Monday, October 29, 2007

From essay "The Church and the Fiction Writer"...

What the fiction writer will discover, if he discovers anything at all, is that he himself cannot move or mold reality in the interests of abstract truth. The writer learns, perhaps more quickly than the reader, to be humble in the face of what-is. What-is is all he has to do with; the concrete is his medium; and he will realize eventually that fiction can transcend its limitations only by staying within them. Henry James said that the morality of a piece of fiction depended on the amount of 'felt life' that was in it. The Catholic writer, in so far as he has the mind of the Church, will feel life from the standpoint of the central Christian mystery: that it has, for all its horror, been found by God to be worth dying for. But this should enlarge not narrow his field of vision. [Via here.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On the admired new Archbishop of Atlanta...

Usually I think the Church's motto is The Wrong Man for the Job; but not this time. (Found here.)

On Faith...

...let me tell you this: faith comes and goes. It rises and falls like the tides of an invisible ocean. If it is presumptuous to think that faith will stay with you forever, it is just as presumptuous to think that unbelief will... 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief' [is] the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospel, and I think it is the foundation prayer of faith...Faith is a gift, but the will has a great deal to do with it. The loss of it is basically a failure of appetite, assisted by sterile intellect. (Found here.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

From "Conversations with Flannery O'Connor"...

The novelist with Christian concerns will find in modern life distortions which are repugnant to him and his problems will be to make these appear as distortions to an audience which is seeing them as natural. (pg. 110)

From "Conversations with Flannery O'Connor" ..

The best American writing has always been regional. But to be regional in the best sense you have to see beyond the region. For example, the Fugitives at Vanderbilt in the '20s felt that the South they knew was passing away and they wanted to get it down before it went, but they had a larger vision than just the South. They were against what they saw coming, against the social planner, fellow traveller spirit that came along in the next ten years. They looked to the past and future to make a judgement in their own times. (pg. 109)

From "Habit of Being"...

I wouldn't spend much time worrying about [spiritual] dryness. It's hard to steer a path between indifference and presumption and [there's] a kind of constant spiritual temperature-taking that don't do any good or tell you anything either. (pg. 581)

From "Habit of Being"...

It all reminds me of the Tates getting upset because Cardinal Spellman writes bad novels. I think it's charming that Cardinal Spellman writes bad novels. If he wrote good novels, I'd be worried about the Church.
(pg. 588)

It sure don't look like I'll ever get out of this joint. By now I know all the student nurses who "want to write," -- if they are sloppy & inefficient & can't make up the bed, that's them--they want to write. "Inspirational stuff I'm good at," said one of them. "I just get so taken up with it I forget what I'm writing."
(pg. 583)