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“For hardy red grapes, it has the best climate and the best soil,” says David Hunt, who grows grapes on the 550-acres Destiny Vineyards site, named after his youngest child and only daughter.The wines are poured by the glass at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Ritz-Carlton, Morton’s and other restaurants across the country.Many score in the 90s and have racked up best of class, platinum and gold medals, as well as cult awards from wine publications such as Wine Enthusiast.“There are some point systems that are more well-known among wine enthusiasts than others,” says Eric Crowley, who runs Chef Eric’s Culinary Classroom in Los Angeles, where he delves into what wines go with different types of food in a Wine and Food Pairing Cooking Class.American Catholics seem particularly vulnerable now to people such as Hunt, as more and more we blur the teachings and surrender the rituals that might help us to distinguish ourselves from the times in which we find ourselves.When the Mass is a freestyle drama, when sacred music is superficial and hardly sacred, when the homily is an amiable chat rather than explication and instruction, when the rich communal life of devotions, adorations, novenas, feasts, and retreats has been abandoned, the ordinary Catholic can find that visits to his parish leave him not clear-eyed and enthusiastic but confused and lethargic.Inside a French colonial-style mansion on two acres of rolling Chatsworth land, a 60-something winemaker named David Hunt plays a ’50s doo-wop on piano and sings about how life is like wine.
New Oxford Review 30-35 New Oxford Review, Inc., January 1999 It has been observed, by Catholics with dismay and by others with satisfaction, that in America sizable numbers of Catholics are leaving Catholicism for fundamentalism.
(No less a convert than John Henry Newman acknowledged, in his Apologia, that the old apocalyptic Protestant propaganda continued to exert a poisonous influence on his religious imagination long after he had ceased to credit it intellectually.) Because of secular humanist and feminist challenges to our faith, many of us have not taken seriously enough the persistence and vehemence of the fundamentalist belief that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon — i.e., not simply a competing denomination, not indeed a Christian church at all, but an apostate institution, a counterfeit, a positive evil.
Catholics who experience an evangelical conversion typically view their experience through the lens of Hunt's type of fundamentalism — and are therefore lost to the Church precisely when they are most inclined to take religious commitment seriously.
Catholic hearts left unmoved by a stripped-down American Catholicism are reportedly being moved by lively evangelical congregations, and Catholic minds left uninstructed by woolly or dissenting catechizers are offered sharp lessons by such as Dave Hunt in his speeches and widely selling books. Hunt's explicit anti-Catholicism speaks forthrightly the tacit anti-Catholicism so often encountered in the American Catholic Church today.
This article, I hope, will suggest that the clarity of vision offered by Hunt is specious, and that if Hunt could but see more clearly he might realize that his soundest spiritual instincts and best ecclesiological insights put him, too, on the road to Rome.
They may even walk in and discover Hunt on the piano.