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"To regain an understanding of the intimate link binding
the search for beauty to the search for truth and goodness."
                                                                        - Pope Benedict XVI (2008)
 

The mission of the CLAA Music & Culture resources is to answer the call made so eloquently by Pope Benedict XVI in the words above.

The Holy Father, in an address made to the Pontifical Council for Culture spoke to our generation about the dangers of the pursuit of beauty divorced from truth and goodness, calling the pursuit "a flight into an artificial paradise that masks inner emptiness".

Reflect on those words.  It is a dramatic illustration.

Catholics enjoy the richest treasury of music, art and culture.  History's most enchanting music, most beautiful artwork and most breathtaking architecture are the fruit of knowledge of truth and goodness.  In fact, one of the strongest arguments for the truth of the Catholic faith is its beauty.

TRUE, GOOD & BEAUTIFUL


The study of art must begin at the Vatican Museums.  Where else in the world might we expect to find Truth, Goodness and Beauty together and eager for visitors?  We will begin in the most popular spot:  the Sistine Chapel.

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Read the Story of the Sistine Chapel here.  Then  answer the following questions.

1.  Who painted the Sistine Chapel? 
2.  When was the Sistine Chapel painted? 
3.  What three themes are painted on the walls of the Sistine Chapel?
4.  What theme is painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?
5.  What theme is painted on the altar wall?
6.  What most important event is celebrated in the Sistine Chapel?

Send your answers and thoughts to: wmichael@classicalliberalarts.com.

Tour The SistIne Chapel
After you've read the story of the Sistine Chapel, enjoy a Virtual Tour.  The Vatican Museum provides an interactive tour that allows you to look around and zoom in on individual works, while reading about each piece of work in the museum.

SACRED SELECTIONS


Catholic Latin Classics
The Cathedral Singers
 
CLAA REVIEW:  While better individual pieces can be found on other albums, Catholic Latin Classics is one of our favorite collections.  Only the classics are found on this CD (Ave Maria, O Salutaris Hostia, Ave Verum Corpus, etc..) and those in their finest forms.  The Cathedral Singers do a beautiful job as you can hear above. 
 

Spem in Alium (Single)
The Kings' Singers

 
CLAA REVIEW:  According to classical theory, music has the power of enchanting the soul.  In our opinion, there is no piece of music that captivates us like Tallis'  Spem in Alium and few do it better than the King's Singers.  This is the CLAA's most highly recommended single.  The album cover is a bit goofy, though.
 
Recommend an album, song or musician you've enjoyed: wmichael@classicalliberalarts.com.
UNDERSTANDING MODERN CULTURE
In 2004, the Pontifical Council for Culture published an extremely important document that is largely unknown today, which won't be a surprise when we read the document!  The document was titled, "Where Is Your God?  Responding to the Challenge of Unbelief and Religious Indifference Today".   In this column, we will slowly make our way through the document so that our cultural action will be guided by a true understanding of the culture in which are living today.

New Forms of Unbelief and Religiosity

1. A Cultural Phenomenon
"In traditionally Christian countries, a relatively widespread culture gives unbelief, on its platform of religious indifference, a practical and no longer theoretical aspect. It has become a cultural phenomenon, in the sense that often one becomes a non-believer not through choice at the end of a long inner struggle, but it just happens de facto, because "that's what everybody else does". This is the result of the lack of effective evangelisation, the growing levels of ignorance of religious tradition and Christian culture, and the lack of offers of formative spiritual experiences capable of raising marvel and determining belonging. This is how the Holy Father describes it: "Often knowledge of Christianity is taken for granted, whereas in truth the Bible is rarely read and scarcely studied, catechesis is often shallow, and the sacraments hardly received. Therefore, instead of an authentic faith a vague religious sentiment is spread, which easily turns into agnosticism and practical atheism"."

REFLECTION
1.  Do you see this "cultural phenomenon" in your society--a seemingly contagious lack of faith?
2.  How are you addressing the "ignorance of religious tradition and Christian culture" at home?
3.  Are you guilty of taking the knowledge of Christianity for granted?  In what ways?
4.  What does the Holy Father mean by "vague religious sentiment"?
5.  Can you define the terms agnosticism and practical atheism?

Send your answers and thoughts to: wmichael@classicalliberalarts.com.

 
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