1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Are Catholic Authors Read by ... Catholics?

All Leads Arrive from Orwell ...

An exaggeration, perhaps. But this snide remark from the ever provocative George Orwell set me to thinking about the place of great Catholic authors in Catholic schools, but more significantly (or not) in the intellectual lives of Catholics generally: Orthodox Catholicism seems to have a crushing effect upon certain literary forms, especially the novel ("The Prevention of Literature").

Orwell just missed living long enough to read Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy, but he was familiar with Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, so what is one to make of this observation? Is there truth to the suggestion that piety means hostility to imagination? I think it need not but it is an oddity that O'Connor has been taken seriously by the literary establishment but is an unwriter as far as some Catholic high schools are concerned. An example:

Flannery O'Connor "banned" (J. Bottum, 2000, Crisis)

Sure, it's dated, but it does indicate a mentality: political correctness trumps good art and better theology.

Well, it was that Good Woman herself who noted that suffering at the hands of the Church is just as likely in this day and age as suffering for her.

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