The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art by Elizabeth Lev
by: George Dunlap, May 1, 2019 – With the burning of Notre-Dame de Paris, we see that our Catholic art has been taken for granted, as is the case with anything we are use to living with, we forget the art in the history of this beautiful Church and all its art within the Church. Some may call Notre-Dame a museum, and many will call it a most holy Cathedral. If it takes a museum to bring the lost back to our faith, then so be it. Our Lord leads us all to the Father. I enjoyed the interview on EWTN between Raymond Arroyo and Elizabeth Lev as they talk about Catholic Art and its beauty.
Exactly 20 years ago, in U.S. Senate testimony just weeks after the Columbine High School massacre, I offered these thoughts:
The real problem [of Columbine-like violence in our culture] is in here, in us . . . In the last four decades we’ve created a culture that markets violence in dozens of different ways, seven days a week. It’s part of our social fabric. When we build our advertising campaigns on consumer selfishness and greed, and when money becomes the universal measure of value, how can we be surprised when our sense of community erodes? When we glorify and multiply guns, why are we shocked when kids use them?
When we answer murder with more violence in the death penalty, we put the state’s seal of approval on revenge. When the most dangerous place in the country is a mother’s womb and the unborn child can have his or her head crushed in an abortion, even in the process of being born, the body language of that message is that life isn’t sacred and may not be worth much at all. In fact, certain kinds of killing no longer even count officially as “killing.” Certain kinds of killing we enshrine as rights and protect by law. When we live this kind of contradiction, why are we surprised at the results?
The Columbine murders will mark my [Denver] community
for years to come. They’re a wound felt by the entire country — but I
don’t think they’ll be the last. We live in the most violent century in
history. Nothing makes us immune from that violence except a relentless
commitment to respect the sanctity of each human life, from womb to
natural death. The civility and community we’ve built in this country
are fragile. We’re losing them. In examining how and why our culture
markets violence, I ask you not to stop with the symptoms. Look deeper.
The families in Littleton and throughout the country deserve at least
In separate incidents over the past two weeks, gunmen have
killed three persons and wounded 13 others in Gilroy, CA; killed at
least 20 and wounded 26 others in El Paso TX; and killed at least nine
and wounded 27 others in Dayton, OH. These are just the latest in a
long pattern of mass shootings; shootings that have blood-stained the
past two decades with no end in sight. Now begins the usual aftermath:
expressions of shock; hand-wringing about senseless (or racist, or
religious, or political) violence; bitter arguments about gun control;
heated editorials, earnest (but brief) self-searching of the national
soul, and eventually – we’re on to the next crisis.
I buried some of the young Columbine victims 20 years ago. I sat
with their families, watched them weep, listened to their anger, and saw
the human wreckage that gun violence leaves behind. The experience
taught me that assault rifles are not a birthright, and the Second
Amendment is not a Golden Calf. I support thorough background checks
and more restrictive access to guns for anyone seeking to purchase
them. But it also taught me that only a fool can believe that “gun
control” will solve the problem of mass violence. The people using
the guns in these loathsome incidents are moral agents with twisted
hearts. And the twisting is done by the culture of sexual anarchy,
personal excess, political hatreds, intellectual dishonesty, and
perverted freedoms that we’ve systematically created over the past
So I’ll say it again, 20 years later. Treating the symptoms in a
culture of violence doesn’t work. We need to look deeper. Until we’re
willing to do that, nothing fundamental will change.
It appears that the mere mention of the name Jordan Peterson is enough
to send some on the far-left end of the spectrum into irrational
BY: George Dunlap. I have read Jordan Peterson’s book, 12 Rules For Life, and found it to be very enlightening. As Bishop Barron mentions below, ” in no way signaled a one-sided or uncritical endorsement of his teaching. Nevertheless, his emergence and his success are, I argued, indicators that we could get a serious message across to a wide audience. “ But I do agree what Peterson has to say is very worth while for our “Nones” in faith. We are raising a generation with out a spiritual compass. With a compass we all are lost in our faith and love to Jesus Christ our Lord and God.
