Saturday, January 5, 2008

Eldest Ex-Daughter of the Church

But all is not lost. According to Robert Royal:
A few years ago, I was in the middle of giving a lecture in Paris about religious persecution and martyrdom during the twentieth century when a woman stood up and shouted, “The French state has been repressing and killing Christians ever since the Revolution—and it has to stop!” Her outburst had more to do with her own pent up frustration than anything in particular that I was saying, but it immediately struck me that she had given voice to a feeling of religious disenfranchisement in France that we almost never hear about. Nicolas Sarkozy did not exactly express the same frustration when he went to Rome on December 20, but when the president of the French Republic makes an extended plea for the public affirmation of the value of faith in a high-profile venue, some equally unexpected cri de coeur has just come over the European horizon.

Is the Catholic novel dead? According to one English scholar it is alive and well (in England, anyway. Actually, there might be some writers taking a whack at it in the good old USA, too.)
Some people believe that the Catholic novel is either dead or terminally ill. In 1982, one critic referred to his book on the Catholic novel as an “elegy for an apparently dying form,” and two years later another wrote that “the religious or spiritual novel is in some sense only a memory.” Some attribute this demise to the imminent dissolution of the religion that inspired it, arguing that the dissent and chaos that have come in the wake of the Second Vatican Council are simply the death throes of a religion that is not sustainable in an age that is increasingly secular, liberal, scientific, and pluralistic. Some Catholics believe that the great Catholic novels of the past reflect the fortress mentality of the pre–Vatican II Catholic ghetto and have no place in today’s Church.


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