Illuminations

Washed in the Blood

by Anthony Esolen

We Roman Catholics have at least anecdotal evidence of the existence of Purgatory. It comes when we attend Mass and must listen to the music. What is worse than doggerel? What doggerel leaves on the bottom of your shoe, maybe, because when the slack and slovenly stuff begins, I find myself scraping my feet on the floor and looking furtively roundabout for the exit. I think fire would be much nicer. At least it would burn up the hymnals and reduce them to ash.

"How long, O Lord!" I cry.

"Shh! About twenty minutes," says my wife, Debra.

You will look in vain in our . . .

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Anthony Esolen is a professor at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire, and the author of many books, including Life Under Compulsion (ISI Books), Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius Press, 2019). He has also translated Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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