2 02 2010

I recommend this particular post on the Inside Catholic blog, but more especially the comments. I thought this was a good clarification of what an elusive “Neo-Cath” is:

The apologetic attitude towards the annulment culture even in “conservative” circles inspires me to re-write a Catholic classic of last century: Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. In my version, Sebastian Flyte takes theology of the body classes and figures out that he doesn’t know how to love. He cleans up and joins Opus Dei with Cordelia, making six figure incomes for Jesus. Lady Marchmain learns to lighten up, and Lord Marchmain comes back home to finally express his undying faith in human dignity. He dies a Methodist, since that makes him feel closer to Jesus, but everyone accepts him as a “separated brother”. And most importantly, Charles Ryder and Julia Marchmain go to a diocesan tribunal and get annulments for their previous marriages. They stay together and live happily ever after, teaching a bunch of RCIA classes to bright eyed catechumens. Instead of an empty tabernacle evoking a dreary Latin phrase (“Quomodo sedet sola civitas”), we could have a big gaudy Paschal candle with the phrase, “Be not afraid”, etched in the wax.

Catholicism: the new and improved, conservative “JPII” version.

Yeah, no thank you.



9 responses

7 06 2010
Jared B.

(unlike the very real and deserving of biting wit, like those dastardly villains who don’t read their sentences before clicking ‘Submit’…”the fact that they in fact…” oy vey 😉

7 06 2010
Jared B.

I’m hear a lot of sneers of that kind, about neo-caths doing this and that in people’s imaginations. But there remains the fact that they **in fact** just read, enjoy, and learn from these works, without feeling any urge to re-write them. So all the faux-wit is being directed at an imaginary group of people.

7 02 2010

@Tom, Lady Julia’s marriage wasn’t the problem – it was Charles Ryder’s marriage that was a problem. As Arturo points out, Ryder was a non-Catholic who was divorced, so if she were to marry him it would have been as invalid as her marriage to Rex Mottram. Of course, it could be that Charles’s marriage was invalid for the same reasons as the author’s. But this is just speculation, since Charles doesn’t give us much to go on apart from the cold way he treats his wife and children.

6 02 2010
Arturo Vasquez

I don’t think her marriage was the problem. I think it was his, since he was a non-Catholic who was divorced, and thus he was committing adultery. But then again, their whole relationship may have been a lie, so whatever.

6 02 2010

dcs – I know. That’s the thing that I’ve never understood about that plot point.

5 02 2010

LOL! However, I doubt Lady Julia would have had any trouble procuring a decree of nullity even in the era in which ‘Brideshead’ was set, since her marriage to Rex Mottram was outside the Church.

3 02 2010
The young fogey

I don’t know enough about ‘theology of the body’ to understand your strong objection to it but I like this very much.

3 02 2010
William Tighe

Interesting moniker, “Cassianus.” Perhaps you are acquainted with him?

2 02 2010
The Western Confucian

Brilliant. I now understand why there is no longer any good Catholic literature. Makes me wonder how Flannery O’Connor could be similarly “revisited” for the Neo-Cath crowd.

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