Month: March 2004

“[T]he gifts of the heart cannot be separated from those of the intelligence; those who have drawn a distinction between them, possessed neither.” Flaubert… Read the rest

When asked whether he ever felt embarrassed to meet artists whose work he has criticized, an art critic of high standards replied, “Not at all. They ought to be embarrassed for producing such wretched art.” Reminds me a little bit of a movie critic (again, of high standards) who wrote disparagingly about an aspect of an actress’s anatomy, which she had bared in a movie. When the actress complained, he replied, “If you don’t want them reviewed, don’t bare them.”… Read the rest

Weekdays with Maury

The free-sex mantras from the 1960s are common knowledge today: Get over the hang-ups; love everybody; share your body with everybody. Once everybody gets over these hang-ups and taboos about sex, society will make a real breakthrough in peace and love.

Austin Powers’ views on living, in other words.

I’d like to make unrepentant proponents of these views watch hours of “He’s my baby’s Daddy but denies it” and “She gave me VD” episodes of The Maury Povitch Show. If they sit through three hours of this stuff and refuse to get on their knees and sign a recantation, they must, I fear, be taken outside and shot. … Read the rest

Orestes

Orestes Brownson was mostly a kind man, his made-for-public-consumption polemics notwithstanding. He was tenderly affectionate toward his wife and children and had many friends. He was deeply devoted to God; after his conversion, always writing with a crucifix in front of him and a statue of the Virgin Mary at his side.

He was also an untiring philosopher. In his pursuit of truth, he mastered foreign languages and read volumes of the best thinkers in Western Civilization, from Plato to Kant, in their native tongues. Wherever the truth took him, he went.

His pursuit eventually took him into the Catholic Church, an extremely odd journey for an intellectual in nineteenth-century Protestant America. Catholicism was exotic. Brownson had never even seen a Catholic church until his early twenties and, true to the temperament of the age, gave Catholicism little thought. He was probably a little taken back when his friend, Daniel Webster, saw him idly glancing at some Catholic works in a used bookstore and warned him, “Take care how you examine the Catholic Church, unless you are willing to become a Catholic, for Catholic doctrines are logical.”

It is telling that, when he was already highly-Catholic in his ideas and writings, Brownson was totally unaware of it until a Catholic journal re-produced one of his articles. He was somewhat stunned as he suddenly realized that his studies and ideas had unwittingly brought him to the threshold of “Catholicity” (his word). After he realized this, he investigated the possibility of conversion, but got cold feet and delayed his entry for a year.

The reason for the delay? He didn’t want to ostracize or hurt … Read the rest