Sanshiro Sugata

Sanshiro Sugata is the first movie that Kurosawa directed and gained him immediate recognition as an artist. This recognition was well deserved. There is in the movie few scenes that betrays an amateur’s hand, and enough excellent scenes to be considered a great movie. Though Kurosawa quickly surpasses this movie in his own work, only movies from the short list of great directors equal it, and the only debut film which stands as tall in my mind is ‘Night of the Hunter’, the one and only movie by Charles Laughton. 

Three great scenes and no bad ones is a rule of thumb for a great movie, and there are three great scenes (and more) in this one: the scene in the monastery’s pond when Sanshiro risks death to prove his dedication to the art of Judo, the scene on the temple stairs when he falls in love with the daughter of the man he must fight, and the climactic scene in the hills when he fights his opponent to the death. These scenes define the movie and showcase Kurosawa’s skill. 

After beating up a village of jiu jitsu fighters, Sugata returns to his Judo master only to be chastised and told he does not have what it takes to master Judo. His response is surprising: desiring to show his willingness to die, he jumps out of the room and into a pond where he spends the night holding onto a post and enduring both the chill water and the jeers of the bemused monks. Somehow while in this state he is able to appreciate the beauty of a lotus flower and is immediately brought to some realization, of what is left uncertain, and springs from the water and back to his master, ready to train. This scene is more interesting for its understatement than for anything else: Sanshiro is quiet and the camera’s rhythm reflects this. The trial is interior and does not require that Sanshiro answer the monk’s jeers or silence his chattering teeth. We in fact do not see Sanshiro’s chattering teeth, we only know that he is cold because  a concerned pupil is afraid he might die in the water. The detachment of the camera is the detachment of Sanshiro’s teacher, who quietly sits writing until dawn, but since at least two of the shots in this scene are from Sanshiro’s point of view, we can see that the patience of the master is forming the student. 

Later on Sanshiro watches with his master as a young girl prays in the temple. In the sequence that follows he falls in love with her, and this is strongly unlined by the editing. There is a series of downward swipes, where one frame pushes the previous one off the bottom of the screen, and these swipes are seen nowhere else in the movie. In fact, these swipes are rare in editing, and so many of them so close together grab your attention. The scenes take place on the stairs descending from the temple and augment and overtake the downward motion of the couple on the stairs. This descent of the stairs portrays a peace within the girl, who has just been described as innocent, and the swipes enliven that peace without disrupting it, much as love might move the innocent. This downward peaceful motion belongs to the Japanese film language in the same way that rightward camera motion and editing belong to western film. The theory is that the drawing of the eye in the direction in which a culture reads (from top to bottom in Japan and right to left in the West) evokes a feeling of peace or rightness. In ‘The Virgin Spring’ by Bergman, the only western example that comes to mind, the young girl travels right through the woods before meeting the rapists, and left to escape them. These edits might seem technical, and perhaps you would have enjoyed the scene without seeing the stylistic tricks if I had pointed them out, but such tricks as these are what can place a movie among the greats.

At the climax of the movie there is a fight scene, of course. This scene is perfectly laid out and immediately brings to mind Kurosawa’s later epics as well as other epics, such as ‘Samurai Rebellion’ by Kobayashi. The wind begins to pick up when the challenge is delivered and when the fighters meet in the plain, the clouds are racing overhead and the grass is shaking back and forth. Or so it does except in the shots of the antagonist. Around him there is a stillness which is at odds with the scenery around Sanshiro. With his arrive we have a shot of cloud racing straight up the screen, and again later in the fight Sanshiro sees clouds racing upward: these upward clouds work within the Japanese film language to show turmoil and perhaps doubt in Sanshiro’s mind. Until the combatants close, however, it is only Sanshiro who stands in a scene shook by violent wind. Very strange and very telling. You see, the bad guy is not much of a bad guy at all, he is just the antithesis of Sanshiro: where Sanshiro is pursuing wisdom through Judo, his opponent has rested on his laurels within the discipline of jujitsu, and the scene and its shooting spell out the greater struggle between two ways of looking at life while it shows their disciples in a fight to the death. 

