Monday, September 29, 2008

The Vote In Opposition

I would encourage folks to take a look at the vote tally on the Wall Street bailout bill and skim through the "nay" votes. You will see Democrats and Republicans who are the most stringent in their respective ideological positions. Men and women who could not be more different - a Latte liberal from Thousand Oaks, California (Brad Sherman) and a Bible thumper from Dallas, Texas (Jeb Hensarling), a hippie college professor from Hawaii (Neil Abercrombie) and a Lutheran ladies gun league member from Minnesota (Michelle Bachmann), a Hispanic from the border (Henry Cuellar) and an African-American from the inner city (John Conyers), even a Libertarian-leaning OBGYN (Ron Paul) and a Socialist-leaning polka dancer (Dennis Kucinich).

What does this tell us? That good, old-fashioned populism still thrives among the poor and middle class of all ideological and ethnic backgrounds. Usually the financial barons hide quietly in the shadows, preferring the political focus to be on foreign entanglements and social mores. But every now and then, their greed reaches such a level of explosive irresponsibility that the people focus in with righteous indignation. God help the paper millionaires when the masses revolt.

Mason Slidell

One Vast Dishonorable Muddle

In light of the recent disaster in the stock market, I am reminded of Peter Maurin's oft-quoted phrase to the effect of "do not make money with money." Rather he would often remind people who would turn to him for counsel:
"Earn a living by the sweat of your own brow, not someone else's. Choose a work that can be considered honorable, and can be classed under the heading of a Work of Mercy, serving your brothers, not exploiting them. Mans work is as important to him as bread, and by it he gains his bread. And by it he gains too, because he serves his brother."
Maurin, as also Dorothy Day, was an avid reader of Chesterton, who wrote concerning usury and investments in stocks:
"As modern investments are made, almost anybody may have his money in some sense in an armament firm, or a business financing and assassination firm, for all the individual investor knows about it. Now this sort of anonymity and obviously nothing more than one vast dishonourable muddle."
What a great description for what we find ourselves in now.

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Great American Debate Between The Living Dead

So, round one is over. I think these debates are, in so many ways, a waste of time. Questions from moderators who don't press the point. Scripted policy positions and one-liners. Men who stand formal and lifeless - as if they have no humanity left. The only reason I watched was to see if John McCain would have a senior moment or if Barack Obama would play the race card. Maybe next time.

But for those of us who engage in amateur political analysis, the debates do provide some insight to the psyche of these candidates. After all, there are only three times in the whole campaign in which they have to be on the same stage with each other. The pressure is no doubt intense as each man has to monitor his composure and responses, as well as attempt to rattle your opponent in a cool and collected manner.

I thought Obama came off stronger than McCain, mainly because Obama makes lifelessness look erudite. He proved he was just as informed as McCain on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia, which is big. McCain played the seasoned statesman well, but seemed a bit dated as he brought up as examples of his judgment during the Lebanese mission in 1982 and various quips about the Soviet Union, Gorbachev and Glasnost (pop quiz for the youngsters: what is glasnost?). On the whole, I thought it was a draw, which in this environment is a win for Obama. The first debate, however, is likely to be the least consequential of the three, so McCain will have another day.

Mason Slidell

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Further Look at Weigelian Politics

George Weigel is at his careful neoconservative politicking again:
Thoughtful Catholic voters will thus want both to pose serious questions to both the principal presidential candidates.
Of course his questions are typically Weigelian, using "Catholic" as a semantic code for having a neoconservative "pro-life" position. His questions to Obama show his disingenuousness:
1. Do you regret your vote against a partial-birth abortion ban when you were an Illinois state senator?
2. During your service in Springfield, you opposed a bill that would give legal protection to infants who survive an abortion. Was that a choice you would like to revisit? If so, why? If not, why not?
3. What precisely did you mean when you said you wouldn’t want one of your daughters “punished with a baby,” should they find themselves in the dilemma of unwanted pregnancy?
4. You have a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. Is there any matter of public policy on which you and NARAL differ?
5. Would support for Roe v. Wade be a litmus test for candidates you would nominate to the Supreme Court?
Of course Obama is a pro-death candidate and I have no interest or intention in defending him in this matter. His position is indefensible. However, asking leading questions or already answered questions do not further the goal of actually getting to the heart of whether or not a candidate accepts parts of the complete Catholic social package or not. For instance, Obama has answered as to what he meant when he said one of his daughters should not be "punished with a baby."

