On the Extraordinary Synod

Fr. Robert Barron is, as usual, the voice of reason and caution in the midst of breathless prognostication and agonized hand-wringing in many media accounts of the midterm report from … Continue Reading →


What is Solemn Vespers?

I first sang the music of Byrd, Victoria and Orlando di Lasso in concert settings. These concerts could often be quite moving, and a large part of the emotional impact … Continue Reading →


Can Traditional Religion Survive?

Journalist Rod Dreher links to a sobering article about a looming crisis is Jewish Orthodoxy. Read it here. One of the problems is that the authority of rabbis isn’t being … Continue Reading →


Can Music Be Sacred? Part 3

“Christianity, however, is in a profound sense the end of all religion….Nowhere in the New Testament, in fact, is Christianity presented as a cult or as a religion.  Religion is needed … Continue Reading →


Can Music Be Sacred? Part 2

In my previous post, I suggested, without much justification (other than name-dropping), that the very idea of ‘sacred music’ should be re-examined.  Let me develop this a little bit. The … Continue Reading →


Can Music Be Sacred? Part 1

Last February, I was invited by the St. Anselm Institute of the University of Virginia to give a talk entitled “What Makes Sacred Music Sacred?”  I decided to go ahead … Continue Reading →


Thou shalt not

“I never thought of walking on the grass until I saw a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass.’ Then I would stomp all over it.” –Saul Alinsky “Apart from the … Continue Reading →


Homily for Ash Wednesday (text)

Each evening, before Vespers, we monks line up in a pair of rows.  We call this formation ‘statio’.  The word has military significance.  Statio is the ready formation of the … Continue Reading →


Time and Beauty: Violin Phase

To receive the terrible gift of time: I am not what I was I am not yet what I shall be And yet when two or three (or even four) … Continue Reading →


The Multiplication of the Loaves

In this morning’s gospel (Mark 8: 1-10), Jesus feeds the four thousand with five loaves of bread. During the past six or seven years, I’ve been hearing about a novel … Continue Reading →