Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo?: The Loss of Soul in Catholic Culture

Overview

The bestselling author of Why Catholics Can't Sing returns with another brilliant and witty portrait of American Catholic culture that is sure to offend - and delight - almost everyone. Catholics, writes Thomas Day, have been so busy arguing among themselves about the ordination of women, what the Church can or can't tell them to do, and similar "hot" issues that they haven't paid attention to a real crisis in their midst - the disappearance of their cultural "soul." In the rush to make the Church more modern ...
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Overview

The bestselling author of Why Catholics Can't Sing returns with another brilliant and witty portrait of American Catholic culture that is sure to offend - and delight - almost everyone. Catholics, writes Thomas Day, have been so busy arguing among themselves about the ordination of women, what the Church can or can't tell them to do, and similar "hot" issues that they haven't paid attention to a real crisis in their midst - the disappearance of their cultural "soul." In the rush to make the Church more modern after Vatican II, U.S. Catholics have developed one guilt complex after another about their cultural heritage, especially in liturgy, architecture, and music. Day takes the reader back and forth across the pre- and post-Vatican II divide, from the Latin Mass to the latest liturgical experiment, from the isolationist Church of the past to the trendier-than-thou parishes of today. With an eye for the bizarre development, he examines Catholicism's identity crisis by focusing on the visual symptoms, especially in the arts. As a corrective, Day seeks a return to a sense of Mystery and a vision of Christian community that is unified in its diversity and uplifting in its expression. He combines historical and theological background with striking vignettes and anecdotes, and leavens his argument with wit. Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo? may contain enough wisdom and humor to help bring Catholics into the next millennium.

The bestselling author of Why Catholics Can't Sing returns with a brilliant and witty portrait of American Catholic culture that is sure to offend--and delight--everyone. "(Day) accurately and wittingly skewers what passes for culture in American Catholicism."--Publishers Weekly.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The ``celebration of the insipid and sappy'' in contemporary Catholic liturgies is the bete noir that Day, chairman of the music department at Salve Regina College, in Newport, R.I., wrestles with in this lively exploration. Like his earlier, well-received Why Catholics Can't Sing , this colloquial explication of what he calls ``that deep pit of feel-good sentimentality, the liturgy as weird variety show'' is peppered with incisive humor that tempers the scholarly basis of Day's critique. Essentially, the subject is the change in Roman Catholic churches brought about by Vatican II and the loss of a sense of mystery in the rush to popularization. Chapters are devoted to the evanescent Latin mass, church art and music with side journeys into the public worship of other denominations. With his signature wit and brio, Day addresses nagging problems experienced by Catholic churchgoers today, and offers workable suggestions for enriching the liturgical experience. (Oct.)
Eugene Sullivan
Since Vatican II, many a Catholic worshiper has wondered, "What in heaven's name is going on?" Although it has been 30 years since such rumblings began, the cumulative effect on the rubrics has dislodged and depressed as many as have been encouraged and stimulated. Thomas Day laments the loss of soul in the music and style of Catholic services, and the changes in church interiors, as well. Indiscriminate abolishment of spoken and musical Latin has created a trend of turgid, unknown hymns that the community seldom welcomes. Costly and often unnecessary changes in church interiors--such as slanting pews and the replacement of baptistries with large pools--are just some of the cultural shocks that have been promulgated. Day believes that ethnic chauvinism--whether African American or Irish or Polish--should not wipe out the culture of centuries. Changes have affected not only doctrine but the beauty of worship itself. Day's book is an eloquent plea for that art and soul necessary to sustain beauty.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780824513962
  • Publisher: Crossroad Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 10/1/1993
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 An Introduction to a Style: Never Say Never 1
Granny 5
Separate but Equal 10
Contradictions 21
Separate but Weird 22
A Digression 28
Before and After 33
Ch. 2 The Late Latin Mass: Abolished Forever 39
Who Needs It? 43
"What's Left" and the Horse's Ass 46
A Little Space 51
Crush the Infamous Thing! 53
A Losing Battle 57
Beyond Words 59
Rite I 68
Whose Vernacular Is This, Anyway? 71
A Feminine Declension 73
Te Igitur 80
For Further Meditation and Group Discussion 82
Ch. 3 Pride, Covetousness, Lust...and Museums: Edifice Wrecked 92
They Tried Very Hard 99
The Shape of Things to Come 102
The Complex Edifice 115
L'Eglise Moderne 122
For Further Meditation and Group Discussion 127
Ch. 4 Depressing Music: It Doesn't Belong 143
The Closets 149
The Crown Jewels 160
Aging Hippies 167
Sticker Shock 172
Inculturation Infatuation 183
The Bishops Squeak 195
For Further Meditation and Group Discussion 203
Ch. 5 What Does It All Mean? 213
Notes 227
Index 235
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