It is a pleasure to inform you that the Easter 2008 edition of Dappled Things has just been published online. Herewith a sampling of the excellent pieces that you will find in the new edition:
Our feature for this issue is Matthew J. Milliner's "When the Eagles Don't Fit in Capistrano", an article that analyzes the recent history and present situation of art. Partly inspired by Jody Bottum's recently published essay, "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano", Milliner draws a clear portrait of art in general and liturgical art in particular from the "golden age" of the 1950s to the subsequent decline of art into nihilism. With so careful a consideration of the past in hand, Milliner does not neglect the future. I give you only a taste of his vision here:
Our new scenario can prove true the folksinger's maxim that "all the roots grow deeper when it's dry." Without the listening ear of the art world, we are impelled to listen more deeply to our own Christian heritage. Alasdair MacIntyre ended his justly famous book After Virtue with a frankly monastic call, "We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another--doubtless very different--St. Benedict." And lo, our Benedict has come.
The dangers of virtual reality and social networking sites are succinctly (and humorously) detailed in John Murphy's "Seek MySpace", an essay that begins with a comically self-deprecating account of the author's first introduction to the Facebook phenomenon--and how he was drawn towards it by overhearing that a pretty co-ed had "dated a bunch of guys" who Facebooked her:
When a noun becomes a verb something is afoot. My curiosity was piqued. What did it mean to be "facebooked"? And how to quantify "a bunch"? She went on, "It's great, like, you get to see the guy's picture, his favorite music, movies, everything." I dared a glance over my shoulder. They were absorbed in a web page featuring a picture of a beaming young gent wearing the kind of tight-fitting shirt that shows bulging biceps to best advantage. I might have then glanced down at my own less impressive arms with a sigh, but I don't remember.
We have a particularly fine sampling of fiction this issue, including Neil Brown's "The Sacred Way", a poignant tale of the deformed wounded of WWI. Soberly, unshrinkingly, and yet without the despair often characteristic of such stories, Brown explores the reality of war and of salvation:
They made quite an interesting small community. Men with broken faces. One of them had a small block of wood that was fashioned as a chin. Another had a nose made of a small bit of iron. Gerard's nose had actually been made by a tinsmith whose expertise was tea sets. Guy was not alone with a leather patch on his face; there were a few of them. Some of them had several stitches that held together the last vestiges of their faces while others were missing parts of their bodies; Gerard counted himself fortunate that the shell had only taken his nose.
The themes and setting of the Great War appear as well in the penultimate installment of Eleanor Donlon's "Magdalen Montague." In part IV, "The Disciple of Magdalen Montague", ten years have passed since the cessation of the correspondence between "J" and "R." "J" takes up his pen once more to articulate the struggles and frustrations of a new stage in his spiritual journey. The opening admissions of "J," astonishing and perplexing to "R", may not be so surprising to some of our readers:
I am not "repressed and ashamed" and have not deliberately "concealed" my current abode. I think it is very likely that I am a "superstitious fool". I am, in any case, a willing "slave of the Scarlet Lady". Yes, I am at the College of St. Mary's at S-- and shall soon graduate from the ranks of "priestcraft" tutelage into full-fledged "Papist villainy". As for MM, you seem to think that all priests and nuns are massed together in a sort of underground network of infamy where I can "finally relieve" that "bizarre passion". I have not seen her, though she is present in my thoughts--not in the way you imagine...
The impressive work of Gabriel Olearnik appears once again including the fascinating dramatic monologue "Languedoc". Other important features include the striking photography of Patrick Anderson, a chilling poetic exploration of the cleansing effects of the Enlightenment, a poignant testament to Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a beautiful image of Saint Lucy of Syracuse, an eloquent examination of grief, as well as many, many more excellent fiction pieces, essays, poems, and works of art. I hope you will enjoy the new issue!
Wishing you many blessings during this Easter season,
"Go to the encounter with him in the Blessed Eucharist, go to adore him in the churches, kneeling before the Tabernacle: Jesus will fill you with his love and will reveal to you the thoughts of his Heart. If you listen to him, you will feel ever more deeply the joy of belonging to his Mystical Body, the Church, which is the family of his disciples held close by the bond of unity and love."
- Pope Benedict, Message to Dutch Youth
Dan: A perpetual choirmember, seek him where good music or custard are to be found. Contact him at basilique(at)gmail(dot)com
Emily: A graduate of Notre Dame's Philosophy and Latin programs, religious ed expert and Alto at large, she can be reached at emilynd06(at)gmail(dot)com
Matt: A graduate of ND's Architecture School, illustrator, church furnishing designer, and founder of Matthew Alderman Studios, doing entirely too many things at the same time in jolly old New England. Reach him at malderman83(at)gmail(dot)com
Drew: A lover of Jackie Chan and Cuckoo Clocks, he be can contacted at andrew_na(at)hotmail(dot)com
Becket: This Whapster Emeritus and longtime admirer of the Holy Father is enjoying his retirement on the shores of the Missisippi.
"Cardinal, we're students at the University of Notre Dame in the United States..."
"Ah! Notre Dame!" ~Benedict XVI (really)
"The Shrine of the Holy Whapping should be a part of every Christian's daily reading and meditation. Every time you load the page, you find something very much worth thinking about." ~Fr. Jim Tucker
St. Dymphna, protectress of lunatics, pray for us!
"Christianity, and nothing
else is the ultimate foundation
of liberty, conscience,
human rights, and democracy...
We continue to nourish
ourselves from this source.
Everything else is
- Jürgen Habermas
"We desire that this practice... of using distinctive names by which Catholics are marked off from other Catholics, should cease; such names must be avoided... [they] are neither true nor just... they lead to great disturbance and confuse the Catholic body."
- Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum