Friday, April 29, 2016

the development of doctrine seen through 80s hair metal

No, seriously.



source;  Facebook--with slight edits by yours truly.

Three years ago, in this blog's infancy, I threatened an extensive post on "hair metal" bands of the 1980s.  Folks, that day has arrived.

Advice:  Turn up the volume--then continue reading.

Prologomena:  "Metal" is both an adjective and noun, and no, I don't mean the chemical form.  Metal means heavy metal music: loud, abrasively rhythmic, searing guitar riffs and solos, usually piercingly high (male) vocals, and often dark, gothic lyrics.  Metal sings both of human depravity and resistance.  Metal songs can celebrate the crass debasement of sexuality...or it can illuminate the downtrodden nobody else knows about. It does so retaining some sort of melody, too.  Metal is not punk, at least not in its origins.  Crafted and spawned in American, British, and Canadian working classes, metal has defended "the rock and roll lifestyle" long after other genres sold out for better sales, better haircuts, and more exposure.  Hence the adjective:  "metal."  Something metal means it's tougher, harder, unfiltered...and transcendent. 

Metal  resurrects because in its frequent celebrations of death it also looks to life beyond death. If it's metal, it might be dangerous, occasionally unholy, and a stark threat to your entire personal being...and afterward you'll want another shot.  Metal is not a drug;  in fact, most illicit drugs offer only ersatz metal experiences.  Metal overwhelms, pulverizes, and remakes your previous self.  Metal is simultaneously cathartic and converting.  Overkill's 1989 classic "Elimination" includes the defiant line "Fatal?  You're sh*****g me!  A second opinion's what I need!"  Metal resists, even when it might seem all resistance is futile.  Metal certainly disdains--and, let's face it, often seeks to destroy--Victorian tact and prim morals.  Nevertheless, metal certainly understands Christian martrydom and the question of (apparently) unredeemed suffering.


Prologomena, part II:  Thus, despite stereotypes rooted mostly in the shallowness of white, evangelical Protestantism, metal and Christianity are not mutually exclusive.  Roman Catholics especially enjoy theological, spiritual, and even historical connections to metal.  Born-again Christians are stuck eschewing Led Zeppelin's classic Stairway to Heaven, concerned that nobody goes to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6).  They are, of course, correct on one level, but, really, who can listen to that song and not see Tolkien's Lady Galadriel pondering Frodo's free offer of the One Ring?  (H/T to Hillsdale's Dr. Bradley Birzer for that hermeneutic.)  The song itself balances acoustic grace with, well, leaden guitar chords, just like a Gothic cathedral's own chiaroscurro.  Led Zep recalls Tolkien--whose Catholic credentials need no defense here--in several other songs:  "Misty Mountain Hop," "Ramble On," etc.  Sometimes metal recognizes with frank clarity how the Christian faith's struggles amid the world's turmoils, needing God's grace and intervention to make it through.   Skid Row's 1991 Quicksand Jesus (written by guitarist David Sabo, whose lyrics exude Catholic sensibility) offers an eloquent example.

Bishop Barron on Bill Nye and Philosophy





Why rage against Bill Nye when Bishop Barron does it so well?  Sophisticated, clear, charitable, and well-informed.



Oh...and RIGHT.



And at 7:17 through the end, Barron makes a devastating link between the crisis of the humanities in American education and Nye's scientism by way of Plato's Cave.  That alone makes Barron's refutation worth considering.



The Church, created by Christ and devoted to following Him back to God, loves and defends the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.  We obviously need and use science in that pursuit, but Barron reminds that scientism actually impairs and inhibits it.  May we remain mindful of the difference!

Friday, April 22, 2016

penny-wise & pound-foolish

Thomas Williams writes at Crux about the recent conflict over bathroom access.  Should transgendered persons--born biologically as one sex but identify (and usually dress) as another sex or androgynous--have access to the bathroom of their choice, not their biology?  Willams sees a longer game at work here.

