Archive for September 2008

A must read – the Pope on Culture

September 13, 2008

Please check out the Address by the Holy Father to the world of Culture.

Here are some excerpts:

I would like to speak with you this evening of the origins of western theology and the roots of European culture. I began by recalling that the place in which we are gathered is in a certain way emblematic. It is in fact a placed tied to monastic culture, insofar as young monks came to live here in order to learn to understand their vocation more deeply and to be more faithful to their mission. We are in a place that is associated with the culture of monasticism. Does this still have something to say to us today, or are we merely encountering the world of the past? In order to answer this question, we must consider for a moment the nature of Western monasticism itself. What was it about? From the perspective of monasticism’s historical influence, we could say that, amid the great cultural upheaval resulting from migrations of peoples and the emerging new political configurations, the monasteries were the places where the treasures of ancient culture survived, and where at the same time a new culture slowly took shape out of the old. But how did it happen? What motivated men to come together to these places? What did they want? How did they live?

Our present situation differs in many respects from the one that Paul encountered in Athens, yet despite the difference, the two situations also have much in common. Our cities are no longer filled with altars and with images of multiple deities. God has truly become for many the great unknown. But just as in the past, when behind the many images of God the question concerning the unknown God was hidden and present, so too the present absence of God is silently besieged by the question concerning him. Quaerere Deum – to seek God and to let oneself be found by him, that is today no less necessary than in former times. A purely positivistic culture which tried to drive the question concerning God into the subjective realm, as being unscientific, would be the capitulation of reason, the renunciation of its highest possibilities, and hence a disaster for humanity, with very grave consequences. What gave Europe’s culture its foundation – the search for God and the readiness to listen to him – remains today the basis of any genuine culture.


Well, there are at least twelve people…

September 12, 2008

standing up for true beauty in art outside Paris. And a handful of disgusted tourists who can also tell art from, well, not art…

Here’s the key quote:

“I paid to see all of Versailles,” said Sylvie Guérin, an administrative technician from Montreal. “I didn’t come here to see a red lobster that I can buy in a gas station in Quebec to go in my pool.”

Also, check out why Pope Benedict loves France over at Rocco’s. Hat tip to TLM in Maryland.

The committee

September 12, 2008

In the Catholic blogosphere, few bureaucratic institutions are more maligned than the liturgy committee.

I am a member of one.

But folks, I am here to tell you that there is something worse than the liturgy committee. 

The Parish Pastoral Council. They have asked the liturgy committee, and other committees in the parish to make suggestions on how to have a shorter mass (50 minutes) rather than an hour, due to the ‘unanimous suggestions pouring in.’ If they are receiving such suggestions, is this not a good opportunity for catechesis on the importance of the mass? A time for shepherding perhaps?

It makes me sick. 

Now our parish isn’t an overly traditional one (there aren’t many in the area), and while there are a lot of things I would like to change, the person in charge of the music and liturgy at our parish strives for excellence; she takes pride in her work and no one could question her commitment. We have nice masses, but we don’t have missa cantatas. The typical mass at our parish lasts but an hour.

An hour.

50 minutes…

You have got to be kidding me. Is this a church, or a social club?

—We like the welcoming atmosphere and community, but could we have a little less mass?—

—Can you not watch one hour with me?—