Culture: March 2009 Archives

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is supporting a change in law that would open the door to Catholics being a monarch. But this may also open the door to a Muslim or a Hindu being a King or Queen of England. Interesting. Read about it. But there's criticism, too.

The Act of Settlement and the Protestant Succession

Presence in the blogosphere

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Sometimes I get weary about blogging because of the time it takes and some days it seems so boring. So I ask questions like: is it useful, for whom am I writing, for what reason, is this just an ego-trip, etc. I came across a few lines of Pope John Paul II which gives me slight encouragement. He said:


The special challenge before you, is to find ways to ensure that the voice of the Church is not marginalized or silenced in the modern arena of the media. You have a role to play in ensuring that the Gospel is not confined to a strictly private world. No! Jesus Christ must be proclaimed to the whole world; and therefore the Church must enter the great forum of the media with courage and confidence.

I am the Great Sun

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I am the Great Sun

(from a Normandy crucifix of 1632)


I am the great sun, but you do not see me,

I am your husband, but you turn away.

I am the captive, but you do not free me,

I am the captain you will not obey.


I am the truth, but you will not believe me,

I am the city where you will not stay.

I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me,

I am that God to whom you will not pray.


I am your counsel, but you do not hear me,

I am the lover whom you will betray.

I am the victor, but you will not cheer me,

I am the holy dove whom you will slay.


I am your life, but you will not name me,

Seal up your soul with tears, and never blame me.


Charles Causely


Charles Causley.jpgCharles Causley was born and has lived, apart from six years in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, in Launceston, Cornwall. In 1990 he was awarded the Ingersol/TS Eliot Award, given to authors "of abiding importance whose work affirms the moral principles of western civilization." This poem appears in Collected Poems, published by Macmillan. Dr. Ron Thomas assistant professor of theology at Belmont Abbey College wrote the meditations for the Way of the Cross published this Spring (2009) and this poem is included therein.

Shouts in the Piazza

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In case you're hearing noises from THE piazza, or just from your computer's speakers, you should know that the ever effervescent Father Guy Selvester has resumed his blog, Shouts in the Piazza. He took the last few months off from blogging.


GSelvester.JPGFather Selvester is a parish priest of the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey, an Oblate of Saint Benedict, an heraldic artist (an expert in coats of arms) and a friend. About two years ago we collaborated on some voice work when I was an editor at the Catholic Information Service at the Knights of Columbus; he lent his voice for the proclamation of the faith by reading the booklets on the faith for audio found on the CIS website.


He brings wit and wisdom to the often dowdy blogosphere. You will see on Shouts in the Piazza a lot about ecclesiastical heraldry, some stuff about Church life in general, his own thoughts, homilies, etc.

GVittadini.jpgLast autumn,, an internet news portal edited by the Foundation of Subsidiarity directed by Giorgio Vittadini, sponsored a special "On the Spot" section with articles from US-based writers on aspects of the presidential election. This was a start for what will now be a new regular English-language section of the site.

Fnd Subsid.jpgThe editors are happy to announce the birth of the English section of the daily "Il Sussidiario" divided in three sections: Politics & Society, Economy & Finance, Culture, Religion & Science.

Add this link to your favorites:

The "On the Spot" section will feature news and opinion pieces on all aspects of life in the USA and English speaking countries, with our particular judgment on events. (N.B. Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete writes a column every week). It will include interviews and articles from experts as well as regular reporters.

Looking for writers. There is a need to produce at least two or three original articles weekly of about 450-650 words. In addition, some of the articles would be translated into Italian for a daily audience of 3000 people.

If you would like to join us in this venture, please write to

Lincoln, a drama

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ALincoln.jpgA new drama about the life of Abraham Lincoln and the role that his fourteen years in Spencer County, Indiana, played is being planned for the bicentennial of his birth in 2009.


LINCOLN premieres June 12, 2009



Last year the Society of Jesus in Slovakia has put a considerable effort in drawing the attention to a novice, Tomas Munk, who converted to Catholicism from Judaism in the late 1930s.