The Obama campaign responded:
"What Senator Obama said and what he believes is clear -- children are "miracles," but we have a problem when so many children are having children. As Senator Obama said on Saturday -- and on many other occasions -- parents have a responsibility to teach their children about values and morals to help make sure they are not treating sex casually. And while he understands the passions on both sides of this difficult issue, Senator Obama believes we can all agree that we should be taking steps to reduce the number of teen pregnancies and abortions in this country."
So, Weigel, we have an answer. You don't have to believe Obama, but you have an answer. Just setting up questions like this is hardly good sportsmanship.

And what about for McCain? Weigel lobs "Catholic" softballs to him:
1. You have a strong pro-life voting record during your congressional service, yet some pro-lifers are nervous about you. Why? Where do the life issues rank in your list of priorities for America’s future?
2. You and Mrs. McCain adopted an infant at the request of Mother Teresa; has that experience shaped your views on the life issues?
3. Would you favor Supreme Court nominees who believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided?
4. As you know, many pro-life groups opposed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, arguing that it unduly burdened issue advocacy organizations. Have you re-thought your approach to campaign finance reform in light of those criticisms?
Good Lord, why don't you just go to bed together. Why are some pro-lifers nervous? Well, that could be answered first my mentioning McCain's continued support for embryonic stem cell research, despite the tremendous advances in Induced Pluripotent stem cells that have come about. How about asking him about this statement:
When asked whether recent advances in nonembryonic stem cell research would change his stance, McCain replied, "I have not changed my position yet."
Ok, well then, when will you change your position? That is a good question Weigel. Then of course another softball in regards to his adoption. How about instead asking about his flip-flopping on the position of judges. In 1999 McCain seemed fairly ambiguous about his own position. McCain was quoted in the August 20, 1999, San Francisco Chronicle saying:
But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.

An August 25, 1999, Chronicle article noted that on August 23, "McCain's campaign released a clarification: 'I have always believed in the importance of the repeal of Roe vs. Wade, and as president, I would work toward its repeal.' " McCain's comments, according to the article, drew criticism from Republicans, who claimed McCain "appeared to be trying to please both sides on an issue that has been at the top of the political radar in California in recent elections."

On the June 19, 2005, broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press, McCain took yet another position, claiming that he agreed "to some degree" that Roe v. Wade should be overturned:
So which is it? That would be a good questions Weigel: Do you or do you not, Mr. McCain, believe that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned.

Then of course, we have all the questions that Weigel as a neoconservative is not interested in asking. What about torture? What about American terrorism throughout the world? What about McCain's happy trigger finger? Actually, a great "pro-life" question would be:

Mr. McCain, when you sang the words "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" to an old Beach Boys song, or when you joked that sending them cigarettes was a good way to kill Iranians, how exactly did this contribute to the culture of life that you propose to support?

Obama is slimy, and McCain is an outright liar. Let's make them both know that we are not satisfied with either of them, and that Faithful Citizenship is far from either of their agendas. Please Weigel, for once be fair. Maybe take your cue from Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ this time, here and here. At least he's being an honest Catholic.

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

I am regularly blown away by the number of people who have never heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. So today, after just one more person had never heard of it, it frustrated me enough to mention it here. Yes, it floats in the middle of the ocean, is twice the size of Texas, is basically an island, and is over 80% plastic. Read about it here:
In the broad expanse of the northern Pacific Ocean, there exists the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a slowly moving, clockwise spiral of currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents. The area is an oceanic desert, filled with tiny phytoplankton but few big fish or mammals. Due to its lack of large fish and gentle breezes, fishermen and sailors rarely travel through the gyre. But the area is filled with something besides plankton: trash, millions of pounds of it, most of it plastic. It's the largest landfill in the world, and it floats in the middle of the ocean.

The gyre has actually given birth to two large masses of ever-accumulating trash, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, sometimes collectively called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Eastern Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California; scientists estimate its size as two times bigger than Texas [source: LA Times]. The Western Garbage Patch forms east of Japan and west of Hawaii. Each swirling mass of refuse is massive and collects trash from all over the world. The patches are connected by a thin 6,000-mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone. Research flights showed that significant amounts of trash also accumulate in the Convergence Zone.

The garbage patches present numerous hazards to marine life, fishing and tourism. But before we discuss those, it's important to look at the role of plastic. Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world's o ceans [source: LA Times]. The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic [source: UN Environment Program]. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one. Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean. Seventy percent of that eventually sinks, damaging life on the ocean floor. The rest floats; much of it ends up in gyres and the massive garbage patches that form there, with some plastic eventually washing up on a distant shore.
And no, no one is doing anything about it. Sadly, in our world, unless you have something to profit from it, or unless it begins to bother some really important person, things will remain as they are. Maybe just starting to recycle is not a bad idea. And start cutting back on non-organic materials, starting with plastic. Just a few starters.

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just a Regular Joe

I get asked a lot: "Well, if one can't vote for either of the major candidates based on their disagreements with Catholic moral and social teaching, who is there to vote for?" Just offering a possibility here so that people are aware that there are other options out there. Meet Joe Schriner:

Hispanic Immigration
~ amnesty for illegal immigrants and family reunification.
~ living wage, optimal working conditions, benefits, adequate housing for all new arrivals.
~ “temporary worker program,” with border check points, etc., for those who want to work here, but keep their citizenship south of the border
~ Help Latin America Drive! Mobilization of much more help (humanitarian aid, Peace Corps, Sister City projects) for countries south of the border to help them with sustainability. (Many people don’t want to leave country, family, culture… but their kids are hungry, or the political oppression has gotten to be too much)
~ Establishment of a “North American Union” (NAU) between Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Central America, similar to the evolving European Union (EU). This would be for the purpose of inspiring more joint environmental conservation projects, more joint business ventures, more tourism (especially eco-tourism) to help boost poorer economies, more cultural exchange and, most importantly, it would promote much more general camaraderie between nations

Healing the family
~set of multi-dimensional, community programs to foster and support emotional health
~”Healthy Community Projects” (like the model we researched in Glendive, Montana) in towns across America
~”Take A Stand for Kids” programs (like the one we researched on the Monterey Peninsula in California) in towns across America
~expanded and improved tiered systems of recovery options (state and federally funded) in each county
~establish “Collaborative Medical Models” (like the one we researched in Grand Junction, Colorado, at the Marrilac Clinic) that combines medical work with psycho-social assessments and referral
~regular classes (k-12) on the dynamics of healthy families
~regular parenting classes at a high school level

~ increase local food production for local consumption
~ ban health and eco-system damaging farm chemicals
~ increase organic growing significantly
~ create more farm labor jobs at “living wages"
~ convert to smaller farms and smaller farm technology
~ teach farming classes in country and city schools
~ heighten focus on farmland preservation
~ implement more “urban farming”
~ develop more permacultures, including on the White House grounds
~ phase out subsidies for “conventional farming” and redirect money toward more organic start-ups, farmland preservation and the development of more small, non-polluting farm implement technology
~ shift society back to an agrarian based one

~ More creative, and extensive, programs to curb alcohol and drug addiction (significant numbers (as much as 60%) of prisoners committed crimes under the influence)
~ Vast array of programs to end poverty
~ More "Community Oriented Policing" programs, and more Citizen Crime Prevention programs (Crime Alert, Crime Stoppers)
~ Peace time military to aid inner city police (in gang zones, etc.)
~ Increased focus on "Restorative Justice" prisoner rehabilitation, instead of 'dead-end' warehousing

U.S. Department of Peace
~Establish a cabinet-level U.S. Department of Peace
~Four year Peace Academy on a par with military academies
~Study panels to assess causes of: war, terrorism, inner city violence, domestic violence
~Commitment to worldwide social justice, public health, environmental sustainability
~Stepped up Peace Corps work
~Promotion of many collegiate level (and other) "Cross Cultural Emersion Experiences"
~"Adopt a Country" programs for students grades 7-12
~Bolster American Field Service; U.S. People Ambassadors, International Student Exchange
and similar existing peace-building programs
~Teach about non-violent direct actions and increase grassroots peacemaking efforts.
~Inspire multi-dimensional models to build much more peace in families, schools and on the
streets of America
~Lobby for a decrease in American offensive weapons (including nuclear weapons)

~ adhere only to "just war" criteria.
~ Make military more field proficient and cost effective
~ U.S. takes the lead in nuclear disarmament.
~ More help for those who have served.

Energy Policy
~ Sign Kyoto Protocol, and spark a grassroots "Energy Reduction Movement" in America
~ Way more clean, renewable energy (solar, wind, wave action, "no" to nuclear)
~ More: clean biomass fuels, alternative vehicles, mass transportation, "Walkable Communities"

Native Americans
~ a heartfelt formal apology to Native Americans for past atrocities
~ Land give backs and Native American relocation moratorium
~Creative land give-backs (for instance, subsidies to help finance Native American land restoration projects like the White Earth Land Recovery Project in Minnesota)
~ Much improved healthcare and alcohol and drug treatment on the Reservations
~ More programs to reverse poverty and establish sustainability on the Reservations
~ Spark a nationwide “Native American Renaissance”
~ Native American Commission to revise history books
~ Many more grade school and high school classes on Native American history and culture
~ Collegiate level minors and majors in Native American Studies
~ National “Native American History Month”
Gotta love that part about adhering only to "just war" teaching. So no more saying there are only two options.

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

Monday, September 8, 2008

McCain = Nixon

First, Sarah Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention was excellent. She was folksy and biting. She also took up with relish the traditional position of the Vice Presidential candidate as chief attack dog. She passed the first test, but now she has to match Joe Biden. That is no small task as Biden is both well informed and politically savvy. She will have to use the interim to prepare well. Stay tuned.

John McCain’s speech was good, one of the better speeches I have seen him give. His personal story as a POW in Hanoi is political gold, providing a tangible story of devotion to country and comrades-in-arms. He struck a note of conciliation and gracefulness, reaching out to moderate Democrats and Independents. He did not provide much in the way of policy, but understandably so, as the more he gets into issues, the more he looks like Bush III. He looked and sounded dignified and I think came off as someone who could be a sound administrator of the public trust.

He reminded me very much of Richard Nixon. Consider these two men in relation to the Republican party. Neither man was or is a GOP insider. Each was and is uncomfortable having to be tied to a party and the party was and is less than comfortable with their maverick sensibilities. An uneasy alliance was forged in both cases. Each man had and has supreme confidence in himself and simply desired and desires to be good governors remembered for their statecraft and willing to be accepted as mediocre politicians. The question remains: is McCain going to be Nixon ’60 or Nixon ’68.

Mason Slidell

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"Where Monsters do Live"

Thought this description of a wild band of horsemen in Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian sounded a bit like the Society of Jesus:
For although each man among them was discrete unto himself, conjoined they made a thing that had not been before and in that communal soul were wastes hardly reckonable more than those whited regions on old maps where monsters do live and where there is nothing other of the known world save conjectural winds.
Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Subject, the Church, and The Pope as Existential Indubitable

Time to have some theological and philosophical fun with Henri de Lubac and Jean-Luc Marion.

The receptivity of the Church is a receptivity that reveals. It is in this sense that Henri de Lubac often speaks of her as the antitype of the Word and the Eucharist. She transcends them as the res ultima of which they speak. She is not the head. She is the body who speaks with Christ’s name and with Christ’s authority. Her nature as subject of divine revelation is only as the Gifted One, the subject that for Marion comes after the Transcendental Ego.

One of the fundamental projects of Jean-Luc Marion's Being Given is to relieve the subject of its status as self and to return this status to the phenomena that give. The self of phenomena is a self in a primary sense, while Marion will concede that the self of the receiving subject is a self only of “second rank, by derivation.” Christ is the head of his Church. He is the single transcendent self, pure givenness in the act of Revelation who gives himself from himself. All priority resides on the side of the selfhood of that which gives. The Gifted subject, on the other hand, had no existence of itself or from itself. The Gifted, the Called one, experiences itself always primarily as summoned. The Gifted or the Called is characterized by response and by surprise, or even by seduction. According to the hermeneutical circle within which the Gifted and Called always finds himself, the call is heard only by the receiver. The nature of the call is such that “it arises so originarily that no nearing can in advance outline a horizon of manifestation for it, since, as paradox (saturated phenomenon), it makes an exception to every possible horizon.” The Gifted is the horizon of visibility for the paradox that gives itself.

There is a necessary delay between the saturation of the paradox and the Gifted subject who receives and shows. This delay can never be entirely overcome until the eschaton because of the finitude of the subject who receives. There is never a full equating of the I = I that is the dream of transcendental philosophy. This is so since “its finitude essentially determines the gifted, it cannot by definition adequately receive the given such as it gives itself – namely without limit or reserve” until the eschatological fulfillment of the mystery of the Church. There will always be a certain delay, a distance within the very self of the I between the saturated phenomenon of Revelation that gives and the capacity of the Church to receive. The privileged status of the subject in the nominative is now designated to the dative, the “to me” rather than the nominative “I” that constitutes.

The selfhood of that which gives now has priority over the gifted who receives. Christ remains the true subject of his Revelation. Yet by means of his Revelation, he called into existence a secondary subject, a Gifted, who is the horizon of receptivity of that Revelation. The Church is the Flesh of reception, the “milieu of manifestation” of the pure givenness of Revelation. The Church, as the body of Christ, continues to say “I.” While the Church as the Gifted one is a “me of second rank, by derivation,” deprived of all transcendental status, for Marion the ego and so the Church “keeps, indeed, all the privileges of subjectivity, save the transcendental claim to origin.” She has no origin of herself; she is purely gifted. Yet, she continues to say “I,” and to speak thus in the name of Christ. As a person, she is a derived self, yet a self who mysteriously, like all human beings, can still speak a conscious, reflexive “I,” though only humbly, and relieved of transcendental status.

I propose that the capacity to say “I” is precisely the place of the Pope in the Church. The de-centered subject of Marion’s philosophy necessarily discovers a distance within itself that can never be completely covered. This distance is the bringing to full phenomenality of that which gives, a showing that is not fully possible for a finite, human, subject. Yet such a subject can still say “I.” The paradox of this statement is brought out clearly by Gabriel Marcel, upon whom Marion often implicitly relies. If there is any “touchstone” of existence, he says, a place to which one can go in order to ascertain one’s position on this trail of life, Marcel points to this as the “existential indubitable,” that single aspect that cannot be doubted. This is, he says, “myself, in so far as I feel sure that I exist.” Yet, one must be careful with this affirmation. “If,” cautions Marcel, “we are, as I think we are, in the presence here of a key datum… we should also acknowledge from the first that this datum is not transparent to itself; nothing could bear a smaller likeness to the transcendental ego.” There is no transparency in the ability to say “I.” It is a derived function, a gifted function, received from the Event and the Icon, within the Flesh, the milieu of manifestation, that is myself. Yet the Flesh gives to me an I that can say “I.”

This is the paradox of the role of the Pope. He says an “I” that has no self-substantiated or generated content, yet which paradoxically is the “existential indubitable” of the existence of the Church. Without this I the Church has no concrete existence as the visible body of Christ. And yet this I is empty and itself completely derived. For this reason, the Flesh that gives the I, though unable to say “I” with authority, maintains pre-eminence over the I that speaks itself. The emerging importance of the role of the sensus fidelium within the Church points to this absolute necessity and paradox. The Flesh is the I of the “I am,” yet the Pope alone has the authority to say “I” on behalf of the whole. Yet this I is not transparent and has content only by virtue of the Flesh that is the sensus fidelium. The Pope has the speaking role of the Gifted I, gifted with the authority it receives from its Flesh – the Church, given by the Event – Christ’s passion and resurrection – daily in the Icon – the Eucharist – to speak a de-centered and non-transparent, yet authoritative “I” on behalf of the whole Church. He is the “existential indubitable” of the third body – the Flesh of the Church – as it awaits the final closing of the gap of distance within itself in the eschatological coming of the full Christ.

(I screwed up footnotes, so they don't appear. If you want to know any of the citations, just ask me.)

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Hurricane

Before time runs out on this, a few thoughts on Gustav.

I couldn't help remembering as I hunkered down outside, evacuated from New Orleans, in my first hurricane, and awed by the flying branches and snapping trees, Benedict's words in Barangaroo, Australia:
What do we discover? Perhaps reluctantly we come to acknowledge that there are also scars which mark the surface of our earth: erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world’s mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption. Some of you come from island nations whose very existence is threatened by rising water levels; others from nations suffering the effects of devastating drought. God’s wondrous creation is sometimes experienced as almost hostile to its stewards, even something dangerous. How can what is "good" appear so threatening?
The sentiments exactly, I imagine, of quite a few people here in God's beloved South. Maybe not from island nations, but parts of the U.S. below sea level. So, how can what is good appear as so threatening?

Ultimately of course, the answer is sin. Benedict points to the movement of the Holy Spirit over creation, and the need for the earth's stewards, us, to recover our place as respectful caretakers of the world. Unless we are in tune with the creative impulses of the Spirit, even as we govern the earth, we will only hurt her. As Hopkins' eloquently wrote:
O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew-
Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch, her being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will made no eye at all,
Where we, even where we mean
To mend her we end her.
Walker Percy had his own answer to hurricane season in The Last Gentleman. Near the beginning of the novel, he introduces his theory:
Take hurricanes, for example, certainly a bad environment if ever there was one. It was his impression that not just he but other people too felt better in hurricanes -- though it must be admitted that he had studied only four people and one hurricane, evidence hardly adequate to support a scientific hypothesis. On real robin does suggest a spring, however.
The narrator describes a time with a girl, Donna, in Newport. During a hurricane, they hear the crying of a baby and for two hours spend time caring for and feeding it, sustained by a certain inner euphoric feeling. During this time when time condensed into the sacrament of the moment, "everything was yellow and still and charged with value." These are moments, I would guess, that we have all experienced, moments when disaster suddenly sharpens us sensually, for sure, so that we, as the father and son in McCarthy's The Road, experience the taste of peaches as a flavor beyond their wildest imagining. But also spiritually, so that our hearts and spirits are brought to bear on those nearest to us, and on that which is most needed in whatever the dire circumstance is. Such moments become "charged with value."

Now, whether or not we accept Percy's explanation rather than Job's or anyone else's, his point is that while the terror that comes from a hurricane may be the result of sin and evil, with the cross as our paradigm, it is now conversely most often within these terrible moments that love and concern and peace and many other human values often shine through. As Gordon Wenham has taught us in his careful chiasm of the flood narrative in Genesis, the central point of the entire narrative is in 8:1, "But God remembered Noah." While floods may come as the result of evil, God remembers us. And his memory of us, which alone maintains us in existence, also draws us towards that proper stewardship for which we were created.

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Truth (Sinister Music) Behind Gregorian Chant

Just for fun today on the feast of Gregory the Great, a little of the history of what is often called Gregorian chant:

Much music at the time, 6th and 7th century, even in the west, was in Greek, which reigned for a while. 
This was called Byzantine chant. 
When Augustine brought chant to the west, he was imitating chant from the East. 
Ambrosian chant, derived from Byzantine chant, was preserved in the south of Italy as Beneventan chant. 
This gave way to Old Roman chant around the beginning of the 7th and 8th centuries. 
The legend is that Old Roman chant was started by Gregory. 
He codified it and so it was called Gregorian chant. 
However, Old Roman chant is not Gregorian chant.
Gregorian chant comes only from the 9th and 10th centuries and onward. 
It is not "Gregorian" at all but is Carolingian chant and comes from the Frankish kingdom and was resisted in Rome. 
Old Roman was more Byzantine in sound. Gregorian was more plain.

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