Last week, I gave a presentation
at the USCCB Spring Meeting in Baltimore. My topic was what I
identified as the second greatest crisis facing the Church today—namely,
the massive attrition of our own people, especially the young. I trust
that the first—around which most of our discussions that week
revolved—is obvious to everyone. Judging from the extremely positive
reaction of my brother bishops and the lively conversation that followed
my presentation, the talk was well received. I was also delighted it
apparently prompted a spirited conversation on social media.
After laying out the rather dismal statistics regarding the “nones”
or the religiously unaffiliated—50% of millennial Catholics now claim no
religious identity, for every one person who joins our Church, six are
leaving, etc.—I commenced to offer some reasons why so many are exiting.
I told my brother bishops that these were not the fruit of idle
speculation but rather of the many statistical and sociological studies
that have been conducted regarding the phenomenon.
The number one reason—reiterated in survey after survey—is that young people are quitting the Churchbecause they don’t believe in the teachings of classical Christianity. Moreover, the studies consistently maintain that this lack of belief is often because religion is seen as conflicting with science. Other factors, I continued, include the general secularism and moral relativism of the culture, the difficulty many young people have with the Church’s sexual teachings, and the supposed correlation between religion and violence.
Having presented these findings, I then shared what I take to be
signs of hope. The first is that, among the unaffiliated, there are
relatively few fierce atheists or determined opponents of religion. Most
are indifferent to faith and have drifted rather than stormed away from
the Church. A second indicator of hope is the massive presence of young
people on social media platforms that trade in religious topics. I
mentioned my own participation in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), which
yielded almost 12,000 comments and questions, making it the third most
discussed exchange of its kind last year. Even though many, if not most,
of those who joined in that conversation proposed challenging
questions, or made skeptical observations, the undoubted interest in
matters religious is something to build on.
Finally, I referenced what I called “the Jordan Peterson phenomenon.”
I was drawing my brothers’ attention to the rather extraordinary fact
that a mild-mannered, soft-spoken psychology professor, speaking of
serious matters in a sober way, could attract tens of thousands to
arenas and millions to his social media sites. I told my fellow bishops
that most recently Peterson has been lecturing on the Bible, causing
armies of people, especially young men, to take a fresh look at the
Scriptures. I explicitly said that my reference to Peterson in no way
signaled a one-sided or uncritical endorsement of his teaching.
Nevertheless, his emergence and his success are, I argued, indicators
that we could get a serious message across to a wide audience.
The reaction to my talk outside the walls of the bishops’ conference
ballroom was, as I say, interesting. Most reacted very positively to my
observations and suggestions, but some, on both the extreme left and the
extreme right, took exception to what I said. On the starboard side of
the spectrum, there were comments to the effect that I had underplayed
the importance of the clerical sex abuse scandals. Well, no one has been
more vehement in his denunciation of these outrages than I (see my
recent Letter to a Suffering Church
for the details), but judging from the available data, it’s simply not
the case that the scandals are a major driver of disaffiliation. They
indeed appear as a factor, but not a significant one, certainly in
comparison with the causes I named above. I get the passion around this
issue, but it shouldn’t prompt us to draw conclusions not supported by
But I was especially surprised, and more than a little amused, by the
overheated response from some on the far-left end of the spectrum. It
appears that the mere mention of the name Jordan Peterson is enough to
send some into irrational conniptions. Though I had unambiguously stated
that my reference to the Canadian was in no way meant as an endorsement
of the entirety of his thought, some commentators and combox denizens
characterized me as a Peterson disciple, an apologist for his program, a
One particularly hysterical observer had me “basing my apologetics” on Jordan Peterson! Oy vey. As I have made clear in my own articles and videos,
Peterson reads the Bible through a Jungian, psychodynamic lens, and
hence, by definition, does not read it adequately. It is not even
evident that the Canadian believes in God in the accepted sense of the
term. “Basing my apologetics” on him?! Give me a break.
