Flannery O’Connor, early in her career, famously attended a party of the Catholic intellectual elite in New York City, during which the consensus of the group emerged that the Eucharist was, whatever their doubts about the doctrine of transubstantiation, still a useful symbol, worthy of admiration if not really the assent of deeply held faith.
Beth Griffin at Catholic News Service has this story about the state of liturgical music, the difficulty in funding good music programs, etc. (h/t Rocco.) I am not one of those who thinks we should look to the entertainment world for liturgical templates, but when someone tells me they love or hate the liturgy at their parish, their opinion is usually determined by the quality of the preaching and the quality of the music. The two can and should go together as well.
Last summer, I wrote these words:
Longtime NCR readers may be familiar with the writing of William Bole, who wrote a column for the paper some years back. Here is a link to a post on his blog about the recent conference on climate change that was held at Catholic University at the beginning of the month.
This article in The Atlantic reports on the on-going efforts to clean up after Sandy destroyed much of the neighborhoods along the shore in New York and New Jersey. The article captures a whole lot more, too, because it is written with a keen observational eye that belongs to a young writer who used to work for me as a waiter at Kramerbooks & Afterwords here in Washington. Nicholas Brown is a writer with a future.
The United Nations yesterday voted, by a lopsided margin, to grant the Palestinian Authority the status of Non-Member Observer State. The United States was joined by only eight other nations in opposing the measure. 138 nations voted for it. The Holy See, which now shares the same status as the Palestinian Authority, said that it welcomed the change. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas clapped in the audience when the vote was announced.
A long-standing crime in the nation's capital has been brought to an end: The Kennedy Center Concert Hall finally has a new organ.
I hate to admit it, but I LOVE reading article by George Neumayr like this one at RealClearReligion about how Obama "bamboozled" Catholic voters. In one piece he manages to question the integrity of John Carr, the sagacity of Bishop Stephen Blaire, borrow a metaphor that has its origins in Fascist Spanish military strategy, suggest many, un-named bishops were 'useful idiots" to Obama, and characterize Sisters Carol Keehan and Simone Campbell as propagandists.
Amy Sullivan at The New Republic discusses the very good news about the drop in the abortion rate and also calls out pro-life activists who seem uninterested in this news. One has the feeling that these groups - National Right-to-Life, American Life League, LifeSiteNews - are more interested in their institutional preservation (and GOP affiliation) than they are in accomplishing anything substantive like, I don't know, lowering the abortion rate.
I was distressed this morning to see the headline on my friend E. J. Dionne’s column: “Democrats need their own Grover.” Of course, writers do not select their own headlines, editors do that, so E.J. is not responsible for this headline, nor does his article really claim that Democrats need a liberal equivalent of Mr.