Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I beg to differ ...

... Waugh Contra Mundum: The problem Catholicism of Brideshead Revisited. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

I just re-read Brideshead while on vacation. Waugh could have chosen for the book's epigraph this passage from the Gospels: "The Son of Man came to call sinners, not the just." Lord Brideshead's intellectual grasp of Catholicism has turned his faith into a grotesque etiquette. Except for the old nurse and Cordelia - and the priest who attends Marchmain at the end, and who is not at all patronizing (I think I know priests better than Michael Weiss does) - there are no exemplary Catholics in the book (and by "exemplary" I do not mean that they are saints; I mean simply that they go about practicing their faith simply and correctly). They are all sinners. The mystery at the heart of the book is the mystery of God's mercy. That is why the book tends to confound the humanistic imagination.

1 comment:

  1. It confounded C.S. Lewis, too. He didn't "get it."