Thursday, May 10, 2012

Flaherty O'Connor--the power of Catholic Literature

 Here is a strange video lecture.
It is given at a Protestant College by man who seems to be a Protestant.
 At least he refers to himself as such indirectly. But his love of Flaherty O'Connor's novels and letters has captivated him into something of a closet Catholic. He could be a Catholic but has not formally entered the Church yet. He talks of the need of the sacraments especially Baptism to be Christian. Talks of Catholic as Christians, quotes the Pope and admires Flaherty O'Connor devotion to the Eucharist! It is a long talk I wish it was on MP3 so people could listen to it on their i-pod or in their car. Very interesting.

It is an example of the power of art. Art is communication and the artist communicates the worldview which he holds. In the case of a devout Catholic such as Tolkien or O'Connor their power to attract is magnetic, to the point of inspiring their fans to wonder: "What made him/her write that?" That can often be the beginning of a conversion.

Flaherty O'Connor is a forgotten Catholic writer that let her Faith influence her art. She allowed it in such a way that it leaves people perplexed. Her texts usually take place in the South and revolve around morally flawed characters, while the issue of race often appears in the background. One of her trademarks is foreshadowing, giving a reader an idea of what will happen far before it happens. Most of her works feature disturbing elements, though she did not like to be characterized as cynical.

 "I am tired of reading reviews that call A Good Man brutal and sarcastic," she writes. "The stories are hard but they are hard because there is nothing harder or less sentimental than Christian realism... when I see these stories described as horror stories I am always amused because the reviewer always has hold of the wrong horror."