Your Fifty-Six Minutes of Civilization

Brought to you by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3, Op. 36:

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Mosley: An Answer to the Call for the Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything

Fascinating piece from David Russell Mosley from across the pond regarding the recapturing of Catholic culture in a hostile world as a response to the essay from Michael Martin:

In the end of his essay Martin issues a call to “poets, artists, scientists, adventurers, teachers, communitarians, distributists, scholars, and visionaries who hanker for something more living in Catholic culture.” He does not desire mere theory, men and women sitting in a room talking about how great it would be if. However, it should be obvious that Martin is not against the study of these issues in order to better inhabit these ideas and live this reality. Rather, Martin wants us to act as we talk. Theoretike and Practike must be united. Some may be Marthas and others Marys, but we need both and we need most of all those who are willing to live the hard life being both at once.

There’s a wisdom to this, and it is one that is difficult to live much less inspire in others in a post-modern world.

Yet the response to the call doesn’t have to be a cookie cutter approach.  Monastic virtues can be applied in the city; distributist virtues can be applied in the countryside.  While it has been remarked that Catholicism and Catholicity seem to thrive in town settings (an agrarian society centered around a parish), there is a call to being — and a call from Being — that speaks to humanity and is clouded by the swarm we have created around ourselves.

Martin’s essay is brief, if not a tad bit dense for the layman.  It’s worth plowing through every word.  One notable quotation is from a poem entitled “The Heavenly Country” (which sadly, is not available to the public):

Once I thought it was the place my father brought me and my mother to, between the rivers up north. The near river was full of white stones bleached in the sun, and the banks on the far side were red clay. At night it was almost cold, so we slept with blankets or walked out in sweaters early morning to see deer or whatever else might reveal itself to us. That it is a matter of It willing to reveal to Us I have never doubted.

The observation — “a matter of It willing to reveal to Us” — is a remarkable one.  Martin observes:

My late colleague, Stratford Caldecott, devoted much of his career to exploring a remedy for this poison. For him, as for me, this remedy can only be realized through an education attentive to the Glory of the World; that is, an education that simultaneously speaks the languages of rationality, theology, and poetry: in every sense of the word a truly Catholic language. This is a Catholicism hinted at in the Wisdom literature, literally fleshed out in the New Testament, and—following the collapse of traditional metaphysics in a postmodern, post-capitalistic, post-Christian, and (increasingly) post-human cultural milieu—a Catholicism that offers a much-needed corrective to the bastardization of ontology, the technological and ideological colonization of the human person, and the ascendance of postmodern nominalism so prevalent at our own cultural moment.

“Renewal starts from the soil, not from the air,” Martin writes.  This is true, and if the future is an agrarian one (and agrarianism contra the neo-reactionaries and Alt-Right set), then perhaps we are on the verge of a black-green phenomenon rather than the artificial left-right/blue-red division we see in today’s politics?

One also begs the question as to whether Catholicism is incompatible with the “black” end of this equation — technology (black for the stars) vs. agriculture (green for the earth).  Certainly Romano Guardini and Pope Francis would argue the latter… but having not come to grips with the essence of the neo-reactionary or Alt-Right set, I have no answers… just questions.


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Color me just the slightest bit confused on the new USCCB Forming Consciences For Faithful Citizenship guidelines:

36. When all candidates hold a position that promotes an intrinsically evil act, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.

Of course, the first choice certainly holds more merit — that being recusancy, something with a long tradition in the history of Catholicism (primarily in Tudor England, but seen elsewhere in Ireland, Sweden, and Germany).  In short, sometimes the only moral option is not to choose… basic lifeboat ethics, as it were.

Then again, there is a fourth choice.  Vote third party, specifically the “libertarian option” which would certainly satisfy very few who prefer that government do something — anything — about our moral and social ills.  Libertarianism being defined as the grand conspiracy to take over the government and then leave you alone?  Would certainly be the form of governance that would give the greatest possible liberty to the Church…

This naturally raises the question as to whether an amoral government is preferable to an immoral government.  I’m sure St. Thomas Aquinas has all sorts of great stuff to say about this in the Summa Theologicae (HINT: he does), but suffice to say, given a choice between two evils?  The advancement of either evil seems a tad bit out of place… and the explanation on the latter seems to take a great deal away from the much simpler and far more moral choice of the former.

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Your Ninety-Nine Minutes of Civilization: Telemann’s Tafelmusik

That’s right. All of it.

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Your Twenty Nine Minutes of Civilization: Telemann’s Suite in A Minor

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Your Four Minutes of Civilization: Vide Cor Meum

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While We Were Arguing Over Loyalty Oaths…

…the entire government of Virginia was in Williamsburg, hearing a talk from William & Mary’s president.  From the Daily Press:

[T]rue leaders, he said, will make every effort to compromise and put matters of principle before their own preference, helping to close gaps between opposing views.

As lawmakers try to develop compromise, Reveley said, it’s important to know they are setting an example as representatives of a state that has “been there and done that” for centuries.

But do it all with a sense of humility, he warned.

“Of course, it is important we do all of this in a non-jackasslike way,” Reveley said, which was met with laughter and applause.

Of course, when one has friends on both sides of the aisle on RPV State Central Committee, one is particularly at pains to criticize either side.  Yet some small part of me wishes that SCC was in Williamsburg this past weekend.

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The Ghost of William F. Buckley Lives


Amazing how the writings of William F. Buckley almost speak from the grave?  This, from an article written for Cigar Aficianado in 2002:

Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in today’s lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America. But whatever the depths of self-enchantment, the demagogue has to say something. So what does Trump say? That he is a successful businessman and that that is what America needs in the Oval Office. There is some plausibility in this, though not much. The greatest deeds of American Presidents — midwifing the new republic; freeing the slaves; harnessing the energies and vision needed to win the Cold War — had little to do with a bottom line.


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Ethika Politika: Materialism and Poverty

David Mills writes over at Ethika Politika:

Those who refer so happily to creative destruction are never themselves among the creatively destroyed. It’s the ideological free-marketer’s version of “Let’s you and him fight.” It speaks of the end in a way that makes invisible those who suffer from the means.

Duly noted.

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Of Chaput, Lepanto, and The Call To Fidelity


So I was rather surprise to see that sharing this sentiment from the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen received such a response.  Or perhaps, not terribly surprised at all:

Lepanto is a pretty fringe outfit brother, posting from down in some catacomb bunker. Even Archbishop Chaput called them out recently, if memory serves it was about them sowing division and being a destructive force. Am only commenting because this post is innocuous, and you may not be familiar with their “body of work.”

Archbishop Chaput happens to be one of my favorite American prelates, perhaps more so than the late Francis Cardinal George (who famously predicted that he would die in his bed, but his successors in jail and eventually as martyrs in the public square).

For those not terribly familiar with the Catholic blogosphere, it is much like the political variant, only fewer in number, sharper in personalities… and rarely about the topic.  More tribal than faithful, more political than we politicians could ever imagine, and more egregious than edifying.

…and that’s a charitable description. Continue reading

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