Friday, July 04, 2014

The Loss of Beauty, the Gain of Atheism

Benedict XVI mentioned beauty quite a bit, saying that it was an essential element of the liturgy.  The iconoclasts like Rembert Weakland didn't think so highly of beauty.

Maybe they had a deeper problem than mere iconoclasm.

...The most precious, profound and important of the great ideas which the Left has raped from us is beauty. I need spend no time on the proposition that life without beauty is a nightmare: those who have seen true beauty – sublime beauty, if even for a moment – have nothing to which they can liken it except the ecstasies of mystics and the transports of saints. Beauty consoles the sorrowing; beauty brings joy and deepens understanding; beauty is like food and wine, and men who live surrounded by ugliness become shriveled and starved in their souls....

....At any point before World War One, if you asked any philosopher or intellectual what was the point of art, poetry, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, all of them of each generation all the way back to Socrates would have said the purpose of art is to seek beauty. Socrates himself would have said that by beauty, by the strong love and longing created in the human breast at the sight of something sublime, we are drawn out of ourselves, and are carried step by step away from the mundane to the divine.

The strongest argument against the atheism so beloved of the Left is not an argument that can be put in words, for it is the argument of beauty....If you see a sunset clothed in scarlet like a king descending to his empurpled pyre, or wonder at the gleaming thunder of a waterfall, if you find yourself fascinated by the soft intricacy of a crimson rose or behold the cold virgin majesty of the morning star, much less see and enter a cathedral or a walled garden, or you hear Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven or see the David of Michelangelo, or become immersed into the song and splendor and Northern sorrow of Wagner’s “Ring” or Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, if indeed you see real beauty and for a moment you forget yourself, then you are drawn out of yourself into something larger.

In that timeless moment of sublime rapture, the heart knows even if the head cannot put it into words that the dull and quotidian world of betrayal, pain, disappointment and sorrow is not the only world there is. Beauty points to a world beyond this world, a higher realm, a country of joy where there is no death. Beauty points to the divine.

Ari's trio:  truth, beauty, goodness, have all been derogated or, worse, abrogated in most of today's liturgy.  Chant is sublime, but unknown to 95% of Catholic children under the age of 12, and unknown to well over 80% of the Mass-goers between the ages of 25-60. 

In the essay, the author posits that the atheist hates beauty because it's not egalitarian.  Hmmmm.  So, in their rush to 'egalitarize' the Mass--and we know that was the object--did the commissions and cooperating Bishops betray their real problem?

You decide.

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