Quick Hits: Happiness that endures, the message of a great cathedral, another outrage at Trinity University
- In a beautiful eulogy, David Warren says that his friend Mary Scheer was “the embodiment of a happy person.” Not because there was no sadness in her life—in fact he says that she was “often dealing with circumstances that would test anyone’s strength of mind”—but because her strong faith enabled her to persevere in the face of trouble: to “choose life.” I did not know Mary Scheer, but I recognize the sort of woman that Warren describes. And I recognize the fundamental happiness that Warren finds, sadly, less common today than in the past. Sorrows will come, he writes, but they will not “impinge so deeply on an underlying faith in family and friendship, in received religion.”
- The deeply Catholic sense that guided Mary Scheer is given an architectural embodiment in Westminster Cathedral, argues Timothy O’Malley (director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy) in an article for the Church Life Journal. O’Malley is not troubled by the tourists moving through the cathedral during Mass, much less the people making their private devotions in side chapels. He even sees a hidden meaning in the fact that the cathedral is unfinished. The richly adorned apse is topped by plan bare brick; in his eyes the whole “including its incompleteness, functions as a symbol of the state of Catholicism in late modernity.” And O’Malley revels in it. “It is an unpretentious Catholicism that exists in the midst of a city whose cultural memory of its religious past has declined. But this space fights against this forgetfulness, reminding men and women that they are created for divine worship.”
- And speaking of forgetfulness, one wonders whether Patricia McGuire, the president of Trinity University in Washington, DC, forgot the past record of her own school when she denounced an alumna, Kellyanne Conway. McGuire said that Conway, working in in the Trump White House, is complicit with an administration that is “spreading a skein of lies as a means to secure power.” It’s astonishing, in the first place, that a university president would issue such an unprovoked public rebuke to one of the school’s most prominent graduates. But as Anne Hendershott reminds us in a Catholic World Report article, Trinity is not just any school. It is a Catholic school that has given honorary degrees to other prominent alumnae, including Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius.
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