A Letter to Writers and Artists

An Open Letter to Fellow Artists Michael D. O’Brien Dear Friends I receive a very large number of letters from young Christian painters, writers, and musicians, and ask those of you who have written to me to forgive the lack … Continue reading

Foreign Language Translations

Michael O’Brien’s books have been published in a number of foreign languages, including Croatian, Czech, French, German, Hungarian,  Italian, Polish, Spanish, Swedish, Slovenian, and Lithuanian. To obtain contact information for the publishers, click the “Continue reading” button below:

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New Book — “Arriving”

Available from Justin Press, Ottawa, October, 2012 http://www.justinpress.ca/A collection of Michael D. O’Brien’s essays, reviews, and interviews examining the integral role of culture in the new evangelization: where we are gaining ground and where we are losing—and why.  

Art, Totalitarianism and Western Culture

Adapted from an article published in the Summer, 1991, issue of Communio, a journal of theology and culture.

As power extends its grasp into wider and wider rings of human life it becomes more hostile to everything outside of itself. As it becomes near absolute it grows increasingly negative, because by its very nature it must oppose what cannot be extinguished in men’s beings. Totalitarian power does not rest content with obedience and a passive populace. It must seek at some point to destroy the inner impulse to creativity which depends for its well-being on freedom from manipulation. It must find and erase all resistance, all spiritual autonomy, all dignity in its subjects.

Commentary on PCJP Note

The following article was published by the international news service Lifesite News,  27 October, 2011

Michael O’Brien comments on Vatican call for ‘world financial authority’

There is, apparently, much that is good in the “Note on Financial Reform…” from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.  However, while its author(s) seem to draw upon the fundamental principles of the major social encyclicals of the past 120 years, the problem is what they do with the material. In short, they take it and run wild with it:

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Battle with dictatorship of moral relativism

 

During the Aug. 19-20 annual LifeSiteNews staff meeting in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, Catholic novelist and artist Michael O’Brien presented a talk highlighting spiritual emphasis related to the work of LifeSiteNews. The talk was spiritually challenging and placed our work in a profound perspective, one closer to the truth than our day-to-day perceptions grasp. Following are excerpts from Michael O’Brien’s comments that began following a request for him to share whatever insights he had for us, related to his extensive European travels and meetings with many leaders over the past year.


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Cankultur at the end of an age

The difficulty a serious Christian writer faces in this country, when speaking of the cultural revolution (or coup d’état?) that displaces the spontaneous flowering of authentic culture, is that there are no gulags or torture chambers we can point to as evidence that anything remotely like suppression afflicts us. The tragedy, the high drama of the writer’s struggle under overt totalitarianism, is in such stark contrast to the minor trials of the Western writer, that most people consider our situation benign, and our complaints grossly exaggerated. In my opinion, it is precisely our situation that may in the long run prove more deadly to the preservation of “the national heart, the national memory.”


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Subsidiarity in Art

Subsidiarity is the principle which states that freedoms and their inherent responsibilities are best managed by the smallest competent authority at the level most appropriate to the nature of the persons involved. For example, the family, not the state, is the “first teacher” of the family’s children. Governments may assist the family if parents are unable to exercise their subsidiarity, but the state should do so only as a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or personal level. In other words, the government and its administrative organs, such as a department of Education, must serve the family, and not the other way around.

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