Sheen Center

Illustration for Theatre World (September 1927) by Bovey.

Transparency is more appealing in concept than in practice—at least as it applies to backstage doings at the Sheen Center. Judging from email responses, the Sheen is a great yawn to readers of First Things. No grand Truth is at risk in the matter. No heady policy positions. The only truths in play are those gnarled and spotted ones of human designs. Besides, mention of co-founder and erstwhile director Michael Hull points to disagreeable details better left in the dark. Do we need another scandal? Continue Reading
Charles II (Charles the Bad) Preaching to Clerics (14th C.). Biblioteque Nationale, Paris.

Now is it official. There is no need for more speculation about the whereabouts of Michael Hull, the disappearing pastor of Manhattan’s Guardian Angel parish and director of the Sheen Center. The Scottish Episcopal Church has announced the appointment of Dr. Hull as its Director of Studies. He is currently living out his baptismal call by Skype at the Mercer School of Theology on Long Island. The former monsignor conducts classes through the ether from his conjugal home in northern Italy. Continue Reading
Adolph Gustav Mossa. Salomé (early 20th C.)

The single New Testament reference to anything that comes close to the arts is that messy episode with Herodias’ daughter. Was it dirty dancing? Or “natural” dance, precursor to Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and the pioneers of improvisational movement? Either way, we know how the program ended. There are better reasons to be uneasy about the efficacy of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center for Art and Culture as the zenith of evangelization. History is full of mischief. The Center has already suffered two blows before the ribbons are cut. Continue Reading
William Blake. Satan Arousing the Rebel Angels (c.1803-5). Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Consider how beautiful the devil must be. A fallen angel is an angel still. Seeing him fall, Jesus likened the plunge to “lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18). Lucifer appears a pulsing field of light, a flash of pure spirit. All luminous intelligence, he is bright as the morning star, radiant as dawn. Were he not, temptation would be beggared. It would be too dull, too unsightly, to gain purchase on the human heart. Folded within the history of art is the history of the struggle to depict moral deformity. Continue Reading