Look at these three scenes together: one is still with a proper stillness, a receptive one; the second is in motion but with a certain stillness that depends upon the prior acceptance of stillness: the last is of the combat between the motion from and toward stillness and that stillness which has the stillness of infertility. While his opponent has no use for beauty and believes himself justified in his stillness, even he must admit that Sanshiro has grown in skill within the story while he has not. Sanshiro’s fight does not end as we might expect, with a happy-ever-after stop, but with a continuing journey which might be seen to make an unsatisfying ending if it were not that Sanshiro is not looking for stillness, but for a peaceful motion ever forward toward a perfection unattainable in this life. He does not become a man in this movie—it is not your typical coming of age story—and he is rewarded only by his teacher saying that he is still a child. Odd, is it not? 

Movies that Boys should watch now.

There has been a worldwide failure of manhood. Woman, said De Tocqueville, form the mores of society, that is, the rules by which the society operates. If Women demand men be strong, the men will become strong, and if they demand men be well versed in Shakespeare, men will read him–what the woman hold as the standard men will conform to. This is a two way street since women tend to want the sort of men whom other men look up to; there is a vicious circle where everyone is losing sight of what it is to be a good man, and now that the greatest attacks against the family and our communities are being launched by governments at every level and even globally, we must recapture and renew within ourselves and our sons what it means to be a good man, or we shall all perish with no more than a whimper. Boys want to imitate what they see in the movies, and girls love the men they see in them too, so it seems that it is very important to show good movies that portray excellent men to our children. Of course it goes without saying that we want the same for well portrayed women and for similar reasons, but that is for another day.

Here are a couple movies that should help us think through how to respond. If your children were to imitate the good characters in these movies, and everyone you knew were to do the same, then we would never have to fear the government or the violent mobs again. Remember, both are no more than exalted bullies when they begin to act as they are doing now. 

  1. We have lost our ability to act in unison and talk instead of acting. 
Seven is a good start in The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven and The Seven Samurai are both good films where a village is being oppressed by bandits and the village sends a delegation into a large, nearby town to look for help. The villagers are pathetic in both movies, but do act to save themselves, and they do so by seeking the help of professional fighters. These professionals are not of the MMA type, but are instead masters of their craft who also are dedicated to an aesthetic and virtuous life. The virtues may be odd, and not entirely in line with a catholic life, but because they have a certain dedication and willingness to help those weaker than themselves in a full-blown, selfless way they are able to protect the villagers. In both movies there is, moreover, a 7th member who is not an accepted member of the profession but who is able by his desire to excel in spite of the danger. We need to cultivate this sense of chivalry again, and make it a communal thing which will inspire others to join us. Your sons should form a brotherhood with their friends where they actively look for those in need so that they can help them when the going gets tough; even when the going it not tough the enemy is on the move and, if we do not form such bonds now, it will be too late to do so when the need is nigh. We’ve too often seen a single man stand up only to stand alone and be beaten down by the mob in action because he had no brothers and everyone stood aside and did nothing to help him. 

  • That said, we must be willing to act alone if we must. 
The Sheriff stands alone in High Noon

High Noon and both versions of 3:10 to Yuma are good stories about men standing alone to do what is right. In all three films the men do not act rashly by turning down aid. On the contrary, the Sheriff in High Noon and Dan Evans in 3:10 to Yuma try to work with others who abandon them through cowardice. They nonetheless choose to fight. In 3:10 to Yuma Dan Evans chooses to fight because it is right, although he initially took the job, taking a renowned outlaw to prison in the teeth of the outlaws gang, to make a little money to save his farm. Furthermore, he knows that his sons are looking to him for an example of what it means to be a good man and he cannot let them down.  We must be willing to act, and in so doing we will teach our sons to act. One of the best movies made, On the Waterfront, has Fr. Barry stand up to the mob and get killed, his example inspires Marline Brando to stand up to the mob, and he gets beaten half to death. He doesn’t give up though, and he in turn shows the laborers that you can stand up to the mob which effectively destroys the mob boss. 

