October 2018

Golden Age of Illustration/Frank C. Papé

Orthodox art appreciators make dogmatic distinctions between art and illustration. They omit from the established roster of prominent 19th century artists the names of those who put fine art between covers for ordinary people. The Golden Age of Illustration did not survive the Great War. It flamed into life in the interregnum between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I, flourishing between the first Treaty of Versailles (1871) and the second (1919). Named in retrospect la Belle Époque, those decades of creative stability overlapped with England’s Pax Britannica and our own Gilded Age. Continue Reading
A Blog Convalesced From Clamor

This blog has been lying fallow for a spell. Its keeper needed to recuperate from exhaustion. The descent of politics into mimicry of the worst of popular culture, the drumbeat of disarray in the Church, an overarching sense of dissolution—it all drains the spirit. I retreated to the studio where world-noise does not follow. Depleted resources need some time away from the clamor to be restored to themselves. So here we are. Having caught my breath, I want to return this weblog a bit closer to its origins. Continue Reading
The Holy See's China Gamble

In Beijing on Saturday, the Holy See signed an historic and consequential agreement with the People’s Republic of China. The Vatican issued a press release stating that Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, undersecretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, and Wang Chao, deputy minister for foreign affairs of the People’s Republic of China, signed a “provisional agreement” on the appointment of bishops. It concludes: “The shared hope is that this agreement may favour a fruitful and forward-looking process of institutional dialogue and may contribute positively to the life of the Catholic Church in China, to the common good of the Chinese people and to peace in the world.” The announcement reveals no specific details other than it grants China the power to appoint bishops, and is “provisional,” subject to “periodic reviews.” What are the arrangements to be reviewed? Continue Reading