In his recent letter on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia(“The Joy of Love”), Pope Francis said that sex education should teach “respect and appreciation” for sexual differences, including self-acceptance and learning to embrace the body with which one is born, rather than playing with fictional identities that deny reality.
“The young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created,” he wrote. Thinking that we enjoy “absolute power over our own bodies,” Francis warned, leads to the delusion that “we enjoy absolute power over creation.”
This could turn out to be the most unpopular stance the pope took in the entire letter.
Scott Eric Alt and a few others have lately had to fend off the rad-trad crowd, Dien Bien Phu style, over Amoris Laetitia.  This blog has covered those here and here.  Williams, though, brings up a crucial point perhaps missed in that first onslaught:  Pope Francis reiterates the principle common in Catholic circles:  human freedom arrogantly assumes complete control of nature when only God possesses such power.  We are part of the creation, not the actual creators.  Every undergraduate student writes that note in a college classroom (or at least they should), but it takes somebody like Pope Francis to apply that idea to reality. The results, Williams notes, can cause significant discomfort.  Williams notes a recent video wherein college students demonstrate the problem generating the current bathroom access issues:  nobody wants to say anything negative about somebody's assertion of self-identification.  Age, gender, and ethnicity are all social constructs in which we decide to participate.  The only limitation recognized, apparently, is height;  the videographer could not get any of the interviewed to agree with his assertion of being six foot five inches tall (he's much shorter).  One of the students interviewed, Williams notes, responded:

Another summed up her opinion by saying: “I feel like it’s not my place, as like another human, to say someone is wrong or to draw lines or boundaries.”

So as long as you don't identify as tall or short--physical realities we're apparently forced to accept--you can identify as male, female, trans, Asian, African, African-American, white, Irish, whatever. Your self-assertion creates your reality.  Thus Williams:

Twenty-five years ago, Saint John Paul II argued that allowing the will dominance over reason and reality will end up leading society over a cliff.
In his 1991 encyclical letter Centesimus Annus, John Paul wrote that in the political organization of the state, the only alternative to reason is will. If things are not based on what is, they must be based on what we want them to be.
The “we” in question here is always the strongest, whether expressed as a majority or simply as the most powerful interest group.

Williams is quite right, and his use of St. John Paul II is exactly on target.  Williams traces John Paul's career of survival through both National Socialism and Marxist Communism.  In both cases, the totalitarian system in power determined reality based on the perception of those in power, not reality itself.  (Not surprisingly, the influence of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, "the sacred monster of Thomism", can be see here, especially Book 4 of his Reality.).  Williams sees the past as prologue, except now the totalitarianism in power is democracy.  Williams:

As a society, we’ve now passed seamlessly from defining people by their sexual “orientation” to defining them by their subjective belief of who they are, regardless of what biology or genetics says, and all in less than a generation.
Where this will ultimately lead is anybody’s guess, but if the opinions of the millennial generation are to be believed, the trend has not yet nearly run its course.
And if St. John Paul is to be believed, it will not end in the flourishing of democracy, but in its demise.

Scary but probably to prove true.  The Church does not seek to persecute the transgendered. If anything those individuals need help and support--spiritual, psychological, and physical.  That being said, our care for the marginalized cannot lead us to deny reality itself.  Unlike those college students, we need to be able to say to others "I understand you feel that way, but that's not the reality you face."  After all, Bishop Barron makes a similar point about the nation's now-recognized problem with pornography.  Freud told us that liberating the libido would liberate us.  Like the college students, the nation doesn't want to be seen as restricting the expressive freedom of others--even it's becoming clearer and clearer that such expressions suppress life itself.  Where will this short-sightedness lead us?

Read all of Williams's article here.
Read Bishop Barron's column here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

J Robert Sheehan singing Danny Boy in the Cathedral





Bob Sheehan broke every bond that tried to hold him.  He had a great love to teaching, for vocal performance (some of which this video captures), for Ireland, and the Church, and of course his family. Bob always had a hearty laugh, some choice swear words, and extended middle-finger, usually jabbed in the air for additional emphasis, for everybody he met--student, administrator, or faculty colleague.  Bob died earlier today--here is the obituary--and is already missed.  At least we have a legacy like this, recorded in Albany's beautiful and under-appreciated Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, to remind us.  Eternal rest and light perpetual, O Lord...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

When the Levee Breaks Amoris Laetita version

When the levee breaks, got no place to stay...

Yes, it's important to remember the classics.




When reading R. R. Reno's reservations about Amoris Laetita, the image of resisting an apparently impending flood kept recurring.  Given my previous post about the AL tidal wave--an apt image for all the reactions it has generated--I wondered if Reno trying to stop the leaks by sticking thumbs in dyke walls or whether he, having seen the first floor of home flooded, decamped to the second or third or higher floors.

Reno recognizes the face value of the new document;  nothing has changed.


