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The Teen Genius Who Set the Faith to Music

Gary Scarrabelotti 8 November, 2014 0 Comments
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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 the warm South – John Keats

Even the freakishly well-read Felix Mendelssohn (he used the double-barrel appellation ‘Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’ with reluctance, when he used it at all) seems not to have known Keats’s poems. But Italy exercised over the composer, as over the poet, an irresistible magnetic pull. During 1830, the year he turned 21, he ceased his efforts at defying it. To his father Abraham, without whom the trip would have remained financially impossible, Felix wrote from Venice in October:

This is Italy! And now has begun what I have always thought… to be the supreme joy in life. And I am loving it. Today was so rich that now, in the evening, I must collect myself a little, and so I am writing to you to thank you, dear parents, for having given me all this happiness.

No stranger to foreign parts (he had already made that voyage to Scotland which moved him to compose The Hebrides overture), the young Mendelssohn prepared himself for Italian climes with typically self-punitive thoroughness. By the time he ventured from home, he had acquired a knowledge of Catholicism’s sacred music – Palestrina’s, above all – which, even then, put many an actual Catholic to the blush. Still more striking is the hold which Catholic culture had already begun to exercise upon his creative imagination when he had not yet left his teens. (more…)

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

Gary Scarrabelotti 30 October, 2014 0 Comments
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by Lyle Dunne

…it struck me that this proposal to wink at widespread sacrilegious communion could not have been made, let alone widely accepted, without fifty years of bad liturgy

So the Synod is over – for this year – and the forces of darkness have apparently been put to rout.

I have enough faith not to feel relief at avoiding the apparent dangers of the Church reversing its ancestral teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, or declaring homosexual acts to be not sinful after all. But I was relieved that we didn’t adopt “language” indicating that we didn’t really mean those teachings – or not as much as we used to.

For this, I believe, we have (from the human perspective) Cardinal Kasper to thank.

Mugged by Reality? (Photo: Tony Gentile/Reuters)


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Mercy vs truth? a Response to Fr McGavin

Gary Scarrabelotti 2 October, 2014 1 Comment
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By Lyle Dunne.

One could perhaps speak of a “marriage” having ended – but not a “marriage” in the main Catholic sense:  not the sacrament.

This is a companion piece to in The Family Synod and Practical Atheism, and contains a slightly more detailed response to the article by Father McGavin.

I may as well begin by nailing my colours to the mast.

When people say “You only believe this because you’re a Catholic”, I think the best response is something like this:

“You’re probably right. If I were like most people these days, I’d probably just work out what I wanted to do and retro-fit a rationale. But I belong to a tradition which teaches that the truth is knowable by reason, that moral truth is real and we have a duty to use our intellects to discover it.

“Catholics don’t spend their time arguing that the evidence of our senses can’t be trusted, or the rules of inference are arbitrary. We don’t hold that an all-powerful God can contradict Himself if he likes.

“As GK Chesterton might’ve said, Catholicism is more rational than rationalism.”


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The Family Synod and Practical Atheism

Gary Scarrabelotti 2 October, 2014 1 Comment
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By Lyle Dunne

Pastoral concerns seem to focus on emotional states and feelings of inclusivity as ends in themselves, rather than looking toward salvation as the final aim.

Be afraid

I’ve been reflecting further on (and worrying about) the forthcoming Bishops’ Synod on the family, and in particular the “Kasper Theorem”.

I’ve had a conversation with an optimistic friend who put to me the view that eternal truth is big enough to look after itself, and the one thing we can be sure will not emerge from the summit, sorry synod, is the formal adoption of heresy.

That’s true, but I’m still worried, for reasons I’ll elaborate.


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Cardinal Burke on the Integrity of Marriage and the Family

Gary Scarrabelotti 23 September, 2014 0 Comments
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By Raymond Cardinal Burke

Even within the Church, there are those who would obscure the truth of the indissolubility of marriage in the name of mercy, who condone the violation of the conjugal union by means of contraception in the name of pastoral understanding, and who, in the name of tolerance, remain silent about the attack on the very integrity of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. There are even those, too, who deny that the married receive a particular grace to live heroically in faithful, enduring and life-giving love, while Our Lord Himself has assured us that God gives to the married the grace to live daily in accord with the truth of their state in life.

These are topics that are exciting controversy in both secular and ecclesiastical circles at present, in the lead-up to the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family, commencing on 5 October, at which it seems the “Kasper Theorem” will be a key agenda item. Readers will recall Tony Pead’s article from May on this subject, in which he discussed Cardinal Burke’s comments re-affirming traditional Catholic teaching on this subject.

The following is the text of a talk that was to be delivered by Cardinal Burke at the opening of the World Congress of Families in Melbourne during his recent visit. Unfortunately the talk was not able to be delivered.

Readers should be aware the article is considerably longer than pieces we usually run in Oriens. However I can assure you the content is of the first importance, and extremely timely.

Those who wish to access a pdf of this talk can do so at the website of the Newman Parish Caulfield, here.

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