There is an interview with Fr Nichols on Zenit today regarding his latest book The Realm: an Unfashionable Essay on the Conversion of England. The parish reading group here are busy working their way through it.
I particularly enjoyed this question and answer:
Q: For the 100 or so odd years between 1850 and 1960, a number of England’s leading artists, intellectuals and public figures became Catholic. What was the main reason for these conversions, as well as their notable absence today? What can the Church do today to evangelize the “commanding heights” of the culture?
Father Nichols: The remarkable number of conversions of major or relatively major figures in the period 1850 to 1960 is to be explained by their common perception of Catholicism as a presentation of truth, goodness, and beauty that was at once a powerful philosophy, a comprehensive ethic, and a vision of spiritual delight.
The absence of such conversions in the period after 1960 is to be explained by the ensuing doctrinal disorientation -- “So where does that leave truth?” -- echoing of fashionable human rights discourse -- “So where does that leave goodness, at any rate in terms of a comprehensive ethic?” -- and liturgical banality -- “So where does that leave beauty and spiritual delight?”
What the Church can do today is to reform herself by repeating like a mantra the words “only the best will do”: the best intellectually, morally, aesthetically.
So maybe the `clapping Gloria` isn`t going to solve our problems after all.