Monday, July 17, 2006

Esoteric Round-up

An essay about the dark grace of Flannery O'Connor, in which much that is fluffy is eviscerated, and much that is tragically beautiful is exalted.
Flannery's favorite target tends to be nice, mild, middle class ladies, full of decent and righteous advice. Nice ladies. Elsie Dinsmore all grown up. Yet these women lie about grace all day long. They lie about Christ as they go about trying to make a utopia of niceness. Grace is much more surprising than their Victorian sensibilities could ever imagine.
Some cringe at O'Connor's disposal of these ladies. Flannery famously gets a reader to side with a decent but perhaps slightly flawed lady, and then the story slowly turns grim. We see her smile is grounded in pettiness or deep bitterness. Finally, she has a severe encounter with dark grace. Nice readers close the story quickly and refuse to go on to another. It's as if the reader herself has been roughed up unjustly.
But that's the point. Flannery just reflects Christ's priorities. He was much softer on thieves, prostitutes, and murderers than he was on polite, middle class Pharisees. Christ berates and belittles and promises death-from-heaven for the most decent citizens of Jerusalem. The good, law-abiding Rotarian sorts incense Christ's deepest anger. And, in Flannery's stories, grace hunts them down. All evil is not bad. Some evil comes to shake us out of our sin; some evil comes to liberate us. Some evil is a gift of grace. Grace gnashes.
A defense of Agape as if from the illustrious Pius XI. Reference is also made to Benedict XVI and Nietzsche; a bewildering and winning combination.

The English translation of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is now online to be devoured with fervor. It is presented in a simple question-and-answer format, and is certainly profitable for all. Go check it out.

The mysteries of infamous sleuth Nancy Drew and authoress Agatha Christie distilled into computer programs. Now you can save the day, or at least the next few hours. Warning: link contains shameful revelations from a respected Gilbert columnist!

Pope Benedict XVI kicks back on his vacation and does something that somehow I never thought I'd see a Pope doing, delightful though it is.

The Rev. Thomas D. Williams, L.C., writes about the "myth of religious tolerance."
Religion is a good to be embraced and defended—not an evil to be put up with. No one speaks of tolerating chocolate pudding or a spring walk in the park. By speaking of religious “tolerance,” we make religion an unfortunate fact to be borne—like noisy neighbors and crowded buses—not a blessing to be celebrated.

And finally, in tremendously sad news, noted Catholic authoress Regina Doman (The Shadow of the Bear) has suffered a terrible loss in the death of her young son, Joshua Michael. The eulogy for the young prince can be found here. Mother Mary, pray for them.

No comments: