the septenary (diapholom) wrote,
the septenary

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if you must

In his essay, “Why Are You a Catholic?” Percy maintained matter-of-factly: “The reason I am a Catholic is that I believe that what the Catholic Church proposes is true.”

Hopkins could have written the same sentence, but one could hardly imagine Hopkins to have adopted Percy's laid-back repartee, as he dealt with the following redneck proposition: “Of course, the Roman Catholic Church is not only a foreign power but a fascist power.” Percy was not hesitant about unpacking this loaded statement:

Or, when in a group of less educated persons, perhaps in a small-town barbershop, one of whom, let us say an ex-member of the Ku Klux Klan—who are not bad fellows actually, at least hereabouts, except when it comes to blacks, Jews, and Catholics—when one of them comes out with something like ‘The Catholic Church is a piece of shit' then one feels entitled to a polite rebuttal in both cases, in the one with something like ‘Well, hold on, let us examine the terms, power, foreign, fascist—' and so on, and in the case of the other, responding in the same tone of casual barbershop bonhomie with, say, ‘Truthfully, Lester, you're something of a shit yourself, even for white trash—' without in either case disrupting, necessarily, the general amiability.

Above all, Percy and Hopkins believed that a creative writer's task is to select words so accurately that they go beyond evoking a dramatic sense of probability to re-present-ing the real. Like Hopkins, Percy delighted in the multiplicity of language through which the Logos is revealed and by which “relations of socially active meaning,” as Ward puts it, can be discerned, grasped, and given a home, whose doors lead to further mansions filled with heart-warming mystery.

the thrill of personal discovery. In a more direct way, Hopkins considered the physical sounds of words and the way they are positioned and stressed as revelatory of the Creator; a knowledge of creation finds its proper end, not in a poststructuralist linguistic quicksand, but in the knowledge of God. Yet each, to use Faulkner's image, cultivated a postage stamp of native soil, making sure that the language they used incarnated the soundest of human sense.

Both science and the arts are concerned with the search for truth, and truth, Percy said, echoing the Scholastics, cannot contradict itself.
Tags: finding god in all things

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