Francis doesn’t actually say that divorced and remarried Catholics can receive communion. Amoris Laetitia explicitly affirms the church’s teaching on marriage. But in long digressions into the complexities of moral and pastoral discernment, Francis provides plenty of justifications for others to say that, yes, in particular situations, divorced and married Catholics can receive communion. All the while, Francis insists that the Catholic teaching on marriage must be affirmed. The ambiguity seems intentional, designed to increase scope for pastoral discretion.
The Catholic teaching on marriage is clear: It is permanent and cannot be dissolved. This is not a merely canonical matter, as though church officials at some point resolved to make indissolubility a feature of Catholic marriage. Christ warns us not to put asunder what God has put together. St. Paul associates the covenant of marriage with the unbreakable bond of God’s love for us in Christ. Then, in a move characteristic of Catholicism, the Church teaches that in our wedding rites, the sacramental promise of permanence becomes real, just as Christ’s promise to be with us until the end of the age becomes real in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine on the altar.
Marriage's reality--beyond the mere psychological or emotional apprecation--is where the trouble starts.  

Rusty Reno on Catholic Social Doctrine in Transition





Succinct lecture in New York given recently (March 22, 2016) by First Things editor R. R. Reno.  His focus on dignity and subsidiarity, surely two of the most familiar concepts in Catholic social thought, makes a great about the balance between resisting both collectivism and individualism.  Reno moves from there to discuss the ways in which the Church, being part of human existence, also participates--at least somewhat--in the exaggerations (Reno's characterization) of either pole (collectivism or individualism).  An interesting point and one worth considering, especially in light of Amoris Laetitia and, for that matter, Reno's reservations thereof.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

radical Pope Francis is more radical than your political radical

So argues Kathryn Lopez and she's exactly right.  Lopez:


Mercy. Mercy. Mercy!
It seems all Pope Francis is capable of talking about, whatever the issue.
Then Bernie Sanders announces the pope’s more radical than he is on Morning Joe on MSNBC Friday morning, and that seems to drive the story line where hopes and dreams and Rolling Stone covers are invested in the Holy Father up-hauling Church doctrine and announcing one day soon same-sex marriage and any-/every-thing else is A-Okay.
That didn’t happen, of course, in “The Joy of Love,” released Friday from Pope Francis… and don’t miss the joy and the love in the frenzy of sound bytes and commentary.
But Sanders is right. Pope Francis is more radical than the socialist senator from Vermont. He’s radical in the ways of the Gospel.
How about that?  Even Sanders recognizes Pope Francis' challenge to world comes from sources far deeper and broader than anything Sanders himself use or references.  More Lopez:
I like to call Pope Francis the Jesuit spiritual director for the world. Of course, the problem with doing that is it unintentionally encourages all types of recycled Jesuit jokes.
Why I do it anyway is he is often a Jesuit at his best—making use of the great gift of St. Ignatius Loyola, his Spiritual Exercises. If you listen to Francis – especially in his daily Mass homilies at Santa Marta – you hear a good shepherd guiding the people of God in an examination of conscience.
I can’t remember a time where he didn’t call me out on something I needed to be called out on. He draws you deeper into prayer.
You often hear his prayers, which are so often focused deep on the suffering of those who are most overlooked, ignored, cast aside, and forgotten. And, yes, that includes the impoverished, the sick, the prisoner, and those vulnerable and seen as disposable often under false and confused banners of mercy and freedom and flourishing.

In The Right Measure

OK, this post isn't a celebration of the pop song by Nick Lowe but that does have a catchy chorus:  "You gotta to be cruel to be kind, in the right measure.  Cruel to be kind, it's a very good sign."




Lowe's song wormed its way as I read Marc LiVecche's "The Violence of Pacifism."  Responding to a Sojourners blogger who suggested today's Christians would be judged by their inaction in the face of great evils, LiVecche criticizes the Sojourners' advocacy of pacifism.  That, LiVecche argues, actually makes things worse.  The Crucifixion certainly indicts human violence, but focusing solely there, LiVecche suggests, misses the point.  

The cross saved us, indeed, from our sins; but it did not save us from sinning: that is, it reconciled us to God but not necessarily to our neighbor. Scripture certainly doesn’t pretend so, as demonstrated by Paul’s assertion that God provides the sword as a necessary answer, however temporary and ultimately inadequate, to the practical problem of human evil.