  • Of course, it will a lot easier to act well if we are skilled in a way like the men in the magnificent seven. I don’t mean we need to be gunslingers, though that couldn’t hurt if we are prudent. It is hard to see exactly what situation will arise: we could be held up on a freeway by a mob of BLM, we could have our work demand that we get the vaccine, we could have to choose between calling a man a ‘she’ and losing our job, we could have to up and move our family if our state become too crazy. Here we can only work diligently to prepare for everything by becoming good ourselves, aiming for courage, prudence, and situational awareness. Jason Bourne is supremely aware, St. Thomas More in A Man for all Seasons is prudent and makes a stand where he knows he must, The list of movies highlighting courage is endless, but Zulu, Davy Crocket, John Wayne’s Alamo are a few that come to mind. 
The last stand of the British in Zulu
  1. But in our actions we must not demand that we be recognized, we must be modest in our actions. In Monsieur Vincent St. Vincent De Paul starts huge and successful efforts to help the poor without fanfare. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence John Wayne saves the day but tells no one until he needs to, and then he only tells the one person who needs to know. In 12 Angry Men Henry Fonda turns a jury without recourse to anything but a desire to have the truth and certainly of the verdict. 
Monsieur Vincent doing the dirty Work

We really need good men and we are usually more influenced by our imaginations then anything else, so let’s be sure our boys watch good movies. Since a truly virtuous man has all the virtues, we should watch all the great movies which show virtuous men, and we would even watch the movies that show vice getting its comeuppance. Put your suggestions in the comments and start preparing your families so that we never let a debacle like this last year happen again. 

The Termite

A termite having bought a house did not forego to gnaw it;
You should’ve seen the damage done, it looked though he did saw it.
The shutters laced like curtains were, no door a peephole lacking,
The table heaped like kindling, the chairs stood without backing;
No hinge swung full, no window closed, the air it traveled freely,
It swept the floor of sawdust motes, which from the rain were mealy.

Companions came into his house and stayed for every meal;
He thought their love was genuine, their friendship it was real.
For hard times came upon him, and by him they did stick,
Consoled him for his frostbit toes, ignored his nervous tick.
When sickness came they sat in turns, spoon-feeding him his walls.
And when he died (he was outside) they bravely bore his palls.

The wake once done, deathbed consumed, they went their loathsome way
To find a friend more foolish still, and at the break of day
Upon a church they stumbled, and peepéd through a crack;
A host of men were kneeling there and in the very back
A sickly man knelt all alone, his skin it was a’peeling,
Adoring God with pounding heart, and asking for his healing.

A fool indeed they found before, and greater one now there,
For in his soul he brakéd down, his ego he did tear;
Content not just with poverty, his conscience he did wrack,
The edifice of self he shook, and walls of pride did hack.
He thought to strip off all defense—exposéd to the winds,
To face alone the son of man who died for all his sins.

The foolish now with Foolishness has found itself well matchéd
The sinner shuffling up the aisle has found the door unlatchéd
The Lord of all is waiting there, in sacramental veil;
Enthroned, exposed upon his cross, pinned there by sinner’s nail.
The hungry soul of this poor man, because he did adore it,
Consumed foundations of the world, and is the better for it.

The Child King Descends in Mortal Manner

From the floor a flight of stairs up and up does rise,

If you’re the sort to think ahead, t’will come as no surprise

That at the top it hits a spot where flooring once more lies.

Not morally, but levelly, is how it lies of course,

And down that course old Benny Boy, comes tearing like a horse:

Kerplunk, kerplunk, and splinter-splat, the agile body makes

Amazing time, and picks up pine, and ends up on the pate.

(now wait a minute, you might say, you can’t rhyme pate with makes,

But art just follow nature, and slid rhyme takes the cakes,

‘Cuz Benny Boy’s the nature and art is breathing hard

To keep apace the sliding chum and still remain a bard)

From Topsy-turvy (his torso’s swervy, unlike his moral compass)

He points his toes and wags his rolls and flips upon his rumpus

And all composed, as a primrose, he surveys all before him

As if to say “let all make way”, but adoration bores him.

The Icicle Thief

The Icicle Thief is a meta-film about a mundane Italian soap opera which is forcefully twisted into a mundane comedy. At least that is what I thought for the first half of the movie. It is better than that, but I’m not sure how much better; it is weird. I call it a meta-film because it is a movie in which one movie is being watched, commented upon, and—its redeeming grace—entered into by its director. Unfortunately,  I don’t think I was as amused by how convoluted the plot becomes as I was bemused by how odd a man would have to be to dream of such a screenplay. There are many clever little jabs at Italian neo-realism (indulging the name of the movie), some of which are the best moments of the movie, a slam dunk representation of film academia seduces a wry smile, and the very bizarre commentary of advertisement’s despicable destruction of taste is spot on, but may demand Spot-Off to forget. Once when I was watching one of those world series the Dodgers lost, I was struck by how ugly and pervasive the ads were, and everyone sat and watched them. I’ve since wondered just how responsible product-pushing has been in the destruction of our taste…perhaps another sin to lay at the feet of mammon?


Robert Bresson is hard not to like, if once you can begin to like him. His was a career aiming only at perfection, and particularly the perfection of film without anything unessential: if the image in motion couldn’t say something, then he wouldn’t say it. Mouchette is, perhaps, the only movie of his which I just couldn’t enjoy the first time round. That may have been my fault; I’ve never been good with faces and didn’t realize that the two men in the opening sequence were not one and the same, that Mouchette’s father was the same man who pushed her in church, or that the barmaid was in love with the poacher. Bresson is as terse as a director can get, and without the fluff I could see the continuity in the scenes, but not in the persons.

Have you never seen a Bresson movie? ‘A man Escaped’? ‘Pickpocket’? ‘Diary of a Country Priest’? Watch them in that order. He might take some getting used to: moving to Bresson from the likes of Michael Bay, or even Terrence Malick is like walking from a gallery piled with Thomas Kinkade paintings to one dedicated to the Dutch Masters. You will not find in Bresson any sentimental slop or needless motion, perhaps you wouldn’t even find acting: His actors were told not to act; his believed music distracted from the visual (“you can’t be all eyes if you are also all ears”); and he didn’t shoot establishing shots. It would all be exposition: you see the person, you figure it out. Sound like art-house? Well, no one knows what that means. I’ll tell you what it is, it is clean and precise. You will not hear a note if it isn’t important, you will not see an emotion if Bresson didn’t want it (though you may feel unprompted ones), you will never, ever, see a motion of the camera which isn’t meticulously chosen to convey a particular intent.

Without the language of the camera Mouchette wouldn’t be a movie but just a bunch of clips. With the language, though, it is a strange, quiet, maybe despairing look at a young girl who is not loved but desperate to be loved. She knows she should be sought after by someone with the intensity and focus of a hunter, but instead the hunt is too lighthearted and brief–or dangerous. In one way, there is very little to this movie: it is short and sparse. There is, however, a perfection in its crafting which fills out the story as a hard parable of rebuffed yearning for love.

Film Language among Those Who Know

I’ve seen one too many catholic schools put out promotional videos which are lousy in almost every respect. The videos are also all the same in everything but proper names.

Look at Thomas Aquinas College’s new website, or the promo videos from St. Martin’s Academy or Wyoming Catholic; they are all lousy. The only schools not making dumb videos are those not making videos. Now, I know these schools are not savvy film critics, but they should remember less is more and antics only detract from dignity. I would like to illustrate by drawing a parallel. Below I’ve taken a paragraph from a school’s news release and given to it a grammar analogous to their promotional video. If you believe it is well re-written, then I will concede my point. Here it is:

“In order, that we can greatly honor, very, very much, the great ye,ar of the great, great St. Joseph, the great Doinican Friars of the very great Province of the ost Holy Name of Jesus are wonderfully producing a gr,eat video, 9 day novena to the  great Patron (St. Joseph again) of the Universal Church, the best and only true chrch, which is great. The first woderful installment, St. Joseph, ,Husand of the Mother of God & Diligent Protector of Christ (a,bove), wonderfully came out Wednesday, but if you, great person who loves what we do, happily begin the great 9 day Novena today, you will finish it most luckly. on March 19 — the Feat of St. Joseph.”

Let’s try a little harder in the future not to look like philistines.

Veterans Day and Freedom

November is a month particularly set aside for thanksgiving. Not only is there the Holiday of Thanksgiving itself, but the month begins with a call to remember those who have gone before us and are now among Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering, and we cannot but remember them with gratitude. And there is yet another holiday where we give thanks, Veterans’ Day. I was in the Marine Corps and fought in Afghanistan, had friends die and have things inside my head I wish I hadn’t seen, and yet not until recently did I learn to graciously respond to the ‘thank you’ I receive ever year with a simple ‘you’re welcome’. I couldn’t see a real connection between what I had done and the lives of those who were shaking my hand. Had I given them something? I had never thought deeply about what it meant to give a gift or how I had participated in giving the gift of freedom as a combat veteran.

How did I come to understand? A few weeks ago I was reading Saint Thomas, and was, as usual, confused. In his discussion of whether the name ‘Gift’ is a personal name of the Holy Spirit he defines gift not as something given but as something which has the aptitude to be given. This made me pause, for it didn’t seem true. For instance, isn’t it true that I have many things I could give away but which I intend to keep? I wouldn’t call my possessions gifts, and if I were to walk into my friend’s house and begin to refer to his paintings and books as gifts he would consider me an odd and grasping sort of fellow. What was Saint Thomas driving at?

Well, Saint Thomas is being very careful, as always. All the personal names of God cannot be said to imply as their first meaning a relation to man since it was not necessary for God to create man, and so he must show the name ‘Gift’ can be said without needing to be received by us. He finds a solution and says that a gift was not something given, but something that has an aptitude to be given. When I first read this, though, I thought it was clever but only something that would belong to the Holy Spirit, it was ‘gift’ used in a Trinitarian, unique sense, and stripped of all imperfection only so it could be said of God. I was wrong.

I saw this in how we speak of gifts. We say that we have a gift for someone before we give it to them, and we see this clearly when we give a gift and it isn’t accepted: in such cases there is a gift but no one receives it. We also say ‘this is a gift for Dad’ even before we give it, but when we have received it, we say ‘this was a gift from my son’. Insofar as it is a gift, it never ceases to belong to the giver in some way. If we treat it as though it were entirely ours to dispose of as we wish, without bearing the giver in mind, then we are justly accused of ingratitude. In these ways I saw that Saint Thomas was right.

I also see now that there are different kinds of gifts. Some are nearly entirely possessed by us once received, like birthday cash which, though merely a means in our possession, ought to be used for something beyond the paying of bills. Others, preeminently the Gift of the Holy Spirit, are not ours once we receive them because they are greater in themselves than we are, and we cannot have dominion over them. This sort of gift belongs uniquely to the giver even after we have received them. Freedom is a gift of this sort.

The gift of freedom is a gift which has been given to all men. Man’s reason and free will are the greatest natural gifts he has received and must be formed and used in such a way as to give thanks to God, and it is a state’s responsibility to so constitute itself to not hinder man’s return to God. That is why freedom of religion is emphasized in our founding documents. Further, in our country we have a civic freedom which permits us to participate in politics by voting, and perhaps being elected to serve. These freedoms are not ours to use as we wish, but belong primarily to the giver, to God first and then to our country, and so we have a duty to exercise our freedoms.

Since freedom is not ours but from God, it is a mistake to say that we may use our freedom however we wish. However we live, we must bear in mind that we act freely because we have something greater than ourselves in hand, and so we are not free to define ourselves as we wish and do what we want. It is when we fall into ingratitude and see our freedom as belonging to us and us alone that we start speaking of our right to abortion, gender choice, and the myriad of other ‘personal choices’ we see around us today. We are blessed to live in a country which permits us to flourish in our freedom, but our truest freedom is not from our county, but from our God.

The United States is a wonderful country in which we are not only free to exercise our highest freedom, but in which we are given a civic freedom unknown elsewhere. These freedoms are not private goods but common, and that is the reason those of us who have served in our military can and should accept the thanks of our grateful fellow-citizens when Veterans Day comes. Because common goods are not lost by the giver when he gives it, it is understandable that a marine like I might not feel as though he should be thanked, but his participation in and contribution to the good of the country is a sure and direct aide in the giving of God’s gift of freedom to each and every citizen. So, take the opportunity this month to thank those around you who have helped you realize in your life the gifts God has given you, and if you yourself are thanked, do not hem and haw and say it was no big deal, but graciously say ‘you’re welcome’ and turn to God yourself and thank Him for making you an instrument of His will and a channel of His Love.

November and the Culture of Death

Halloween has its roots in All-Hallow’s Eve and so is rooted in Christianity, at least in name. Despite this, a writer on liturgical traditions, Fr. Francis Weiser, has pointed out that many of the traditions of Halloween are not rooted in Christianity but in heathen practices from druid times. Whether Halloween was inspired by paganism of not, it is innocent enough to take the kids trick-or-treating. The spectacle, however, of the ‘normal’ college party, among the dorms and at the local bars, might indeed suggest a demonic influence or at least an influence that is in no way parental: boys find old cut away outfits from the 70’s and cut away more while girls parade in the emperor’s new clothes merely reinforced with patchwork. If our culture is a culture of death, we’ve seen its fashion show.

Pagan garb clothes pagan practice; the world has returned to child sacrifice in search of a carefree life. Some states are passing laws permitting infanticide in all but name while others are stipulating that abortifacients be freely available on all state-college campuses. Where once the universities were revered institutions of culture dedicated to the awesome task of handing on all that was true to ever increasing swarms of youth, they are now turning against the universal demand of culture to self-perpetuate. They encourage or succumb to demands for abortion rights and a host of other perversions, demands which, if fully indulged, could only end in the final drying up of their supply of students.

Do you look around and find the world rapidly fragmenting before your eyes, with news delivered in short clips, lives defined by tweets and Instagram posts, and no clear, integral picture presented anywhere? These fragments are neither the tools nor tactics of a culture but of an anti-culture; here is an asymmetrical warfare waged in the hope of harassing and mocking us without ever holding a position firmly enough to be caught and exposed by the truth. Although the speed with which the world tweets and rants is dizzyingly fast, we Christians have this anti-culture on the run but haven’t caught our breath to say so.

A healthy, whole society is self-sufficient, and there is nothing self-sufficient in any offspring of Catholic Europe if the faith is separated out and tossed away. While the druids may have presided over a culture of death, such a culture exists today in only one form, the Catholic Church where Christ is Lord and rules death by right of conquest. Although the world is reverting to hellish customs, it is not reconstructing a culture of death, for with Christ’s victory death no longer has dominion.

What does this mean to us? “Aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you; so that you may command the respect of outsiders and be dependent on nobody,” says Saint Paul to the Thessalonians. Here is a true recipe for culture. Men’s inborn desire for the truth will have many pause and stand aside in disgust as the gif and emoticon masquerade as intelligent expressions of their brothers’ souls. Standing aloof, they will look around searching for an antidote; let us hope that we have paused long enough in the running fight against the anti-culture to present to their eyes a culture which springs from leading a quiet life and minding our affairs.

It is within Catholicism that the great work of human hands is consecrated on the altar and becomes the source of all peace. Around this greatest of works is gathered in dazzling concentration the full array of human arts: the music of Palestrina and Mozart, the paintings of Michelangelo, the architecture of thousands of the greatest builders. No argument has the force of the Blessed Sacrament, no plan the enduring, indomitable structure of Notre Dame, no rhetorical device the suasive order of Mozart’s Mass in C minor. To mind our affairs is not to turn our back on the world but to turn our face to God and offer life to those who seek it, and give it to them abundantly.

The fullness of Catholicism is dependent on nothing outside the life of Christ, takes all its life from Him, and embraces every moment of life, leaving death as a mere doorman to further life. You would not approach a king without thinking through what you would say to those you must pass upon your way: servants who might ask your business or turn you away if you are not decently dressed. In like manner we look to prepare ourselves for death, which stands at the doorway to eternal life, to be fit for what is beyond death. In November, dedicated to remembrance of the dead, we pray for those who have died and ask them to pray for us when we approach death. We can pick up Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s Meditations on Death. Only the Saint can look to death as something at once so terrible and awesome, as only the Catholic monk can boldly turn a funeral wake into a marriage feast, and be so clear-sighted as to see, at the end of mortal life, life’s foundation and superabundant continuation.

The martyrs were united through death to God by the murderous hands of pagans, and so perhaps it is well to bear in mind that God permits evil that good may come of it; the villainous murder of innocents ends in death, but not a death defined by the murderers. Since in death an innocent soul is freed from the hands of those who hate it us and goes to God, if we must name the enemy, let us not speak of the culture of death. Death is our passage to eternity and is embraced by our culture, the enemy can be nothing but a murderous mob, terrified of death and without true guidance or any principle of stability.

Bearing this in mind, we cannot be discouraged: there is nothing but harassment and heckling to fear, and everything to gain if we continue to focus on the sacraments, the works of mercy, and all that our Catholic life entails. Though we cannot yet perceive Catholic culture in its transcendent fullness, ‘when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory, O death, where is thy sting?’