Subscribe via RSS Feed
Review of Exodus: Gods and Kings

Review of Exodus: Gods and Kings

Reviewed by: Lyle Dunne Christian Bale’s Moses... takes a 21st-century view of plagues and smiting, and thus his relationship with God ...

Continue Reading >>

Review of The Vatican Museums

Review of The Vatican Museums

by Lyle Dunne The Zeitgeist was always going to intrude. But the good news is that the reality of unfashionable but ...

Continue Reading >>

Found, not Manufactured: Newman, the Roman Rite, and Cranmer’s Prayer Book

Found, not Manufactured: Newman, the Roman Rite, and Cranmer's Prayer Book

The Inaugural Blessed John Henry Newman Lecture was delivered by Dr Stephen McInerney (Senior Lecturer in Literature, Campion College). ...the Oxford Movement ...

Continue Reading >>

The Teen Genius Who Set the Faith to Music

The Teen Genius Who Set the Faith to Music

by R. J. Stove, reprinted by kind permission of the UK Catholic Herald. Mendelssohn’s extraordinary Catholic-inspired works O for a beaker-full of ...

Continue Reading >>

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner – and Feel a Bit Ambivalent About the Synod

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner – and Feel a Bit Ambivalent About the Synod

by Lyle Dunne ...it struck me that this proposal to wink at widespread sacrilegious communion could not have been made, let ...

Continue Reading >>

Buying Back the Farm: the TLM in Limerick

Gary Scarrabelotti 12 December, 2014 0 Comments

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.

(more…)

Continue Reading »

Review of Exodus: Gods and Kings

Gary Scarrabelotti 12 December, 2014 0 Comments

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.

Dark Days (Photo: itsartmag.com)

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…)

Continue Reading »

Review of The Vatican Museums

Gary Scarrabelotti 14 November, 2014 0 Comments

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.

If I see that shot of that door opening one more time...(photo: Rymill films)

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.

(more…)

Continue Reading »

Latin as I Please X – November 2014

Gary Scarrabelotti 11 November, 2014 0 Comments

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…)

Continue Reading »

Found, not Manufactured: Newman, the Roman Rite, and Cranmer’s Prayer Book

Gary Scarrabelotti 11 November, 2014 0 Comments

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.

Over fifty years ago, as he reflected on the legacy of John Henry Newman, Fr Frank O’Malley asked: “What was the spirit of this man who is with us a constant reference and a standard and a sign?” By way of an answer, he pointed to something that few Newman scholars before or since have sought to highlight:

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)

It was as an Anglican that “the liturgical character of existence” first impressed itself upon Newman. On the eve of his fourteenth birthday his mother made him a gift of The Book of Common Prayer – or would have done had he not preempted her offer by buying the book himself for her to give to him, which she then did “without saying a word”, bemused no doubt by her “impatient headstrong” boy. (3) From the time of his ordination he preached regularly on the importance of the sacraments and the indispensability of public prayer, eventually coming to believe that the Church’s public prayer was the means through which the Church is visibly manifested in time and space. And during the early years of the Oxford Movement he came to regard the Prayer Book as the depository of Apostolic teaching in England, and a sure sign that the Anglican Communion belonged to and expressed the Catholic Faith – a belief he would gradually question.
Newman was known to celebrate the services of the Church with great care and devotion, (4) and to encourage the faithful to attend them regularly, believing (as Donald Withey writes) “the daily office and frequent celebration of communion to be of the essence of the life of the Church”. (5) “Religious worship”, Newman would assert, “supplies all our spiritual need…[and] suits every mood of mind and variety of circumstance”. (6) At Littlemore, as Pusey recounted in 1837, during parts of the Daily Service Newman followed the ancient practice of kneeling “towards the East, the same way as the congregation, turning to the congregation in the parts directed to them”, (7) though he always retained the protestant practice of celebrating the Sunday Communion at the north end of the holy table. (8) Although he was not principally concerned with ritualism, (9) he had a great appreciation for the importance of outward forms of public prayer and the liturgical cycle whose yearly round impressed the “great revealed verities”(10) of the Faith onto the memories and imaginations of the faithful.

High Mass for All Souls at the Birmingham Oratory (Ohoto: Rorate Caeli)

<read on>

Continue Reading »