Correct--in this fallen world, to achieve good sometimes you need a show--and sometimes use--of force.  LiVecche again:

The just war tradition recognizes that those who mean the innocent harm cannot always be talked out of their evildoing and must, instead, be knocked out of it. In fact, for an example of this we can gesture briefly to Mattson’s concern about racism. In September of 1957, in order to support the Little Rock Nine’s attempt to integrate Central High School in Arkansas, President Eisenhower needed to order the Army’s 101stAirborne Division to protect the nine from the ongoing threats of white mob violence hellbent on preventing black students from going to class. Force and power, the very things Mattson [SD note: Sojourners' blogger] wants Christians to abandon, were necessary to desegregate schools. Force cannot create peace, but it can create the conditions necessary for peace to have any chance at all of taking root. In any case, while there is a divine mandate that speaks to turning our other cheek to our attacker, there is never such warrant to turn our neighbor’s unstruck cheek to their attacker. This should all be rather self-evident. If our actions in history result in greater harm for our innocent-neighbor getting their teeth kicked out but great delight for our enemy-neighbor doing the kicking, we ought to wonder if there’s something amiss in our policy. When the cost of the preservation of our own piety is our innocent-neighbor’s annihilation, then this act of self-centered other-donation is a moral perversion. So pacifism also does violence to the innocently assailed neighbor.

Wow, that's a powerful line--and a provocative criticism of a pro-pacifist argument that, LiVecche recognizes, far too often gets a free-pass in today's conversations.  Pacifism is, of course, admirable:  Dorothy Day and even modern figures like Bishop Robert Barron have advocated it.  But to declare oneself for that is far different than declaring for oneself and everybody else the same agenda.  We cannot, LiVecche notes, hide our refusal act under a non-violent mantle.  Our faith requires action, and sometimes, rarely, we pray, circumstances might require the use of force.  This recognition should be seen for what it is:  a proportionate and infrequent response.  Resorting to violence first is a lustful, self-satisfying response that helps no one and hurts everybody involved, both victim and perpetrator. LiVecche does a good service to reiterate this.

Read it all here.

Friday, April 8, 2016

pendulum swings

So, amidst the Amor Laetitia reactions came this news:  Bernie Sanders is going to the Vatican...just days before the New York Democratic Primary (April 19). From the NY Times:

Mr. Sanders tried to move beyond the controversy and stressed his fondness for the pope and the importance of his visit. In an interview on Friday, he said Pope Francis had played a “profound role in raising consciousness throughout the world, not just within the Catholic community but within all communities.”
“To me, this a source of real pride and excitement that I have been invited to speak to a major conference at the Vatican on how we can create a world economy that is moral and how we address the massive levels of wealth and income inequality that exist around the world, how we deal with unemployment, how we deal with poverty and how we create an economy that works for all people rather than the few,” Mr. Sanders said.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Mr. Sanders explained that while he disagreed with Pope Francis on issues relating to women’s rights and gay rights, he admired the pope for speaking about income inequality and the need for people to help one another.
“He has played an unbelievable role, an unbelievable role of injecting a moral consequence into the economy,” said Mr. Sanders, who would become the first Jewish president in the United States if elected. “He is talking about the idolatry of money, the worship of money, the greed that’s out there, how our whole culture is based on: ‘I need more and more and more.'”
Read it all here.

OK, at first I will admit being surprised.  It seems clear Sanders sought this for political advantage, and while this blog hasn't tackled the issue, other Catholic bloggers have considered the ramifications of "Can Catholics vote for Bernie Sanders (or Donald Trump)?"  That sort of question always seems to devolve into the usual Catholic left/right dichotomies bedeviling both the Church itself and our contemporary discourse.

Then it dawned on me.

Pope Francis already met with--however briefly (thank God!)--Kim Davis, she the Kentucky county clerk who briefly went to jail for refusing to sign same-sex marriage contracts.  She ran across Pope Francis' path during his US visit in September, 2015.  Steps have since been taken to reprimand the Vatican official who arranged the meeting unbeknownst to Pope Francis.  In other words, the Holy Father got surprised, didn't like it (understandably), and quietly communicated that.

Makes you wonder what will happen when Sanders' clear support of abortion rights becomes known, if not already, through the Vatican halls.

Amoris Laetitia Tsunami

Science tells us tsunamis (tidal waves) have clear warning signs before impact.  Two examples within recent memory exemplify this:  the 2004 Indonesian tsunami that resulted in at least 230, 000 deaths and the 2011 Fukushima tsunami which continues to plague Japan.

