Art, Culture and the Sciences

The great Catholic poet Gerard Manley Hopkins tells us that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God”. This is so wonderfully true that, if we have eyes opened in humility, we can see God’s grandeur shining forth in all that is truly beautiful in Creation.

Faith and Culture

Our Art, Culture and the Sciences page brings to you articles relating to Catholic arts and culture, including the sciences.

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October 2021

Poetry: An interesting article that we came upon recalls how Brendan Kennelly was a lover of the Rosary. In a radio interview with Miriam O’Callaghan back in 2016, he was asked did he believe in God. His answer; “I do but I also believe in Mary,” and he added, “I say the Rosary every day.” This was surprising to many at a time when the great and good of Ireland seemed to be rejecting their Catholic faith. He continued, saying that it was the music of the prayer that appealed to him. We share this beautiful poem, translated by Kennelly from the Irish of an anonymous poet, and dedicate this to him. May he rest in peace.

Christ’s Bounty

I pray you, Christ, to change my heart,
    To make it whole;
Once you took on flesh like mine,
    Now take my soul.

Ignominy and pain you knew,
    The lash, the scourge,
You, the perfect molten metal
    Of my darkened forge.

You make the bright sun bless my head,
    Put ice beneath my feet,
Send salmon swarming in the tides,
    Give crops of wheat.

When Eve’s wild children come to you
    With prayerful words,
You crowd the rivers with fine fish,
    The sky with birds.

You make the small flowers thrive
    In the wholesome air,
Your spread sweetness through the world.
    What miracle can compare?

June 2021

Architecture: The Cathedral Church of St Mel is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, located in the town of Longford in Ireland. Built between 1840 and 1856, with the belfry and portico as later additions, it has been considered the “flagship cathedral” of the Irish midlands region, Longford’s “landmark building” and “one of the finest Roman Catholic churches in Ireland”. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Mél (died 488), who came to Ireland with Saint Patrick and who was ordained bishop at Ardagh, County Longford. On Christmas Day 2009 the cathedral was destroyed by a fire in the early hours of the morning. The restored cathedral re-opened in December 2014. The young architect who restored Mel’s was chosen from his wonderful restoration of Balbriggan Church. St Patrick’s Lucan has this connect, with Fr Barry who ministered to our Parish during his illness some years ago. He is interred on the grounds of the Church.

June 2021
Science: The Society of Catholic Scientists, whose calling is to ‘integrate the worlds of science and religion in their own intellectual and spiritual lives’ held a recent conference on the concepts of the hypothetical existence of extraterrestrial intelligence and “strong” artificial intelligence.   What does science say about the prospects of extraterrestrial intelligence existing?  Would such beings be likely to be similar to us and have similar minds? What would be the implications for Catholic theology?  Is artificial intelligence possible? 

The Mystery of the Cosmos

Would it truly have “intellect”?  What would be its theological implications?  These and other questions were discussed by members of the SCS and other eminent scholars from a variety of disciplines. Check out the recorded livestream links here (you may have to fast forward through the sometimes long conference comfort breaks).

Day 1 of the SCS Conference
Day 2 of the SCS Conference

May 2021
Architecture: From 1915 Gaudí devoted himself almost exclusively to his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família, a synthesis of his architectural evolution. He intended the interior to resemble a forest, with inclined columns like branching trees, helicoidal in form, creating a simple but sturdy structure. Gaudí applied all of his previous experimental findings in this project, from works such as the Park Güell and the crypt of the Colònia Güell, creating a church that is at once structurally perfect, harmonious and aesthetically satisfying.

TThe architect has designed a meticulous symbology that makes this building a mystical poem