Wednesday, April 13, 2005

"The Habit of Being" 92

For me a dogma is only a gateway to contemplation and is an instrument of freedom and not of restriction.It preserves mystery for the human mind. Henry James said the young woman of the future would know nothing of mystery or manners. He had no business to limit it to one sex.

from "The Habit of Being"

What one has as a born Catholic is something given and accepted before it is experienced. I am only slowly coming to experience things that I have all along accepted. I suppose the fullest writing comes from what has been accepted and experienced both and that I have just not got that far yet...Conviction without experience makes for harshness.

The Habit of 97

Both St. Thomas [Aquinas] and St. John of the Cross, dissimilar as they were, were entirely united by the same belief. The more I read St. Thomas the more flexible he appears to me. Incidentally, St. John would have been able to sit down with the prostitute and said, "Daughter, let us consider this," but St. Thomas doubtless knew his own nature and knew that he had to get rid of her with a poker or she would overcome him. I am not only for St. Thomas here but am in accord with his use of the poker. I call this being tolerantly realistic, not being a fascist.

from The Habit of Being, pg. 570.. could tell them that anybody who wants to be introduced to Catholic fiction will have to start with the French - Mauriac and Bernanos. You can't dispose of a writer with a paragraph about his significance. I couldn't even compose such. You'd just better read them if you aim to say anything about them. The English are Waugh & Greene and Spark (Muriel) & the Americans: Powers, Percy, Wilfrid Sheed...and some would include Edwin O'Connor. I don't know as I've never read him.