Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Colloquium Day One – “What is beauty?”

June 21st, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

Today was the first day of the Sacred Music Colloquium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This week-long event is already proving to be something which will be a life-altering occurrence. I know this sounds trite, but being here, and seeing all these radiant faces, joyful, loving, Tradition-loving faces, I can’t help but feel a tremendous surge of hope for the Diocese of Rochester, and the Church universal, as well.

Real nuns wear their habits.

I will start at the very beginning. We arrived, Choir Loft, Sr. Emily, and I, and we promptly stowed our gear, got registered, and began to mingle. The first thing that struck me was the absolutely permeating presence of young people, ranging from 18 to 30. I would say, with certainty, that over 60% of the people at the Colloquium are under 30.

Another thing which promptly stuck out to me was that ALL of the nuns present were wearing some form of a habit. ALL of the priests were in clerical garb, most in cassocks. ALL of the seminarians were clad in like manner. No one was dressed like a tramp, no nuns were making political statements, no priests were shying away from their roles – all was exactly as it should have been.

Fr. Pasley addressing the priests, seminarians, pre-seminarians, and servers, regarding the Mass schedule. Note the young man in his religious habit in the foreground.

We then were ushered into the vast and spacious Shepperson Suite on campus for dinner – the first ever sit-down, non-buffet style dinner in CMAA history (which goes back into the 1870’s). We had stuffed shells with a sumptuous vodka sauce (I think) with salad before and dessert afterward. During our dinner, we had several speakers give presentations: Jeffery Tucker, Dr. William Mahrt, Fr. Pasley, Alrene Oost-Zinner, and Scott Turkington. Each one brought a beautiful offering to this “dialogue of orthodoxy.”

The presentation which particularly grabbed me was Dr. Mahrt’s lecture on an overview of what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it. The theme was “what is beauty?” His answer was so absolutely clear and satisfying that I must now pass it along to you.

“Beauty,” he said, “is the glue which holds Truth and Goodness together.”

A group of Colloquium attendees entering the chapel for the chanted Compline service

And what is more beautiful than 250 people, from all over the country, singing in perfect pitch and harmony all the verses to “Veni, Creator Spiritus”?

Well . . . something which may be more beautiful to you, the readers, is that at our table of 9, each and every person knew about Bishop Matthew Clark and the Diocese of Rochester. And not in a good way, mind you. The woman to Sr. Emily’s right said, “Oh, you have Bishop Clark . . . the one that closes all those churches. Yes, we read about him on the internet.” This woman lives in a small town in Kentucky. The two girls to her right were from New Jersey and Virginia, and they, too, had heard of our liturgical improprieties. Seated next to them was a young man discerning the call to the priesthood, who hails from Cincinnati. While unfamiliar, initially, with Rochester, he promptly figured out that Rochester was “that backwards place that Rich Leonardi talks about all the time.”

Just a small sampling of the good people with me at the Colloquium.

You know it’s bad when Kentucky country-dwellers, college girls, and a theology student in Ohio all know and cringe at the name “Matthew H. Clark.” May God give us strength, and may His mercy fall upon those who most need it.

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One Response to “Colloquium Day One – “What is beauty?””

  1. avatar Ink says:

    I love that definition of beauty. You have no idea. <3


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