For a long time, there was a meme going around atheist circles that showed the Twin Towers pre-9/11 that said something to the effect that if there was no religion, then the World Trade Center would still be standing. Like most memes, I think the “no religion, no 9/11” notion is rather facile, especially since being highly religious, even “fundamentalist,” in one’s thinking does not mean one is going to run off to join a religiously motivated terrorist group. ISIS is an excellent example of this, since many of their Western recruits know next to nothing about the religion they supposedly are going to fight for:
For the past month or so, I’ve been working on a class on medieval Christianity and before that I was dealing with a full load of four courses. It was my intention to do a number of posts on various aspects of the medieval church, but recent events have caused me to change my plans.
Traditionalists and secular humanists may not see eye-to-eye on much, but both groups tend to agree that the era of Latin Christendom (also known as the Middle Ages or the medieval period) was an “Age of Faith,” when Western European politics and culture revolved around the Catholic Church. For traditionalists, Christendom was the high point of Western civilization, and we’ve being going downhill ever since, while secular humanists would see that same period as a time of stagnation, or “one thousand years without a bath,” as one wag put it. Both views are wrong for reasons that I’ve already articulated on this blog, but the widely held belief that the Middle Ages was an “Age of Faith” is also incorrect.
I haven’t been posting as much lately, what with the demands of graduate school and such, but occasionally a story happens that demands a response. No, it’s not about the Donald Trump Show, the ignominious return of the Duggars to television, the death of Mother Angelica, or whatever thing Pope Francis is doing. This story is much more important: Kathleen Battle is returning to the Metropolitan Opera:
Yesterday, I went to the Atlanta History Center to see the new “Atlanta in 50 Objects” exhibit. Most of the choices were predictable, but still interesting: a copy of “Gone With the Wind,” White and Colored signs from the Jim Crow era, the old school Pink Pig that used to be at the downtown Macy’s, MLK’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech, funerary from Oakland Cemetery, etc. However, there was one entry that really surprised and interested me: the “pickrick” (i.e., axe handle turned club) that Lester Maddox used to chase black civil rights protesters away from his restaurant, the Pickrick Cafeteria:
There are three things I know about Whitney Houston:
- Whitney Houston was incredibly talented, possessing probably the best voice in the history of recorded popular music.
- Whitney Houston had a fervent desire to know god, love god, and serve god, to paraphrase the Baltimore Catechism.
- Whitney Houston was a complete mess.
Thus, we have the elements of the tragedy and comedy of Houston’s life and career.
In my continuing response to Msgr. Charles Pope’s piece about stagnating attendance numbers at Latin Masses (http://www.ncregister.com/blog/msgr-pope/an-urgent-warning-about-the-future-of-the-traditional-latin-mass), I decided that it would be useful to examine what Latin Mass advocates do with their preferred liturgical form and what they hope to achieve by increasing the number of Latin Masses available to the public.