Once a Catholic — to turn the baptismal theology into a slogan — always a Catholic. While the full sense of Berryman’s religious belief might rightly remain a mystery, the publication of his selected letters suggests that a new look at the poet’s faith is not merely warranted but essential to understanding his art.
I think of this every time I attend Mass, including this morning, when I kept thinking that I have been coming here since I was born (my mother took me with her when she went to Mass; even when I was much older, we attended Mass together). There is more than people think in that phrase “cradle Catholic.”
I was very moved by Berryman’s suicide. I even made a sort a pilgrimage to the site once.