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:
I’ve been quiet thus far about the ongoing “pope-a-polooza” going on in NYC, since I wasn’t sure that I have much to say. However, I was interested in a number of articles about black Catholics that have appeared in the last week or so.
The supposedly uninspiring nature of modern priestly vestments are a major concern for conservotrad and traditionalist Catholics. After Vatican II, the number of vestments that a priest was supposed to wear was greatly reduced, virtually eliminating the biretta, the maniple, and black vestments, not to mention everyday wear like the cassock. Yet, a historical survey of the development of vestments illustrates that there has long been a tension between those who favor elaborate vestments and those who favor more modest ones.
My trip to the Louvre roughly two weeks ago was a very interesting experience, not the least because I discovered that Chinese tourists have become what Japanese tourists were in the 1980s. Looking at the many famous works of art caused me to reflect again on the role of the arts in modern religion, particularly Christianity. I recently found out that Thomas Day, author of the famous book “Why Catholics Can’t Sing” wrote another book entitled “Where Have You Gone Michelangelo?” about the supposed loss of beauty in the Catholic tradition. Like many religious conservatives, Day’s remedy appears to involve simply resurrecting what worked in the past and doing more of the same, but I don’t think that it’s that simple.
Last week, I wrote about the negative reaction to the revelation that Harper Lee’s new book Go Set a Watchman portrays former hero lawyer Atticus Finch as a racist segregationist. Upon further thought, I think that much of the dismay revolves around the need and desire to have “good whites” in stories about racism.
I’ve been rather busy these last couple of months, so I only just saw this predictably apocalyptic column from Rod Dreher that came out after the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling:
I’ve discussed the absurdity of the Benedict Option before, so I won’t rehash those arguments. Instead, I’ll focus on Dreher’s belief that these isolated “Benedict communities” will one day spring forth and take back civilization once us decadent secularists foul everything up.
Black humanist poet Langston Hughes wrote this poem back in 1935, and it remains just as relevant today in the era of “Black Lives [Ought to] Matter” as it did then.