"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
I followed the link from your posting to Second Spring and the article by its editor.
It left me uneasy...It makes a bit of a jumble of aesthetics and morality [for lack of a better word at the moment]. Little clarity about the distinctions between them. The muddle is owed, in part, to the fact that he is writing for the choir. Outside of that shared culture--which takes assent for granted on a host of premises and assertions---the article is something of a dog's breakfast. He mixes Beauty with beauty. It doesn't take a Platonist to recognize the lumps in that pudding.
Mary may, indeed, be the heart of creation, a shining Temple. But why is it that images of her tend to be so treacley, so insipid, repetitious and dull? The beauty of the message does not necessarily translate into beautiful imagery. [I am thinking of the weakness of Gaugin's crucifixion against the quite powerful one by Beckmann. G. was a believer; B. was not.]
Stories of Nazi commandants reading Rilke or contemplating Mozart have been told ad nauseam. A highly developed love of beauty extended to an appreciation of the design efficiency of the gas chambers and Zyklon B gas. What are the ethical connections between the perfection of the work [the thing of beauty] and the perfection of human life. Where do they reside?
The essay doesn't say...
In that same issue of Second Spring is a quite wonderful essay "There is No Such Thing as Ordinary Time" by a Fr. Randolph. I wince every time I see the term "ordinary time" in our disposable missals. So does Francis Randolph, God bless him.