Friday, April 8, saw the release of Amoris Laetitia  ("The Joy of Love"), the Synod on the Family's final report.  You'd think we were experiencing the ecclesiological equivalent of a tsunami.  All sorts of folks--Catholic and not--weighing in on what Pope Francis did or did not say.  Not worth reposting here, but I saw at least one Twitter calling for Francis' resignation due to heresy.  Kind of like this:



H/T Mollie Z. Hemingway of The Federalist

To survive a tsunami, head to higher ground!  With that in mind, here are two, relatively differing, opinions from sources I respect.  First, Dr. Ed Peters' Canon Law Blog:


Holy Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Francis does not approve this central assault tactic against the permanence of marriage, but neither does he clearly reiterate constant Church teaching and practice against administering the Eucharist to Catholics in irregular marriage situations. And, speaking of ‘irregular marriage’, nearly every time Francis uses that traditional phrase to describe what could more correctly be termed pseudo-marriage, he puts the word “irregular” in scare quotes, as if to imply that the designation is inappropriate and that he is using it only reluctantly.
...
‘Same-sex marriage’. Francis leaves no opening whatsoever that ‘same-sex marriage’ can ever be regarded as marriage. AL 251.

Among the problems Peters sees these:
4. In AL 297, Francis writes: “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” To the contrary, it is precisely the logic of the Gospel that one can be condemned forever. CCC 1034-1035. If one meant, say, that no one can be ‘condemned for ever’ by earthly authority, one should have said so. But, of course, withholding holy Communion from those in “public and permanent adultery” is not a “condemnation” at all, so the point being made is not clear.
5. In AL 280-286, directly discussing sex education for youth, I did not see any acknowledgement, indeed not even a mention, that parents have rights in this important area. Perhaps that is to be gleaned from comments about parents made elsewhere in AL.
Peters also links to Father Schall, SJ's comments, so I will, too:  read them here


Then here's Bishop Robert Barron's initial reflections:
In regard to the moral objectivities of marriage, the Pope is bracingly clear. He unhesitatingly puts forward the Church’s understanding that authentic marriage is between a man and a woman, who have committed themselves to one another in permanent fidelity, expressing their mutual love and openness to children, and abiding as a sacrament of Christ’s love for his Church (52, 71). He bemoans any number of threats to this ideal, including moral relativism, a pervasive cultural narcissism, the ideology of self-invention, pornography, the “throwaway” society, etc. He explicitly calls to our attention the teaching of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae regarding the essential connection between the unitive and the procreative dimensions of conjugal love (80). Moreover, he approvingly cites the consensus of the recent Synod on the Family that homosexual relationships cannot be considered even vaguely analogous to what the Church means by marriage (251). He is especially strong in his condemnation of ideologies that dictate that gender is merely a social construct and can be changed or manipulated according to our choice (56). Such moves are tantamount, he argues, to forgetting the right relationship between creature and Creator. Finally, any doubt regarding the Pope’s attitude toward the permanence of marriage is dispelled as clearly and directly as possible: “The indissolubility of marriage—‘what God has joined together, let no man put asunder’ (Mt 19:6) —should not be viewed as a ‘yoke’ imposed on humanity, but as a ‘gift’ granted to those who are joined in marriage…” (62).
And more:
The second move—and here we come to what will undoubtedly be the most controverted part of the exhortation—is to employ the Church’s classical distinction between the objective quality of a moral act and the subjective responsibility that the moral agent bears for committing that act (302). The Pope observes that many people in civil marriages following upon a divorce find themselves in a nearly impossible bind. If their second marriage has proven faithful, life-giving, and fruitful, how can they simply walk out on it without in fact incurring more sin and producing more sadness? This is, of course, not to insinuate that their second marriage is not objectively disordered, but it is to say that the pressures, difficulties, and dilemmas might mitigate their culpability.  Here is how Pope Francis applies the distinction: “Hence it is can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace” (301). Could the Church’s minister, therefore, not help such people, in the privacy of the rectory parlor or the confessional, to discern their degree of moral responsibility? Once again, this is not to embrace a breezy “anything-goes” mentality, nor to deny that a civil marriage after a divorce is objectively irregular; it is to find, perhaps, for someone in great pain, a way forward. - See more at: http://aleteia.org/2016/04/08/bishop-barron-first-thoughts-on-amoris-laetitia/#sthash.LnwLcjCE.dpuf

Read more of Bishop Barron here.

