A Song Fit for a Pope: Charles Gounod’s Great Pontifical Anthem

So there is such a thing as a "Papal Anthem"? Who knew?! The Papal Anthem--more formally titled the Pontifical Anthem and March--is played to mark the presence of the Pope or one of his representatives, such as a nuncio, and on other solemn occasions. The first eight bars are played whenever the Vatican's flag is raised. Despite the title of the YouTube video I've included here, the Vatican does not call this a "national anthem." It is a composition, they explain, whose words and music "speak … [Read more...]

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President Obama Sings “Amazing Grace”, But Misses the Point

Perhaps you saw this: At the funeral service for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, President Obama delivered a stirring eulogy. In the middle of his remarks, the President belted out "Amazing Grace"--singing a capella before being joined by mourners and members of the congregation.Ironically, he sang this verse:Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found-- was blind, bu … [Read more...]

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The Silent Sound of Tears: A Reflection on the Holocaust

Seventy years ago today, Allied Forces liberated the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, known as the "death factory."  On this day, we remember the victims and we search our hearts:  How could this inhmanity have happened in the modern world? Professor Robert P. George of Princeton offered some sober insights in an essay on the subject.  "The Holocaust," he wrote,"...did not begin with the mass killing of Jews or other ethnic or religious minorities, or even Hitler's political opp … [Read more...]

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