Quick Hits: Papal prayer intention for artists, cultural appropriation and more

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Aug 09, 2017

Pope Francis’s prayer intention for August is for artists, so let’s pray for artists and give the arts our attention and support in a special way this month:

  • The Catholic Creatives group has just announced 8beats, “an 8-part anthology film exploring the collision of the Beatitudes into our human experience.” Sick of Christian art that preaches truth without beauty and authenticity, they aim to tell challenging stories that engage contemporary realities and suffering. The project looks promising: visit the IndieGogo campaign page to learn more and consider donating.
  • Amy Welborn writes about a new documentary about Flannery O’Connor that will help more people discover her stories and her spiritual witness.
  • A friend introduced me to the website All of Bach. Since 2013, the Netherlands Bach Society has been uploading video performances of every single extant work by Bach (they have done about 1/5 of them so far). They seem to use period instruments mostly, and the performances are often in traditional and picturesque locations like churches (for sacred and organ works) and living rooms (for chamber works). Each performance has an accompanying video with the performer explaining some things about the piece. The educational and bite-sized approach makes it an accessible way to get familiar with a wider range of Bach’s musical output.
  • If you haven’t heard of the unforgivable crime of “cultural appropriation,” count yourself lucky. If you have, you’ll want to read Ryan Holiday’s Observer essay on that subject. Holiday frames his argument ingeniously by using The Band’s classic song “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” as an example of cultural appropriation, showing the absurd logic of leftist condemnations of artists who take inspiration from cultures not their own.
  • In case you missed it, I’m going to link to my own interview with Mark Christopher Brandt about his new album The Nightingale, because the music is that good and the composer’s thoughts are that interesting.

I knew the United States had a long history of anti-Catholic bigotry, but I certainly didn’t know we could boast hundreds of Catholic martyrs. At the Register, Peter Jesserer Smith calls attention to upwards of a thousand missionaries and native American Catholics who were martyred by English settlers between 1549 and 1763.


Finally, a professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston (formerly of Christendom College) is leading a campaign to fund the construction of a Melkite church for Syrian Catholic refugees.

Thomas V. Mirus is an administrative assistant and writer at CatholicCulture.org. A jazz pianist with a music degree, he often takes the lead in our commentary on the arts. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Aug. 17, 2017 1:47 AM ET USA

    Thanks Tom, for linking to your interview with Mark again. The first time I didn't have 96 minutes but I forgot to go back to it. Tonight I took the time and I greatly enjoyed it. It was time well spent.