Category Archives: Arts and Culture
Arts and Culture
The term “art” covers a broad spectrum of creativity. In the absolute sense only God can “create,” because creation implies making something out of nothing. Man can imitate his Creator by being creative, however it is more accurate to say that man “produces” or “makes.” In “making” (faciendo) man must work with matter that already exists.
What does the word itself mean? The schoolmen define art as “the right method of producing,” (recta ratio factibilium) in contrast to ethics or morals, which is “the right way of acting, or doing.”
The arts can be visual, as in painting and sculpture; performing, as in music and dance; or literary, as in poetry. Nowadays the term is used in a much wider sense than in past centuries. The crafts, writing, film making, photography, and other media which exhibit what is beautiful, are all styled “art” today.
Culture, on the other hand, is specific and, usually, but not always, ethnic. Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary defines culture as “the personality of a society.” Notice he uses the broader term “society” rather than “race” or “people.” One cannot, therefore, speak of a “nation” as having a culture, because a nation is abstract; it is the people of a nation that produce a culture. Italy does not have a culture, but Italians do. And Italians certainly have subcultures within their generic culture, as Sicilians have personal characteristics far different than Florentines.
Cultures are not created, they are “cultivated.” And that maturation often takes centuries. Is there a “Catholic” culture? Most definitely, but it is not that of a people, but of a religion. The Incarnation of the Son of God, who was born into the Jewish culture, elevated all cultures. He who was not image able, became image able. Culture and art could now express that image ability in a thousand different ways. The best expressions make the matter that we all know, intuitively, as Catholic culture.
Catholics know and love Our Lady of Fatima. We are familiar with the miraculous happenings of 1917 when Our Blessed Lady appeared to the three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria near Fatima, Portugal. We know the promises of Our Lady, we know the prayers that she taught the children, Lucia, Jacinta and little Francisco. We know of the great “Miracle of the Sun” … More →
Robert Hickson’s piece, “The Vitality of Mammon in the Decline of a State,” has been archived on the Culture Wars site: The historic Christian Faith and the historic reality of Christian culture – Christendom – from the outset rebuked with severity, and aptly punished, those who “trafficked in spiritual things.” The hucksters of Simony and Usury were condemned and often shunned, because the things of … More →
In 1905, just before he entered the House of Commons for four discouraging years (1906-1910), Hilaire Belloc published a variegated and copious book, entitled The Old Road, about his eight-day journey afoot from Winchester to Canterbury, the latter also being the place where, on the 29th of December in 1170, Saint Thomas à Becket was martyred. Click here to VIEW full size, DOWNLOAD as PDF … More →
Forget Justin Bieber. The Canadian pop star has nothing on the Bohemian-Austrian baroque composer and violinist, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (12 August 1644 [baptized] – 3 May 1704). Believed to have been Jesuit educated in his earlier years at the Society’s Gymnasium at Opava in Bohemia, von Biber was clearly Catholic in the range of his compositional subject-matter. Besides his beautiful Masses (some of … More →
One supposes it may be seen as in questionable taste to cite one’s own work, but that is what I am about to do here. I hope the reader will indulge me. I’m not simply plugging a book. There is a point. Young Tony and the Priest; Coming to Belief in an Age of Unbelief, a novella by me published by Loreto Publications, is a … More →
This Dominican House of Studies in D.C. has posted this video of their Iraqi Brother, Father Nageeb Michael, O.P., Director of the Digital Center for Eastern Manuscripts, singing the Our Father and Haily Mary in Aramaic and “New Aramaic” respectively. Aramaic was the language of Our Lord. Although Aramaic and Arabic are distinct Semitic languages, they both have much in common, as well with each other … More →
On How to Develop a Catholic Sense Without a Catholic Culture To restore to his people a true memory Alexander Solzhenitsyn has accepted almost unspeakable sacrifice and loss, and especially the cross of patience. Solzhenitsyn has attempted to draw his people forth from an asphyxiating rubble of distortion just as he has himself been drawn forth: trusting and contending, marked and transfigured by grace, an … More →
Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has written an intriguing article on “artful music” and its place in Catholic culture. If you are looking for instant auricular gratification, then classical music is not for you. Composer Kwasniewski stresses that appreciation of artful music can only be through a process of maturation. Like a fine wine, “it must breathe” in order to elevate the emotions, not only of sense, but, … More →
I have not and will not watch the blasphemous foolishness that the malignant unbelievers at NBC produced in mockery our Holy Savior. Unless all the descriptions of it are sheer fabrications, it was pure evil. Even the LA Times said “‘DJesus Uncrossed’ may have crossed the line, with some calling it the single most offensive skit in ‘Saturday Night Live’ history.” And that’s saying something. … More →
I am returning here to a theme I’ve sounded the last couple of times I’ve written for the SBC website, but let me state the premise that underlies what I’ll be saying. It is that the Culture War, first named by Pat Buchanan in a speech he delivered to the Republican National Convention twenty-one years ago, has been lost by mainstream conservatives and the social … More →
A couple of weeks ago, a wonderful coincidence struck me as I reviewed two articles for our site hours apart on the same day: Robert Hickson’s Complacent Sentries and the Sloth of Roaming Unrest and Gary Potter’s Glittering Images. The two articles were by men with very different styles, who can argue quite vociferously with one another, as real men with intelligence are wont to … More →
My tongue is not entirely in cheek when I say I have never been able to make up my mind about best-selling art critic and social commentator Camille Paglia. Is she really the bisexual leftwing atheist she professes herself to be? Or, is it possible that is a persona she has cleverly assumed, knowing that the views she often expresses would be derided, at best, … More →
In Sullied by Tarantino, “The Eye-Witness” roasts one of the day’s cinematographic sacred cows. Excerpt: No person alive today with a vestige of culture or Christianity, or simple common sense for that matter, would waste a moment’s thought on dung-flinger Quentin Tarantino. Why should anyone concern themselves with a perpetual adolescent and cinematic fake whose brain has been addled probably since infancy by gore and … More →
One wonders how reliable these polls are, even if conducted by Gallup. But, if it’s true that “seven of the world’s 10 countries with the most upbeat attitudes are in Latin America,” it’s not unreasonable to ask if the historical Catholic cultures of these nations — and the Philippines, which also ranked high — have something to do with it. In the dogmatic sense, there’s … More →