All posts by JonMarc Grodi

The Faith & the South
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The Faith & the South

September/October 2017: The Faith & the South

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Southern Catholics and Protestant Bias: Bishop John England’s 1839 Debate with Rev. Richard Fuller – Adam Tate

During every election season, articles appear discussing confirmation bias, pointing out that most people read news stories in ways that confirm their existing opinions while discarding pesky facts that challenge their beliefs. Writers realize that powerful narratives shape significantly what people hear and how they then act. Minority groups, however defined, often believe different narratives from the majority in order to make sense of their situation. They often find it difficult to be heard by the majority. Catholics in antebellum South Carolina and Georgia struggled to thrive as a small, poor, traditionally-mistrusted minority within a dynamic society. Largely, but not completely, Irish immigrants, they built churches, schools, and communities in the sprawling Southern landscape, usually in cities and small towns. The enormity of the material challenges combined with anti-Catholic prejudice presented a daunting task. Some historians have portrayed Catholic adaptation to life in the Old South as generally easy, recognizing Catholic collaboration with their neighbors and pointing out that most of the anti-Catholic violence during the antebellum period occurred outside the region.(1) But southern Catholics struggled mightily against deep prejudices. Many southerners believed history demonstrated that Catholicism was so corrupt and depraved that it precluded Catholics from being loyal, republican citizens. One logical response Catholics made, then, was to challenge popular historical narratives held by their non-Catholic neighbors.

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The Controversial Genius of Richard Wagner
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The Controversial Genius of Richard Wagner

July/August 2017: The Controversial Genius of Richard Wagner

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Richard Wagner’s Operas of Redemption and Salvation – by Henry Zeiter

Innumerable composers have written reli- gious music; to wit, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Bruckner’s Masses, Te Deums, Stabat Maters, Cantatas, Oratorios, and so on. They were all written for a few singers with a chorus. None of these works of religious art showed any dramatic motion, or acting out, making it impossible to consider them religious dra- mas, in the true sense of that term. Richard Wagner (1813–1883), during the late Romantic Period, filled that void with bril- liance.

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The World’s a Stage: The Drama of Faith
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The World’s a Stage: The Drama of Faith

May/June 2017: The World’s a Stage: The Drama of Faith

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“Reverence for the Gods in Antigone: Beyond Greek Humanism” – by Veronica A. Arntz

“Give me glory! What greater glory could I win than to give my own brother decent burial? These citizens here would all agree, they would praise me too if their lips weren’t locked in fear.”1 Sophocles’ Antigone boldly argues against her tyrant uncle, Creon, who, after assuming the throne of her father, Oedipus, proceeds to give a proper burial to only one of her brothers who fought in the war. Creon’s reasoning is that Eteocles died fighting for him, while Polynices fought on the opposite side, making him a traitor. Creon goes further and forbids anyone from burying the body of Polynices, but Antigone, bolder than her sister Ismene, proceeds to bury her brother despite the law. After disobeying Creon’s law, Antigone fearlessly faces her uncle’s anger and his threat of death.

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Wounded Beauty: Suffering & the Arts
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Wounded Beauty: Suffering & the Arts

March/April 2017: Wounded Beauty: Suffering & the Arts

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“A Note on the Problem of Evil” by John Beaumont

“The recent air crash in Colombia that resulted in the death of seventy-five people, including most of the Brazilian football team, Chapecoense, was a terrible tragedy. There was a little team triumphing against the major clubs and reaching the final of a continent wide competition for the first time. Now, such understandably great joy has been wiped out at a stroke. I watched a television news program dealing with the crash and its aftermath. There in the center of the screen was a young man, a supporter of the team, his arms raised skyward in supplication. The words he spoke, undoubtedly from the heart, were, “How could God allow this to happen?” He was voicing what is probably the most commonly raised objection to the existence of God, namely what is usually referred to as the problem of evil. Even more recently there has been the loss of life resulting from the crash of the Russian military plane carrying members of an army orchestra. Many people will be voicing similar sentiments at this time to the one reported above. Nevertheless, it is important to contest the implication behind them, which is that God does not exist.”

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The Baptized Imagination
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The Baptized Imagination

January/February 2017: The Baptized Imagination

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“The Narrow Way of the Catholic Writer” by Kevin Bezner

“For the many who consider themselves a Catholic writer today, Catholic and writer is a duality when what is required is a unity. The Church and the world needs writers who make the great effort it takes to seek the spiritual unity pursued by the Church Fathers as described by Irénée Hausherr in his classic work Penthos: “As long as they had not arrived at total peace through unification of instincts with will, of imagination with mind, then of will and mind with the divine will and truth, they persisted in blaming themselves and feeling themselves far from the health at which they aimed.”1 If you think this is only a path for clergy, religious, or monastics, consider also these words from Hausherr: “The monk . . . is not a special person. He merely claims to be taking Christianity seriously.”2 The health of Catholic writing and writers will not be restored until writers take their Catholicism as seriously as Hausherr’s monk.”

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Laughter & the Love of Friends
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Laughter & the Love of Friends

November/December 2016: Laughter & the Love of Friends

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“A New Head and a New Heart: Laughter in Life and Literature” by Maria Devlin

“In the film Sherlock Holmes, Holmes is hurt that his best friend Dr. Watson is moving out to get married. When he meets Watson’s fiancée, Mary, he deliberately insults her. Perhaps as he’d hoped, Mary immediately walks out. Unfortunately, so does Watson. The next day, during a sullen carriage ride, Watson demands that Holmes return the waistcoat he once gave him. It looks for a moment as though the bridges are burned—until Watson tosses the waist- coat out the window and, with a faint smirk, catches Holmes’s eye. His repaying Holmes with a joke tells us that their friend- ship is still intact.”

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Shakespeare 1616-2016
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Shakespeare 1616-2016

March/April 2016: Shakespeare 1616-2016

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What Shakespeare’s Editors Don’t Know – by Frank Brownlow

People have been saying that Shakespeare was a Catholic for a long time. Newman thought so, and his contemporary Richard Simpson, St. Edmund Campion’s biogra- pher, was the first scholar to assemble the evidence. In the last twenty-five years or so the sheer pressure of that evidence has lead a fair number of Shakespeare scholars to concede that Shakespeare had a Catholic upbringing. But the idea that, unlike John Donne, he remained Catholic has so far proved unacceptable.

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