Interview—Island of the World

When human beings are assaulted by radically dehumanizing experiences, as individuals or as part of systemic catastrophes, each of us is put to a fundamental test of character, our core belief about what really goes on in the universe. In such situations, man without God feels that he can rely only on himself, or on politics as pseudo-salvation. By contrast, man in union with God experiences a transcending hope, and a gradual union with Christ. Little by little he learns that his sufferings are redemptive. Easy to say, much harder to live. In fact, the blows of radical evil put the soul to an ultimate test.

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Silence in a Season of Fury

On a planet crammed with ever-increasing news of a volatile nature,which is the noise made when titanic ships meet unexpected icebergs, orthe cacophony generated by an entire civilization wired for sound,observing and analyzing itself as it warps into unintelligible shapes,I hesitate as never before to add my own little bit of news.

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The Passion of William Kurelek

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The astonishing career of the Canadian Catholic painter William Kurelek is an anomaly in the history of modern religious art. His paintings hang in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirschhorn Museum of the Smithsonian Institute, the collection of Queen Elizabeth II, the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and several other museums in North America and Europe. During his lifetime he was honoured with more than thirty national and international awards, no less than six documentary films have been made of his life and work to date, and at least sixteen books of his stories and paintings have been published, including his great project, The Passion of Christ, a series of 160 illustrations of the Gospel of Matthew. Kurelek became increasingly well-known as his work was published and as he attracted more and more attention in international magazines. The New York Times called him “the North American Breughel.” Memories of his childhood surfaced in award-winning books such as A Prairie Boy’s Summer and A Prairie Boy’s Winter. His imaginative Northern Nativity, a redepiction of the birth of Christ in Canadian scenes, became a modern children’s classic. In later years he concentrated on several volumes which illustrated the life of the ethnic peoples of Canada: the Inuit, the Irish, the Jews, the Poles and the Ukrainians. At his death he left an estimated ten thousand works of art (a figure which includes major drawings), two thousand of which were paintings completed during the seventeen years between his first exhibition and his death in 1977. The fame which came to him during those public years was in stark contrast to the desolation of his early life as an artist, during which he labored under chronic depression and almost universal indifference to his message.


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A Quiet Little War

Those of you who have read my novels, or my articles on globalization, know that I believe that the radical model of “world governance” currently being promoted by the United Nations Organization and by other organizations will be a new form of totalitarianism, if it is ever fully realized. It’s my conviction that the globalism of the new world order will not bring order but instead will bring a semblance of order through total control over all sectors of private and public life. It will, in the process, infest life in the human community on this planet with all manner of disorders and anti-human dimensions. That kind of globalism embodies within its core presumptions certain errors about the meaning of the human person, and the human community. In a sense it represents the worst kind of ultra-nationalism, but inflated to the planetary scale, lacking the lavish diversity provided by numerous different cultures and nations states–a diversity that is essential for any human civilization. 

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Island of the World

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Island of the World is the story of a child born in 1933 into the turbulent world of the Balkans and tracing his life into the third millennium. The central character is Josip Lasta, the son of an impoverished school teacher in a remote village high in the mountains of the Bosnian interior. As the novel begins, World War II is underway and the entire region of Yugoslavia is torn by conflicting factions: German and Italian occupying armies, and the rebel forces that resist them — the fascist Ustashe, Serb nationalist Chetniks, and Communist Partisans. As events gather momentum, hell breaks loose, and the young and the innocent are caught in the path of great evils. Their only remaining strength is their religious faith and their families.

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A Wounding Beauty—Traces

This interview for Traces, the Italian language journal of the Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation, appears in its July 2007 edition. The interviewer is Dr. Edoardo Rialti, a professor of literature in Florence, Italy, and translator of Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Thomas Howard and others.

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Role of Catholic Writer

 

My Catholic faith is my life. Any artist, if he is to be faithful to how he perceives the world and to the nature of his creative gifts, cannot divorce the two. To create is to love. To love is to create. This is true for all of us, regardless of our vocation, in whatever forms the human person seeks to give life; either in the private life of “Nazareth” — where most people live — or the public life of a more visible role in the shaping of society. Love cannot long survive without truth. Nor is truth really truth unless it is integrated with love.

During the 30 years I have been a painter and writer, I have noted a distinct pattern in myself: Whenever my prayer and sacramental life grow lax, the work suffers. It may continue to be clever and even dazzling to the eye, yet it becomes more and more shallow. Here is the vine and the branches that Jesus speaks of with a certain urgency. If creators of Christian culture hope to produce work that will bear good fruit, we must draw our life from the true source — our living Savior. He is real. He is present. But all too often we reduce him to an abstraction, giving him intellectual assent, but not our hearts.

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The Family and the New Totalitarianism

The mighty of the earth are moving towards absolute power in an effort to establish control over what they perceive to be the chaos of the human condition. It is a harsh period, for winter seizes the hearts of many. Love grows cold. Honesty declines. Crime reaches epic proportions. Marriage is picked to pieces by analysts; the relations between men and women have become horribly complicated, fraught with tension, riddled with ideology. The family farm has given way to the factory farm. The village to the metropolis. The craftsman to the mega-machine. The shop to the corporation. Men hurl their malice upon each other in high-tech wars, though the machete is still in use here and there. Millions of children die unseen within the death-chambers ofour clinics and hospitals, accomplishing, for sheer numbers, what Auschwitz, Bosnia, and Rwanda could not begin to do. Belief in human life falters, hearts are pumped full of dread. Theorists discuss ways in which the death of billions of human beings can be accomplished effectively, humanely—billions of miracles, billions of mysteries. And thus, more and more people are drawn into despair on one hand, or sensualism on the other, searching for the merest hint of the great fire of Love—a love that longs for them to turn to Him, if they would only believe.

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Michael O’Brien book on Harry Potter

 

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New Book by Michael D. O’Brien

Introduction by Bishop Julian Porteous, Sydney, Australia

Available from:  www.ignatius.com


or from www.amazon.com

Kindle e-book: www.amazon.com

or from www.amazon.co.uk

Bishop Julian Porteous, Auxiliary Bishop and exorcist  of the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia:  “Like Michael O’Brien, I believe that Catholic parents need to be alerted to the possible negative influences these books can have on the moral and spiritual formation of their children. Any parent concerned about the formation of their children’s character should read this book.”

The Harry Potter Series, book by book.  Parental Strategies for Healthy Family Culture. Pope Benedict and Harry Potter. The War of Disinformation and Opinion. Harry Potter and the Gnostic Mind. Where Is It All Going? Twilight of the West. The Golden Compass or the Moral Compass?

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Our Lady and a Little Beggar


I live in Canada, which for half of the year is a cold country. For most of our thirty years of marriage my wife and I have had a large image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a central place in our home, and her face has been a constant source of warmth and consolation to us. It is a mystery to me how her face seems to change from day to day. Some days she is smiling, on other days there is a gentle grief in her eyes, on still others we feel a wave of quiet, steady love coming from her. Nothing dramatic, but always there. We see her as the Mother of our family. We know she is also the Mother of the Americas. She is also the mother of all peoples, the mother of all mankind, and at Guadalupe she is revealed as the Woman of Revelation, the one who will crush the serpent with her heel.

When she appeared in the very epicenter of the Aztec cult of death, the new world’s heart of darkness, she identified herself in these words: “I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things, who is master of heaven and earth. . . . I am your merciful Mother, the mother of all who live united in this land, of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me.”

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