Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Kevin Tierney Explains It All For You

In light of recent events in the Church, this writer has been loathe to elaborate in this venue. Some write the words we wish we had written ourselves. And so it goes. -- DLA

There are two ways people respond to the crisis in the Church among my trad brethren.

One is to think all is on the verge of being washed away, so desperate times call for desperate measures. I get the feeling, but that's not me.

I belong to a Church that is quite old, part of a wider community of salvation history that is impossibly old, near incomprehensible to our mind. A Church in which most of Her members are forgotten, and sink into anonymity. Where even great saints are barely remembered. They prefer it that way.

To be remembered mostly means you are remembered for something ill. In that case, the Pope's incessant vanity will be his downfall. He believes that he, and he alone, has the power to change history, to the point where it is unable to be altered again. If he is remembered as such, it may be in a way he does not want. And within a decade he will be dead, unable to prevent history from doing what she wants.

So I smile and say: "Good luck. We will be here long after you, comfortable with history forgetting us. Can you say the same?"

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Kevin is a recovering Catholic writer who lives in Brighton, Michigan, with his wife and two children. He is found on Facebook (facebook.com/kmtierney1) and Twitter (@catholicsmark).

Monday, October 14, 2019

Signs of the Times

I saw the work of one sign painter everywhere in the little town of Milford, Ohio, when I was growing up in the 1960s. It was as if the whole town was his client. I don't know what happened to him. And yet, when I visit about once every other year now -- none of the family lives there anymore, and the home was sold several years ago -- I see the remnant of the unknown sign painter, amidst the growing number of antique stores, gourmet restaurants, and ... of all things, microbreweries!

I was finishing high school in 1973, when Dad took me to "Commercial Square," a side street in downtown Cincinnati with a row of old factory warehouse buildings (since razed for what is now the Procter and Gamble headquarters) to visit what he called "a dying art." There, a couple of men ran a sign-painting business. Dad knew I aspired to go to college, but he didn't believe in accumulating massive debts and living on credit. (In fact, he never owned a credit card in his entire life.) If I could find a profession that didn't require a college education, so much the better. I viewed their work with some interest, but little enthusiasm.

I went on to complete my graphic design studies at the University of Cincinnati, graduating in 1978. Looking through old magazines and art manuals, I had a brief flirtation with calligraphy and hand-painted lettering. In the early 1980s, I did calligraphy for special occasions; family, parish, that sort of thing. I left it behind completely once the computer came to our office, and "desktop publishing" was the next big thing.

I came across a 2017 article in Monocle just recently ...

From traditional calligraphy to rare gold-leaf techniques, hand-worked lettering is back in demand. Monocle Films meets three sign painters whose eye-catching signs lend character to cities - and help businesses stand out.

... and I remembered that brief page of my history. Part of the trend may be a reaction to our slavery to technology, as if to lend credence to Newton's Law. Whatever is ancient is new again.

The total cost of my college education, culminating in 1978, has been estimated at around ten thousand dollars. I managed to recover that cost in short order.

And so it goes.