Authors: Eamon Kiernan (EK) Joshua McKenzie (JMcK) Peter Ceteli (PC). Copyright is asserted by the authors for their work.

Innocent, but guilty: the case of Cardinal Pell

The disgraced Australian Cardinal, George Pell, may yet be rehabilitated. Now that the High Court of Australia has quashed his conviction for the sexual abuse of boys, he has returned to the Vatican. Whether a senior role will once more be assigned to him is not yet clear.

Read More

‘Demian’, Part 1: A hardship less than hard

“I wanted only to live the life that was struggling by itself to come out of me. Why was this so very hard?” Thus reads the motto prepended to Hermann Hesse’s coming-of-age novel, ‘Demian’, which was first published in 1919. More a cry than a question, these fervent words must have established for Hesse the central issue of the story. In fact, living that life wasn’t so very hard, at all.

Read More

The miraculous failure of Maurice Bellière

Fr. Maurice Bellière was adopted by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux as her ‘little brother.’ She told him that she would return after her death to help him with his missionary vocation. Fr. Bellière ended up a dismal failure. In exploring his story, I ask whether Saint Thérèse kept her promises.

Read More

The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita

Whether it originated from police interrogations, from the febrile imaginations of anti-semitic journalists and priests, or from the murky thoughts of the conspirator, ‘Nubius’, the ‘Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita’ anticipated to a high degree what has become of the Roman Catholic Church.

Read More

Fairness for Fromm

“I always wanted only the best for Germany.” In the prison yard, the rifles of the firing squad were at the ready. The condemned man, seeing their nervousness, tried to calm them. They shouldn’t blame themselves, he said. They were only doing their duty. He himself stood strong. “Shoot well, comrades,” he finished, looking each of them in the eye.

Read More

Birds from the Nazi past

Vogelschiss. Birdshit. A German politician used this word recently to describe the National Socialist regime which ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was looking for a new perspective, one which would reduce the Nazi dictatorship to proportion in a thousand years of mostly successful German history. Elections were in the offing, and he may have felt that he needed the attention. Because I am reluctant to give him any, he will be referred to here as Mr. Bird, leaving out the second syllable.

Read More

Lanzmann’s ‘Shoah’ and Josef Oberhauser

Claude Lanzmann’s ‘Shoah’ is a memorable film. Not because of what it says. But because of its refusal to say anything at all. The theme of Shoah is the Holocaust, in which over six million Jews were murdered by National Socialist Germany. But to state the theme in this way is to already go beyond the film. ‘Shoah’ can be classed as a documentary, in that it is concerned with historical events and includes the testimony of eyewitnesses. But it does not document anything, or try to explain anything. If there is a message, it must be worked out by the viewer, in subjective imagination. Which puts the question to me.

Read More

Thoughts on Gomorrah

Gomorrah is the title Roberto Saviano chose for his well-known book on the Camorra, the network of criminal organisations that have dominated Naples and Italy’s Campania region for generations. A revelatory choice. Gomorrah and Camorra sound alike. And are alike. The land of the Camorra is a lost place, ruined by greed, hubris, and the vilest excesses. A Biblical place. A place of the damned.

Read More

Easter 2018. Berzosa’s ‘Christ Resurrected.’

It must be quite a challenge to represent the message of Easter in a painting. Spanish artist Raúl Berzosa, whose ‘Christ Resurrected’ is featured on the new Vatican City 95c postage stamp, tries it with physical beauty. The result, though interesting, fails to convince.

Read More

Blessed Anton Bruckner

If there are saints of music, Anton Bruckner is surely one of them. Like Beethoven, whom he greatly admired, Bruckner was a strong-willed, undaunted composer. Dreadful abysses lurk in Bruckner’s music, but he does not get stuck in them. That Promethean defiance, that raised fist, which is Beethoven’s, is nowhere to be heard. Perhaps for this reason, Bruckner’s seemingly meandering arguments lead to a deeply satisfying destination, while Beethoven’s powerful statements, those clearings in the woods he beats a way to, amount to so much less than the effort made.

Read More