THE INADEQUACY OF PHOTOREALISM
“Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all are come.” – Michelangelo Buonarroti
In contemporary art history, modernist theory has always maintained that the goals of figurative arts, both sacred and secular, were a linear objective of achieving similitude—the likeness of the object or image perceived. With the invention of the photograph, this presumed goal was not only achieved but pictorial realism and the photo became quasi-synonymous.
This Darwinian thinking is perhaps why those artistic achievements of naturalism and idealism of form began to all but disappear from both secular and sacred art. This linear thinking held that, with the invention of the camera, all art was free from its former goal of copying the model, from a goal of exactitude with what was considered an idealized form. Compounded with the advent of pictorialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the line between photography and art became all too close. Then, with the dawn of impressionism, both it and realism soon replaced the naturalism of painting or drawing from life, along with invention and any use of idealism. The New Realism was king.
Finally I decided to do something about it: I went on pilgrimage.
A personal note from the editor
Loyal readers will have noticed that not much new has appeared in these pages in recent times. This is due to a number of factors, including a technical hitch that prevented the site from appearing in its proper format (thanks to the unsung tech guys for fixing that), but mainly a disenchantment with the state of affairs in Rome – at best, a kind of “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything” sentiment – and an associated spiritual malaise.
Finally I decided to do something about it: I went on pilgrimage. Specifically, the Christus Rex Pilgrimage (see www.crex.org) which commences in Ballarat and culminates in Bendigo with Mass for the Feast of Christ the King. This pilgrimage, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015, is the biggest event in traditional Catholicism in Australia.
Photo: Patrick Giam
While it’s true the pilgrimage commences in Ballarat, I didn’t. The bad news is that the pace of pilgrimage is such that I decided I couldn’t sustain it for 3 days. The good news is there are plenty of young people – and one or two not so young, see below – who can. I joined at about the mid-point, midday Mass at Campbelltown on the Saturday.
This is a great resource for dealing with people who still don’t “get” the Extraordinary Form – Ed.
An important lecture by Dr. Kwasniewski, author of Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church, reprinted in Rorate Caeli, September 2015
Why has the liturgical reform of the 1960s and 1970s failed to produce a new springtime in the Church? What, in contrast, is the secret of the old Latin Mass’s appeal—the reason or reasons for its suprising resurgence in our day, when most of the people who celebrate or attend it were born after 1970?
Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.
“From the beginning it was not so” (Mt 19: 8)
The unchangeable truth about marriage and sexuality
This talk was given by Bishop Athanasius Schneider in Albury in June 2015 – Ed.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Word and the eternal Truth in person, restored the original dignity of human nature in a most wonderful manner (“Qui dignitatem humanae substantiae mirabilius reformasti”), and also the sexuality of the human being, which was created in a wonderful manner in the beginning (“mirabiliter condidisti”). The fall into sin had wounded the dignity of human sexuality. Because of the hard-heartedness of fallen man, Moses even introduced divorce, contrary to the absolute indissolubility of marriage which God had commanded. Although the Pharisees and Scribes had known the Divine truth about marriage from the beginning, they nevertheless endeavored to obtain from Jesus, as a well-known and recognized teacher, the legitimization of the practice of divorce, a practice which was already widely adopted in those times, perhaps out of “pastoral reasons”. (more…)
A new translation of this important article about Archbishop Lefebvre has just been published in Rorate Caeli, revealing some background many will not be familiar with – Ed.
The popularity… which Archbishop Lefebvre stills enjoys in so-called “liberated” Africa is proof enough that one cannot be satisfied with sticking people into ready-made pigeon holes.
By Louis Boyer (1978), Rorate Caeli tr. John M Pepino (2015)
What has come to be called “the Lefebvre affair” deserves a close investigation. At first glance, one may think that it reveals only the somewhat strange mentality, a ghetto mentality, of Catholics who are incapable of coming out of their isolation, of their life within a closed community in a safeguarded dream. In reality, once one examines it seriously, it reveals a deep malaise in French Catholicism and, therefore, in French society as a whole. And it would be a mistake to believe that this malaise is a recent one: it goes back a long way and its symptoms will never be healed so long as we refuse to go back to its sources.