My inability to handle it so far in fiction may be purely personal, as my upbringing has smacked a little of Jansenism even if my convictions do not...
I like Pascal but I don't think the Jansenist impulse is healthy in the Church. The Irish are notably infected with it because all the Jansenist priests were chased out of France at the time of the Revolution and ended up in Ireland. It was a bad day if you ask me. I read a novel by Sean O'Faolain about the demise of the Irish novel. Apparently someone suggested there wasn't enough sin in Ireland to supply the need. O'Faolain said no, the Irish sinned constantly but with no great emotion except fear. Jansenism doesn't seem to breed so much a love of God as a love of asceticism.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Much of the criticism of belief you find today comes from people who are judging it from the standpoint of another and narrower discipline. The Biblical criticism of the 19th century, for instance, was the product of historical disciplines. It has been entirely revamped in the 20th century by applying broader criteria to it, and those people who lost their faith in the 19th century because of it, could better have hung on in blind trust. [The Habit of Being]
Posted by TS at 1:19 PM
Always you renounce a lesser good for a greater; the opposite is what sin is. And along this line, I think the phrase naïve purity is a contradiction in terms. I don't think purity is mere innocence. I don't think babies and idiots possess it. I take it to be something that comes either with experience or with Grace so that it can never be naïve.
Posted by TS at 11:32 AM
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
This is a peculiar thing - I have the one fold, one Shepherd instinct as strong as any, to see someone I know out of the [Catholic] Church is grief to me, it's to want him in with great urgency. At the same time, the Church can't be put forward by anybody but God and one is apt to do great damage by trying; consequently Catholics may seem very remiss, almost lethargic, about coming forward with the Faith. (Maybe you ain't observed this reticence in me.)
Posted by TS at 1:06 PM
Leaving the Incarnation aside, the very notion of God's existence is not emotionally satisfactory anymore for great numbers of people, which does not mean God ceases to exist. M. Sartre finds God emotionally unsatisfactory in the extreme, as do most of my friends of lesser stature than he. The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. A higher paradox confounds the emotion as well as reason and there are long periods in the lives of all of us, when the truth as revealed by faith is hideous, emotionally disturbing, downright repulsive. Witness the dark night of the soul in individual saints. Right now the whole world appears to be going through a dark night of the soul.
Posted by TS at 12:31 PM
I don't think as you seem to suppose that to be a true Christian you believe that mutual interdependence is a conceit. This is far from Catholic doctrine; in fact it strikes me as highly Protestant, a sort of justification by faith. God became not only man, but Man. This is the mystery of the Redemption and our salvation is worked out on earth according as we love one another, see Christ in one another, etc., by works. This is one reason I am chary of using the word, love, loosely. I prefer to use it in its practical forms, such as prayer, almsgiving, visiting the sick and burying the dead and so forth.
Posted by TS at 12:13 PM