What is particularly sad to me is that the commentariat, especially
in regard to religion, has become so polarized and ideologically driven
that the most elementary distinctions aren’t made and the most
broad-brush analyses are commonplace. What makes it sadder still is that
these distortions and projections stand in the way of addressing the
vitally important issue under consideration. As left and right defend
their respective ideological bailiwicks, the Church continues to
hemorrhage young people. If we want to get serious about a problem that
ought to concern everyone in the Church, it would be wise to attend to
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By George Dunlap, May 24, 2019. Matrix the question was “red pill or blue pill”, today’s generation’s question is, ” …is abortion killing a living child, or, just removing a mass of “nothing”” . Like I said, Red Pill or Blue Pill. Sohrad Ahmari is a good writer and has thought this issue out very well. This is a good read….. if you dare?
The movie reveals the culture of death that lies at the core of our secular-liberal modernity. We cannot look away
This spring marks the 20th anniversary of The Matrix. It was
20 years ago that the hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) picked the red pill
over the blue, and was given an unforgettable glimpse of a world in
which robots enslave untold billions of human beings, extracting their
life force to fuel their evil empire. The Matrix drew on a
well-worn science-fiction trope, as old as Metropolis, in which the hero
discovers the hideous truth lurking just beneath the pleasant surface
of daily life.
“The Matrix is everywhere,” Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) tells Neo.
“You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you
pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to
blind you to the truth.” Everyday reality, in the Wachowskis’ startling
vision, is an illusion designed to mask the process by which robots
quite literally turn human beings into disposable batteries.
Unplanned – the new movie based on the memoirs of Abby
Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee of the year turned
pro-life activist – is this generation’s Matrix. Abby Johnson
(ably played in the movie by Ashley Bratcher) is our Neo. As for the
empire of intelligent machines that has pulled a veil over its
dehumanising activities, well, that would be Planned Parenthood.
By George Dunlap, May 20, 21019, Do we stand and watch or say “enough is enough”! As many of you know this is a topic very dear to my heart as a Catholic and Citzen of the World. We have the power and we must pray to God to bless us the mental strenght to Say NO! We must not wait for permission, but pray for action.
Something out of the ordinary happened this past week. On Saturday, over 10,000 people walked the streets of Rome in defense of children in the womb. Italian lay people have organized a march for nine years now, and it grows – despite no support from the Italian bishops – including the pope. On Friday, Francis did encourage members of the Catholic Medical Association to “defend life,” though so vaguely that you couldn’t tell whether he was talking about abortion, euthanasia, immigration, climate, poverty – or all of them (more of this below). But as usual no Italian bishops participated in the Marcia– they’ve been saying that they don’t want it to be seen as only “Catholic,” though why is not clear. And that they prefer to work through elected officials rather than public protest (though they seem to support other public demonstrations, e.g., on immigration and poverty, and don’t have any natural partners in government now that the Christian Democrats have splintered). Italian television, accordingly, didn’t even mention the march occurred. The lone Italian prelate in the past, Archbishop Viganò, was missing, for good reasons. None of this was out of the ordinary. And neither, basically, were the large pro-life marches in London last week and Ottawa. There are marches in many other countries in Europe and Latin America as well, though we rarely hear about them outside of the Catholic press, and not very much even there. No, the real novelty is that Alabama essentially banned abortion last week with a bill that was passed by the legislature and signed into law by governor Kay Ivey who, like large numbers of women, believes abortion is the taking of innocent human life.
By George Dunlap, May 6, 2019. This conversation between Eric Metaxes andPeter Kreeft, Author, Symbol or Substance,on the Eric Metaxes Radio Show, is about the book Symbol or Substance, just released, a possible dialog between. C. S. Lewis, Billy Graham, and Tolkien. It is more than an explanation of what transubstantiation is; it’s a more refined explanation in a dialog form, of the different understandings of what truly (a Catholic truth…) transubstantiation represents in the House of God at the alter. This you tube conversation is more that a conversation about a book, it’s a conversation about why we as Catholics are truly unique in our faith, yet as Christians we all are Blessed in Jesus Christ.