on Whatley and his works can be found at

© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts