Sweet Miscellany

A Dog Story With A Moral

Let me tell you, please, about Bevan’s dog. The anecdote does service to the awkward truth that, often enough, peace has to be imposed. And maintained. It is a brief tale. Inelegant. Some might call it indelicate. But it has bearing, in the crooked way that analogies do, on political news. And on the manner in which news sidles into ecclesial thinking, then into the pulpit. The story came back to me on a Sunday in January when the priest capped the formulaic prayer for peace by adding “especially in the Middle East.” Continue Reading
A Brief Detour: Invitation To An Exhibition

This weblog began life under the banner Studio Matters for good reason. So permit me, this once, to sidestep expected topics—the baleful doings of the papal court, of an unnerving pope, and all those signals of civilizational decay. Instead, let me invite you to an exhibition at George Billis Gallery, New York City. If you are in town or passing through between January 22nd and February 23rd, perhaps you will stop by. It would be lovely if you did. Herewith, a link to the e-catalogue, a sampling of some—not all—work on the wall. Continue Reading
Amuse-Bouche For August

It is August. This is the time of year to loll in a hammock, take bribes, and be fanned by eunuchs. But I have no hammock. No one is coming forward with a bribe. And all the eunuchs are clustered where they have always been—in high places, far from here and out of reach. Still, I can dream. In reality, there is no alternative to getting on with the job. This time, though, hot weather gives me a plausible excuse to put aside a proper essay and just . Continue Reading
P.T. Barnum & Vatican Productions

P.T. Barnum gave us Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale. The Vatican has given us the Pope of Peace, headed for Egypt later this month. And the Pope of Hearts will perform at Fatima in May. The show is on the road. How much longer before we have The Singing Pope? Light opera will do. With Laudato Sí in mind, a libretto in the spirit of the “Major-General’s Song” in The Pirates of Penzance would suit: “I am the very model of a modern Major-General, / I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral.” Continue Reading
I Do Not Like Thee . . .

I do not like thee, Dr. Fell, The reason why, I cannot tell; But this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Dr. Fell. —Nursery Rhyme c. 1860 // We are enjoined to love one another. Thankfully, we are not commanded to like each other. Loving and liking are quite different orders of response. One abides; the other shifts about, subject to the weather of our lives and changing as we change. It is only romance that is blind; love, not all. Continue Reading