It will take time, of course, to sort through all that Amoris Laetitia gives, but right now the tsunami seems an awful lot like last summer's first experience of Laudato Si'.  We had to read throughout it a few (hundred) times to ascertain its arguments, strengths, and weaknessess.  Amoris will be no different.  The problem, as Scott Eric Alt notes, is that often Pope Francis' style leaves even his most ardent defenders (which Alt and Bishop Barron both are) confused.  So let's seek the highest ground possible, let the tsunami damage flow through, and then descend to start the inevitable clean-up.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

New York Times Attempts to Read Tea Leaves Ahead of Amoris Laetitia

New York Times Attempts to Read Tea Leaves Ahead of Amoris Laetitia


Latest post by Scott Eric Alt at Patheos, wherein the intrepid Mr. Alt assesses the NYT and finds it wanting.  Namely, it wants--wants Pope Francis to finally get with the program and deliver the liberal goods promised at his 2013 election.


The Synod's final report Amoris Laetitia has been rumored/feared (depends on whom you ask) to do this.


Alt's not buying it and nor should we.  A sample, starting with the Times quoted:



For the past two years, Francis has guided the church through a sweeping exercise of self-examination that some scholars have compared to the Second Vatican Council.
Really? Methinks “some scholars” doth exaggerate too much—perhaps the result of their own private fantasies of hope and change.
Having led Catholics into such delicate terrain, Francis has stirred hope and fear. Some religious conservatives warn he could destabilize the church and undermine Catholic doctrine. [The sky is falling.] Some liberals, though, are hoping Francis will directly address same-sex marriage and contraception in a way that would make the church more responsive to today’s realities.
By “responsive,” read “obeisant.” That is what the Times hopes. But the conservatives and the liberals are both wrong. (That will not stop either of them, after tomorrow, from claiming vindication, but wrong they are.)
Earlier this year Alt addressed with equally calm demeanor and sharp logic what he has correctly labeled "Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome" among the Church's right-wing.  The left and its secular support staff (i.e., the NY Times) doesn't have derangement syndrome as much as "dissatisfied irrational hope syndrome."  They--the left--keep thinking we're just days away from the Francis-inaugurated Eschaton wherein Vatican II will be restored authentically.  That, Alt notes, isn't going to happen any time soon.  The Right, though, suffers from its own maladies.  As one of Alt's friends cross-posted on Facebook from Catholic Memes (who, in turn, received it from Greg Hillis):







As Alt notes, maybe we should, y'know, read the document before commenting.  Well said.


You Are My Sunshine





Two great Google+ friends, +Lisa OFS and +Deacon Scott Dodge, routinely post great music clips.  Here's one from Chris and Morgane Stapleton, taking a new look at an old country music.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Working Man Blues





Merle Haggard died today, April 6, on his 79th birthday. His songs permeated many of my summer and weekend jobs in southwestern Missouri.  Not until much later did I appreciate what he celebrated and accomplished in his music.  This song, "Working Man Blues," is a good example.  At one level, it's a working stiff drinking a beer and contemplating work and a crowded house (nine kids!) back home.  


Read the lyrics accompanying this video and then consider Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum.  There's a lot more resemblance than you'd think.  Consider:

13. That right to property, therefore, which has been proved to belong naturally to individual persons, must in like wise belong to a man in his capacity of head of a family; nay, that right is all the stronger in proportion as the human person receives a wider extension in the family group. It is a most sacred law of nature that a father should provide food and all necessaries for those whom he has begotten; and, similarly, it is natural that he should wish that his children, who carry on, so to speak, and continue his personality, should be by him provided with all that is needful to enable them to keep themselves decently from want and misery amid the uncertainties of this mortal life. Now, in no other way can a father effect this except by the ownership of productive property, which he can transmit to his children by inheritance. A family, no less than a State, is, as We have said, a true society, governed by an authority peculiar to itself, that is to say, by the authority of the father. Provided, therefore, the limits which are prescribed by the very purposes for which it exists be not transgressed, the family has at least equal rights with the State in the choice and pursuit of the things needful to its preservation and its just liberty. We say, "at least equal rights"; for, inasmuch as the domestic household is antecedent, as well in idea as in fact, to the gathering of men into a community, the family must necessarily have rights and duties which are prior to those of the community, and founded more immediately in nature. If the citizens, if the families on entering into association and fellowship, were to experience hindrance in a commonwealth instead of help, and were to find their rights attacked instead of being upheld, society would rightly be an object of detestation rather than of desire.



and



18. In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently -- who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment -- they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as We have said, for the solace to its troubles.




Many of the evangelicals I grew up with would and will protest, and quite frankly I think they're wrong.  Why must we bifurcate our aesthetics and religious ethics to such a degree that we can't see--obviously not complete unanimity--at some good, consideration-worthy resonances?