“The child who has been exposed from his earliest years to good classical music, and has seen his soul being developed by it, will not be nearly as tempted by the crude rhythm and message of rock and other contemporary forms of pseudo-music as someone who has grown up without a musical education. Such a musical education, as several of the Optina Elders have said, refines the soul and prepares it for the reception of spiritual impressions.

The child who has been educated in good literature, drama, and poetry and has felt their effect on his soul — that is, has really enjoyed them — will not easily become an addict of contemporary movies and television programs and cheap novels that devastate the soul and take it away from the Christian path.

The child who has learned to see beauty in classical painting and sculpture will not easily be drawn into the perversity of contemporary art or be attracted by the garish products of modern advertising and pornography.

The child who knows something of the history of the world, especially in Christian times, and how other people have lived and thought, what mistakes and pitfalls people have fallen into by departing from God and His commandments, and what glorious and influential lives they have lived when they were faithful to Him, will be discerning about the life and philosophy of our own times and will not be inclined to follow the first new philosophy or way of life he encounters …

In general, the person who is well acquainted with the best products of secular culture — which in the West almost always have definite religious and Christian overtones — has a much better chance of leading a normal, fruitful Orthodox* life than someone who knows only the popular culture of today. One who is converted to Orthodoxy straight from ‘rock’ culture, and in general anyone who thinks he can combine Orthodoxy with that kind of culture — has much suffering to go through and a difficult road in life before he can become a truly serious Orthodox Christian who is capable of handing on his faith to others. Without this suffering, without the awareness, Orthodox parents will raise their children to be devoured by the contemporary world.”

– A lecture http://www.angelfire.com/pa3/OldWorldBasic/FrSeraphim.html by Fr. Seraphim Rose, 1982.

* Fr. Seraphim Rose was a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy who founded a monastery here in Northern California. Some of my Orthodox acquaintences believe him to be a saint. Obviously, I am convinced that the above commentary is entirely appropriate for Catholics — perhaps even more so, since Fr. Seraphim is directing Orthodox young people to the treasures of Western Catholic civilization.