Tag: modernism

Notre Dame Cathedral Gets Disney Makeover


Some plans have leaked for the reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral (you know, the one that was hit by a devastating fire that in no way symbolized anything). They call for removing confessional boxes, altars, and classical sculptures and replacing them with a light show of scriptures projected on the walls, modern art murals with more sounds and light to create “emotional spaces,” a “discovery trail” of 14 themed chapels with an emphasis on Africa and Asia, and an environmentally-themed chapel. I am not making this up.

Some critics see this as desecration of a sacred space. On the other hand, if the goal is to gut the place of items of religious significance and replace them with trendy performance art, a lecture on diversity, and an altar to Gaia, I think they’ve absolutely nailed the Roman Catholic Church in the 21st Century.

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Ask an academic preservationist why Penn Station‘s demolition was a tragedy, and most will have no answer. A few may quibble with the premise. The cleverer among them might say, “Because New Yorkers didn’t want it to be destroyed.” But pose the natural question, “Why didn’t New Yorkers want it to be destroyed?” and the […]

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My Response to a Modernist


WIth the death of Billy Graham, there was discussion about various responses people made to the theological modernists. The Reader is a free Chicago weekly magazine and 1989 they published an interview with Thomas Sheehan. It sparked many letters, including one from me which may be of interest to Ricochetti:

The full original interview is here. The first three paragraphs are:

Why Billy Graham Matters


In the early 1900s new ideas began to take root from Germany. Instead of starting with the Bible as the source of authority and working out to change lives and culture, we should begin with the authority of the Enlightenment — reason, scientific method, and literary criticism — and mold the Bible to its conclusions. The result of this movement is called modernism or liberal theology where one was free to rearrange any doctrine from the virgin birth to the resurrection to the writings of Paul according to this presumably higher criticism of truth.

In response to this movement Bible believers financed and distributed to churches a volume of books called The Fundamentals enumerating historical Christian beliefs in an attempt to push back this new onslaught. The Bible was God’s revelation and therefore its truths and teaching should prevail. Those behind this way of thinking about the Bible were called Fundamentalists.

During those days of debate, both sides of the schism, Liberals and Fundamentalists, were mainline churches. Neither took on the emotional baggage these words may produce today. Liberals pushed towards an intellectual honesty that produced a Jesus so neutered that he really wasn’t much of a savior. Fundamentalists held fast towards the most literal interpretations possible.

Mod.pod.: Wallace Stevens, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird


Today, Caitlin and I move to the poetic teaching of Wallace Stevens. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird is one of the puzzling statements in modern American poetry. It reveals the need for a new poetry that can, by image and by reasoning, recall our basic experiences and articulate our humanity in terms of our perennial temptation to make metaphors. The good and bad news Stevens brings is this: our intellect works in the element of the imagination.

Mod.pod: Wallace Stevens, The Idea of Order at Key West


The Modern Poetry Podcast is back. Our own @langevine, Caitlin, joins me to talk about The Idea of Order at Key West, the most beautiful of the poems of Wallace Stevens — American modernist, businessman, winner of the Pulitzer, and the most eminent figure to be pummeled savagely by Hemingway. Next week, we’re publishing our thoughts on 13 ways of looking at a blackbird. Please listen, share, comment, and rate/review us on iTunes.

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Hello, everyone, the poe.pod series on Ezra Pound’s poetic art continues with a discussion of his comic sense of the relation between beauty & shame. My friend Felix & I are trying to bring out his allusions to love poetry in the Western tradition & his attempt to show how poetry emerges from the conflict of […]

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