James Matthew Wilson over at FIRST THINGS alerts us to the creation of The Colosseum Institute: For the Arts of Poetry and the Renewal of Catholic Letters in Our Time. He makes a strong case for the desperate need of such an institute. It is a case many of us are familiar with, but it is always heartening to hear it again in a new voice.
“A merciless and utterly tasteless regime of “identity politics” and “social justice” has taken over, just as it has in so many other cultural and educational institutions. Aesthetic standards and literary taste are derided as mere tools of the powerful; all that now matters is the color of an author’s skin. The bonfires of “intersectional” rage, in our literary journals and newspapers, may well leave you longing for the old secular aestheticism it has obliterated.
It has left a place, however, for writers and artists to do something at once very old and very new: building up a genuine literature, rooted in human experience but rising up to what gorgeously transcends it. A culture long in decline has now collapsed and, to mix metaphors, begun to devour itself. This clarifies for us that, as always, our choice is between Christ and nothing.
The new Catholic writing provides something everyone already desires, whether they explicitly understand it or not. We go to literature for a truth deeper than facts. It’s now clear that the mainstream of American culture does not even believe in facts. The new Catholic writing believes it has something to teach us about human villainy and human goodness.
No one would find the contemplation of art and literature worthwhile if beauty were not real. The new Catholic writing works on the principle that the splendor of truth – beauty – can reveal itself to us in image, in story, and in aesthetic form…”
Read the whole thing HERE.