I respond to those who would like me to talk only about poetry and philosophy, not about Catholicism. References: Les Murray, T.S. Eliot, Christopher Dawson, Nicolás Gómez Dávila
I “Poetry is Catholic, Poetry is Presence” – Les Murray
I reflect on Les Murray’s poem, “Distinguo,” while addressing listener response to the more openly “Catholic turn” in my presentation in season two of the podcast.
This discussion serves in part as a general response to those who have written with doubts about the relevance of the Catholic sacred tradition to the idea of wholeness.
My approach to faith, the sacred, and wholeness is not one of argumentation, explanation, etc. It is, rather, of a direct showing. It is a poetic response that aims to make connection(s) present to the listener.
II Poetry and the Sacred: In the world, but not of it
There is much in common between the sacred tradition and poetry also in the way that the world of today understands them, or if we’re being honest, misunderstands them, or fails to understand them at all.
We live in a world, in which people are used to reason, explanation, definition, quantification of all things and experiences. More significantly, they see that way of describing the world as not merely necessary but also as sufficient for all understanding. Faith and poetry are out of step with such understanding in a similar manner.
Presence is something that resists such definition. And, as Les Murray put it so succinctly, poetry is Catholic, poetry is presence.
When one is talking about the presence in poetry and in the Catholic tradition, there is a different sense and relationship to time altogether than that of the everyday world. There is a connection to the eternal, a connection between the transcendent and the immanent — connections that our world today denies.
III Presence vs Worldliness, Faith vs Ideology
Presence is opposed to worldliness. Presence is not escapism.
Philosophy can be a form of escapism, especially when decoupled from the sacred.
Finally, I answer a question that I received about whether or not religious faith itself isn’t a form of ideology.
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