September 15, 2008

Worlds Collide

Last Friday one of the friars asked me to go computer shopping with him at the SoHo Apple store; he's from a different generation and felt he needed a translator and a bodyguard to face the sea of tech-savvy hipsters that make up both the staff and the customers. The trip was a success and he bought a new MacBook Pro. By divine Providence, the kid who helped us was obviously a good Filipino Catholic boy.

After leaving we were walking down Prince St., and decided to duck into St. Patrick's Old Cathedral for a visit. It just happened to be time for Benediction, and I started belting out the Tantum Ergo in an embarrasingly loud tone before I realized what I was doing. (This is an occupational hazard for clergy which I have observed for years, and now see in myself sometimes.)

At the end of the prayer I was very amused by the cultural dissonance of going right from the Apple Store to Benediction. It was like going straight from the high aesthetic of the post-modern (and "post-Christian") technological world to the high aesthetic of classical Catholicism.

4 comments:

Paula said...

Dear brother,
I am happy to find you the same...as I left you when I took the blogging break. :-).
Ich wünsche Dir Gottes Segen.

Brother Charles said...

And it's good to have you back, too. May God bless you as well.

Lee Hamilton said...

That spell of cultural dissonance makes me think of Umberto Eco's riff on "IBM vs. Mac". It's been around for a while, so you've probably read it before. According to his tongue-in-cheek appraisal, Apples couldn't be more Catholic: http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_mac_vs_pc.html

The funny thing is that he's been vindicated (sorta). The Vatican does indeed use Apples...or at least Linux. You might be interested in this interview of Sr. Judith Zoebelstein, who manages the Vatican web presence if you haven't seen it before. She's got a lot of interesting insights into the use of technology to create 'community':
http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/technology/1363/meet-the-techie-sister-behind-vaticans-website

Brother Charles said...

Thanks, Lee, for this link to Eco. It is a delight! PC "imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user." Ha!Windows as Anglican imitation of Rome, with the option to return to DOS when you feel like it. Even funnier.

And let me weight in on this one: The Sacred Heart is certainly more republican--in the classical, not the American sense--than monarchist.