In the spring of 2008 a  book of Ivan Petransky about his life was published Zivot pod hviezdou ("A life under a star"). People from around the Jesuit community in Ruzomberok have organized a concert to remember this young brave man who in his early life had written: Amor Christi usque ad oblivionem sui - Love for Christ until self-oblivion. The local TV station has produced a documentary DVD on his life and people are very much interested in the witness this young man has got to offer. Parts of the published book were broadcasted on the Catholic radio station in the country.


Tomas Munk.jpgTomas Munk was born in Budapest on January 29, 1924 as the first son of a Jewish couple. After conversion in 1939 he was received in the Catholic Church. Tomas studied in Bratislava and partly in Ruzomberok. He decided to become priest in the Society of Jesus where he entered on July 30, 1943. In the autumn of 1944, Nazi soldiers came in Ruzomberok. After several months the whole family was arrested and the Nazi eventually came to the Novitiate and took him away as a Jewish convert. According to a fellow novice, now a respected Jesuit, Tomas confided to him having prayed all night in the Novitiate chapel: "I have sacrificed my life for my nation, for its conversion and for the Church." Tomas was killed on the way to the concentration camp.


A point of connection for me with Tomas Munk is that we share the same birth date but 45 years apart from each other, and that we had a love of the Society. May he interceded for all of us.


The Catholic Newt

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According to Matt Bai's article "Newt. Again." in the March 1st NYTimes Magazine, Newt Gingrich, 65, is coming into full communion with the Catholic Church, or at least that is what he reported. The author made a simple parenthetical statement that Newt was entering his wife's faith. Thanks be to God.
On the feast of Saint Scholastica (February 10th), The Portsmouth Institute was launched.


"The Portsmouth Institute is a summer conference, study, recreation and retreat center for Catholic intellectuals, scholars and all those who are interested in questions pertaining to Catholic leadership, life and service in the 21st century."


Portsmouth abbey school.jpgWhat is labeled as "America's Premiere Catholic Boarding School" a center for summer study has been founded to explore the relevant matters pertaining to Catholic life in 21st century. Akin to what Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Msgr. Luigi Giussani and Pope Benedict XVI and other like-minded intellectuals would say: faith broadens reason. This Institute envisions a comprehensive look at Catholicism from many vantage points that will appeal to scholars interested in Catholic faith and life. As you would expect, the Institute will engage faith and reason by engaging experts in the fields of spirituality, theology, history, science, the arts, politics, sociology as well as other aspects of contemporary society.


Portsmouth Abbey.jpgThe Institute's webpage indicates that


Initial funding for The Portsmouth Institute has been established with generous contributions from National Review Institute, the William E. Simon Foundation, the Healey Family Foundation and other generous alumni and friends.  Accepting the role of director is Jamie MacGuire, Senior Development Officer of the Portsmouth Abbey School and 1970 graduate of The Portsmouth Abbey School.


The Portsmouth Institute will feature leadership and participation by Portsmouth Abbey's resident Benedictine monks and faculty of the Portsmouth Abbey School. Institute programs are designed to offer attendees frequent opportunities for informal discussion, as well as access to recreational opportunities on the School's campus at Carnegie Abbey, and in nearby Newport.  In keeping with its mission, the Institute's yearly sessions will also provide opportunities for attendance at Mass, the Divine Office and "mini-Retreat" sessions centered around the Abbey's landmark Church of St. Gregory the Great.


The Institute's inaugural conference will be "The Catholic William F. Buckley Jr.: In Gratitude" June 18-21, 2009 at the Portsmouth Abbey School, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

Study Latin in Oxford

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Oxford Street.jpgAn intensive Ecclesiastical Latin Course is now available in Oxford, England. The Tutor, Penny Cookson, has experience of preparing seminarians (and others) for beginning their studies in Roman Universities. What better place to study than Oxford during an English summer!


Information is available at

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Culture category from March 2009.

Culture: February 2009 is the previous archive.

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