Beliefs and Practices

St Athanasius

A 7 Quick Takes post as hosted at This Ain’t the Lyceum


Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us “in mystery” by the tradition of the Apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will contradict; – no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in these matters… St. Athansius On the Holy Spirit 27 .


This has been a strange two weeks on many levels.  First and foremost, by any of my past history in this fair city in Colorado, we’ve had a LOT of snow.  Over this past weekend we had close to 14” in my driveway.  Shoveling that out, at my age, was no fun, even when done in two shifts.  There was more shoveling yesterday morning, after two more inches fell; we were trying to stay ahead of the snow this time.  On top of that, we had another inch of snow last night and are expecting heavy snow, perhaps up to 3” or more starting late this afternoon.  Then we get a short break before more snow is forecast for Saturday afternoon and Sunday.  Won’t be going very far for the next few days.  


More troubling, we have a President who seems to more and more feel less bound by the convention that the American president have some remnant of the Christian faith about him.  In fact, he seems increasingly willing to align himself with the Muslim camp, and the media os perfectly OK with that.  Scott Walker was asked if he thought B.O. was a Christian and got hammered for offering the absolutely correct answer, the only answer anyone can give: “I don’t know.”  Somehow, that answer became national news, for no reason other than that it offended the media’s sensibilities in some way or other.  I confess, I think I understand less and less of what’s happening these days – and I don’t think I’m the one that’s crazy.


We have a new Doctor of the Church, from, I gather, the Armenian branch of the Eastern Church which was accepted into full communion with Rome back in the late 19th century.  I think the only thing that surprises me about this is that there hasn’t been a hew and cry from the very conservative Catholic blog world.  There actually has been very little comment either way about the subject and that, I think, is a good thing.  We need to find wisdom where ever it can be found.


I came across an interesting article yesterday on the always excellent Crisis website.  The point of it is that we need some adult supervision; we need to drop our fear our fear of making judgements about the goodness of things.  To say, flat out, someone’s choice of actions or lifestyles is either good or bad, is to be “judgmental”, and therefore, mean-spirited.  It seems the Archbishop of New York may have fallen into this trap concerning the upcoming St. Patricks Day parade in New York City, which is quite disappointing.  Here’s a quote, read the rest HERE

“Judgment is an essential component of the exercise of authority. If you do not have the courage to judge, then you should avoid positions of authority. Not being judgmental is a curse of our age. When I cautioned my teenagers not to hang out with so and so, the standard response was ‘Oh, Dad, you are so judgmental!’ Not to judge is a dereliction of duty that afflicts so much of the Church’s hierarchy. It obscures our Lord’s message, sows confusion among the faithful, and undermines lay efforts to fight against the perversions of the day.”


I also found an interesting article, linked from the First Things website, about one of my favorite whipping boys these days, the sad state of classical, and especially, sacred classical music.  To me, it seems there is no one writing modern classical music who understands the first thing of what such music is about.  The story is actually from a UK site called Standpoint and I was pleasantly surprised at what the article had to say, given what I understand to be the almost universal loss of the Christian faith in Britain today.  Here’s just one example

“Musical modernism is what was left behind after the feelings which motivated the great classical composers had dissipated. What you are hearing in the dysfunctional harmony and unattractive groans of Harrison Birtwistle and his many imitators is a massive God-shaped hole, where once natural authority and faith resided. This is what “atonal” music really is: a loss of faith, and this is why anyone who counteracts its dominance is quickly condemned as “naive”, in just the same manner as those who continue to hold religious convictions in a scientific age. It is what has led composers such as Robin Holloway to confess that “all we like sheep have dumbly concurred in the rightness of [Schoenberg’s] stance; against the evidence of our senses and our instincts”.

That’s the problem in a nutshell.  Read the entire story HERE.


I’ve worked very hard today to avoid making this whole post little more than a rant.  I’m not sure I’ve succeeded but I promise to try to do better next week.


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