By Lyle Dunne
Traditionalists in Limerick must be beginning to think of the GFC as an ill wind that has certainly blown them good.
When I was in Ireland a few years ago, I was thrilled to discover the interior of the Church in the town of my ancestors had been preserved from modernisers – pulpit, altar rails and all! But it was not through the actions of parishioners motivated by a respect for beauty or tradition, but the secular authorities – specifically the government guardians of architectural heritage. The pulpit, it seemed, was of particular historical significance because of a relief portrait on the front of the priest who raised the funds to erect the Church! (One tends to forget how recent most Catholic churches in Ireland are: neither of the two ancient cathedrals of Dublin is now in the hands of the Catholic Church.)
A narrow squeak, I thought. You can never go back, they say. It’s no use bemoaning the past. In the words of the Irish song The Town I Loved So Well:
For what’s done is done and what’s won is won
and what’s lost is lost and gone forever
I can only pray for a bright, brand new day
in the town I loved so well
Well, not always forever.
Reviewed by: Lyle Dunne
Christian Bale’s Moses… takes a 21st-century view of plagues and smiting, and thus his relationship with God doesn’t really develop, though they do seem later to agree that Commandments might be useful.
Spoiler alert: the Jews get away.
With a story like this, the director is at a disadvantage: everyone knows the ending.
Moreover, people come to it with a variety of expectations; the film has been controversial in a couple of respects.
Most of the fuss was about casting well-known actors (who tend ipso facto to be Americans, though English actors are included, and even Australians like Joel Edgerton as the Pharaoh Rameses) in the major roles. Dark make-up worn by Caucasian actors playing non-Caucasians is particularly politically incorrect (except in the case of Chris Lilley in Jonah from Tonga – but that’s on the ABC). Yet it’s hard to argue with Director Ridley Scott’s defence that it would be impossible to finance a film of this magnitude with unknown but ethnically-appropriate actors. (One might also query what sort of audience it would attract.)
Downplaying the miraculous?
There was also a concern that Scott, variously self-described as an atheist or (more recently) an agnostic, would downplay the miraculous, providing natural explanations for the plagues of Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. Watching the movie, I had the sense that Scott was not only aware of this concern, but had milked it for advance publicity, and was using it for dramatic effect, to counter the fact that everyone knows the story. Thus God (or rather, a messenger from God, disembodied voices being a bit too Cecil B De Mille) speaks from, or at least appears near, the burning bush – but as Moses has just suffered a blow to the head, we’re not sure if he’s imagining it. (more…)
by Lyle Dunne
The Zeitgeist was always going to intrude. But the good news is that the reality of unfashionable but undeniable naked beauty blows it out of the water, and in the process knocks the Whig theory of history into a cocked hat.
The Vatican Museums in 3D is a welcome extension of the welcome development of using the cinema to provide broader access to “high” culture such as opera productions from London or New York.
It is entirely fitting that the Vatican Museum should be at the forefront of this trend – and not altogether surprising, given that Church’s interests are perhaps less commercial than other major museums.
(One should mention The Russian Ark, made in 2002, filmed in the Hermitage in a single amazing 87-minute shot; this however was not a documentary in the same sense, there was more focus on the palace and its history and less on the works themselves – and it did not use the same extraordinary ultra-high-definition 3D technology.)
The technical skills employed in bringing this work to the screen are literally astonishing. So astonishing, alas, that the film-makers, in my view, got a little carried away.
by David Daintree
English is naturally more verbose than Latin, which can sound abrupt and terse if translated verbatim.
Last time, taking a change of direction from grammar to literary exegesis (you might call that grammar in action) we looked at St Thomas Aquinas’s lovely hymn Verbum supernum prodiens. This time, I propose to discuss a sacred poem affectionately known as the Rosy Sequence. Its inspiration lay in St Bernadino’s cult of the Holy Name of Jesus and it was written for that Feast. Its authorship was long ascribed to St Bernard of Clairvaux, and that could be correct, but it seems to have originated in England (it was included in the Sarum rite) and is usually now considered to be the work of an anonymous English Cistercian. (more…)
The Inaugural Blessed John Henry Newman Lecture was delivered by Dr Stephen McInerney (Senior Lecturer in Literature, Campion College).
…the Oxford Movement emerged in large part as a reaction against proposed alterations to the Anglican liturgy, albeit within the larger context of political and social reform deplored by the founders of the Movement – John Keble, Edward Pusey, Richard Hurrell Froude and John Henry Newman. It was, from its inception, what we in the Catholic Church today might recognize as a traditionalist movement.
the spirit of Newman moved within the spirit of the liturgy, the liturgy thought of in its most significant sense as the very rhythm of Christian existence, stirred and centred by the life of Christ. Newman absorbed the liturgical character of existence. He lived by the liturgy. (2)