September - October

Notes from Across the Atlantic

Joseph Bottum FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

ECCLESIOLOGY FOUNDS MUSICOLOGY

Jeffrey Tucker notes that watching Angels and Demons wasn't an altogether unpleasant experience. The movie had a better sense of liturgical music than most Catholic parishes.

Actually, the real reason I like to see any film in which the Catholic Church is featured prominently concerns the music. Let's just say that "On Eagles' Wings" is...

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The Papal Vision and the Hermeneutic of Observation

"by enabling men and women to let go of their subjective opinions and impressions, allows them to move beyond cultural and historical limitations and to come together in the assessment of the...

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Logos as Fulfilment of Wisdom in Israel

Ronald Walls FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

Fr Ronald Walls discusses the roots of the Johannine concept of Logos, one much used by Pope Benedict. He discerns as much influence from the...

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Discerning the Historical Source of Human Language

Edouard Belaga FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

Edouard Belaga, researcher at the Institute of Advanced Mathematical Research, at Strasbourg University, argues that at the origins of the...

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Prospective Development of the UN's Gender Architecture

Marguerite Peeters FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

The director of the Brussels Institute for Intercultural Dialogue Dynamics, describes how global leaders are preparing to impose their...

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The Mass as an Actual Sacrifice in Catholic Tradition

I want to consider a way of talking about the Mass which has become quite common in recent years and which isn't exactly wrong, but which when presented as a definition of the Mass seems at least...

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The Road from Regensburg

FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

Papal Dialogue in Search of a Modern Apologetic

ENCYCLICAL ENCOURAGES NEW VISION

The Pope's latest Encyclical letter Caritatis in Veritate argues:

• That...

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Towards Getting the Catechetical Method Right


Caroline Farey is Director of the BA in Applied Theology (Catechesis) at Maryvale Institute


There have been two very 'hot topics' in the Church since the Second Vatican Council, that surpass all...

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Comment on the Comments

Comment on the Comments

The Tablet, yet again, has been in the news for becoming - like Alistair Campbell towards the end of his Downing Street years - the story rather than the messenger. "The Tablet", wrote...

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Book Reviews

Book Reviews

FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

Who was John? The Fourth Gospel Debate After Pope Benedict XVI' Jesus of Nazareth

by John Redford, Commendation by Cardinal Avery Dulles SJ, St Pauls,...

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

KNOWING FORMALITY AND KNOWING REALITY: WHAT IS THE LINK?

Dear Father Editor,

I am glad you feel, as I do, that our exchange has been a constructive one (Letters,...

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Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

Science and Religion News

A QUALITY RESOURCE

A new resource has become available very recently which seeks to embrace the important matter of 'science and...

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  • Notes from Across the Atlantic

    Joseph Bottum FAITH Magazine September-October 2009

    ECCLESIOLOGY FOUNDS MUSICOLOGY

    Jeffrey Tucker notes that watching Angels and Demons wasn't an altogether unpleasant experience. The movie had a better sense of liturgical music than most Catholic parishes.

    Actually, the real reason I like to see any film in which the Catholic Church is featured prominently concerns the music. Let's just say that "On Eagles' Wings" is never featured at a Catholic funeral on film. And it pleases me to see confirmed that even the most secular parts of the industrial media sector understand what sacred music probably sounds like.

    Sure enough, this movie opens with the Introit of the Requiem Mass playing at the funeral. Indeed, whenever there is a need to call forth some sense of solemn liturgy a modal piece comes on featuring vague outlines of Kyrie Eleison and Agnus Dei. There were several people's chants featured here and there - probably more than most parishes hear in the course of one liturgical year, sad to say.

    Sad to say indeed, but it all comes down to how you view the Church. If the Catholic Church is a large institution full of tradition, majesty and mystery, the music one associates with it will reflect that. Whether that mystery is redolent with llluminati conspiracy or the source of grace and truth, it nonetheless exists and will be reflected in the art associated with the deep traditions of Christianity. But if mystery and tradition are thrown away, there is no reason to have majesty in art. Gather us in on eagles' wings because the whole thing is just about us and our experiences, not anything deeper.

    Of course Ron Howard knows that's not true. But it would be nice if more Catholics did, too.

    CALL FOR A CULTURE WITH VISION

    We've had bad experiences in modern times with the immanent eschatologies of the people who wanted to build heaven

    on earth or re-establish Eden - with Marxists and all the rest, who demanded, in one way or another, that the ultimate purposes of humankind be achieved. Mass murder is the regular result of the political attempt to reach a cosmic horizon.

    But that's not, in itself, an argument against all horizons - against every strong cultural goal. In fact, vibrant cultures always want something, and exhausted cultures don't. So it's reasonable to ask what it is we actually want these days. What is it that we imagine? Western societies aim at so little now. They have such small interests in mind.

    What we need, says the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, is to go to Mars. And he's right. What besides space today can re-inspire the temporal imagination? The author of a new book, Magnificent Desolation, Aldrin argues, "More than just exploring a hostile new world, Apollo 11 was about bold vision and great risk, about the obstacles a great nation could overcome with dedication, courage and teamwork. It was about choosing a goal that exceeded our grasp - and then reaching across history to make it happen."

    Indeed, he notes, "For me, the most difficult part of the mission wasn't what happened during the flight but what happened after we came home." America has done some interesting things in space, over the decades since the moon walk. "But what America hasn't done is inspire the world - and itself - with a bold vision for our future in space." What we need is "a destination in space that offers great rewards for the risks to achieve it. I believe that that destination must be homesteading Mars, the first human colony on another world. By refocusing our space programme on Mars for America's future, we can restore the sense of wonder and adventure in space exploration that we knew in the summer of 1969. We won the moon race; now it's time for us to live and work on Mars, first on its moonsand then on its surface."

    To be a religious believer is to know that the hungers of the human heart will not find fulfilment without God, but even religious believers benefit from goals short of the ecstatic vision of the divine. People without any temporal horizons - without any historical purpose or vision of the future - grow enervated and decadent, and they begin to follow strange gods, who promise them meaning.

    In times of advance, and times of goals, and times of purpose, people have little need for that kind of acedia. Want to inspire the world with a temporal purpose? Want to reveal many of our arguments as the pettinesses that they are? Ever since last summer's news about possible water on the planet, I've been telling people that we should build a rocket and fly it to Mars. As Buzz Aldrin says, the Red Planet must be conquered.

    FUTURE LIES IN ADULT STEM CELLS

    Those who follow Oprah are often captivated by her resident medical expert, Dr. Mehmet Oz. He was featured last April in a segment that included Michael J. Fox

    - who suffers from Parkinson's disease and is an avid supporter of foetal stem-cell research through his charitable foundation.

    Dr. Oz, who rarely disagrees with the queen of talk shows, told both Oprah and Fox to brace themselves, as he had something provocative to say on stem cells: adult stem cells are the way of the future. "The stem-cell debate is dead.... In the time of all this fighting we've had [over embryonic stem-cell research]

    - which did slow down this [adult stem-cell] research - in the last year we've advanced ten years." Adult stem cells are likely to be more effective, less risky and, of course, less controversial than their foetal counterparts. Oz's comments, of course, fly in the face of Fox's strident advocacy for the use of embryos and Oprah's coincident political beliefs. Oprah looked a bit stunned.

    Dr. Oz is moving to his own show. Soon.