Archive for July, 2008

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

I could not let today pass without a reference to Saint Ignatius Loyola, being the good Jesuit-educated young man that I am.  Raise a glass of Spanish wine today, for the greater glory of God, and find God in all things today.


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Dreams From My Daughter

I had a dream the other night.  I was sitting across the kitchen table from my 14-year old daughter.  The details of our conversation I do not remember, but the vision frightens me.  My daughter will some day experience teenage agnst.  Will I be able to guide her?  To reassure her?  To provide an example for her?  I feel so grossly inadequate for parenthood.

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Relative Objective

Fr. Rob (an excellent writer) wrote some time ago on objective beauty in art and music, specifically as it relates to liturgical music.

This attitude seems to me to sum up the thinking of many, if not most, Catholics, whether musicians or those in the pews. On numerous occasions, in my efforts to explain and promote the authentic vision of Vatican II regarding liturgy and music, I have heard from parishioners and others a response something like this:

“Well, Father, you like all that classical music and chant, and the traditional hymns, and that’s fine for you. But I [we] like [insert musical genre here], and, after all, it’s all for God’s praise. One kind of music is just as good as another.”

Alasdair McIntyre, in his seminal book After Virtue, described this mode of thinking as emotivism, that is, the collapsing of all moral or qualitative judgments into mere expressions of personal preference. And this kind of thinking is the besetting sin of the post-modern West.

What is missing in the thinking illustrated above is any sense that the liturgy, and the music of the liturgy, has any objective quality whatsoever.

This is really first-rate stuff.  It is so easy to fall back on the “beauty if in the eye of the beholder” argument.  Art, be it music, literature, paintings, photography, has a strange subjective/objective quality.  No two people have exactly the same tastes.  I love baroque music, while others find it boring and repetitive.  But I think an honest critic who finds baroque music not to be his particular brand of vodka can still admit that there are qualities in the music to be appreciated.

Much of the music I have heard, played, and sung in the Church in my lifetime, good-intentioned as its composers may have been, does not have the objective qualities to be appreciated that can be found in more sacred, mystical, mysterious forms of music, such as chant.  I do not know what the solution is, but perhaps there is hope.

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What me, Blog?

Because the world needs my opinions.  Brief biography: I am 29 years old, and my wife and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  We are awaiting the birth of our first child, a daughter, in November.  I am tremendously excited and tremendously frightened at the prospect of being a father.

I am a native Kansan.  I met my wife when we were both students at Loyola University Chicago.  After I graduated from law school, we packed up and moved to Connecticut so that my wife could study at the Yale School of Drama.  We have been living in Connecticut for the past three years.

When I was young and foolish, I had young and foolish ideas.  I voted for Gore and Kerry.  I flirted with agnosticism.  In the past three or four years, I have become more conservative in my politics and more orthodox as I have rediscovered my faith in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

I fancy myself a writer, and a good way for me to practice writing is to blog.  Even if I never have readers, if this blog makes me a better writer, it shall have served its purpose.

I hope to write occasionally – several times a week – about topics that interest me, such as faith, fatherhood, current events, political philosophy, music, and fine cigars.

I invoke the intercession of St. Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers, and St. Joseph of Nazareth, patron saint of fathers.  May I strive to live up to their examples.

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