Friday’s Flannery: A Stroke of Good Fortune, by Flannery O’Connor

December 9, 2009

William Blake’s Jacob’s Ladder

Friday’s Flannery is a series of posts on Flannery O’Connor’s short stories.

A Stroke of Good Fortune is a masterful little story.  By no means Flannery’s most popular, it strikes at the heart of post War American aspirations and the spiritual challenges that accompany them.  Ruby Hill is another of Flannery’s tortured souls.  As with most of her sorry characters, Ruby’s miseries are  produced by a bad interaction between her state in life and her refusal to understand and accept it gracefully.  Her ambitions are patently American and modern rather than specifically Southern.  Ruby is caught up in self pity over her daily routine of walking eight blocks each way for groceries and having to carry them up four flights.  In her head spin aspirations of one-storied suburban life, a novelty in 1949.  She pines for the “good life,” desperately seeking to avoid the miseries of her mother who bore eight children and lost several along the way.  She is proud of having mastered her fertility which in her mind is both wise and progressive.

Progress and Sin

Many of Flannery’s stories address the idea of progress and contrast it with eternal verities.  In A View of the Woods, she contrasts the pursuit of money and power represented by progress with the values of family and the beauty of nature.  Some of her characters dismiss Catholicism as medieval and backward.  Flannery almost always presents the modern and the progressive as instances of certain deadly sins including Greed, Jealousy, Gluttony and Pride.   In A Stroke of Good Fortune, we Read the rest of this entry »


Witches Around Town

October 3, 2009

While I have known for many years that there are a lot of Wiccans and other pagans in the Twin Cities, I had no idea that they had a Pagan pride Weekend. Going on now. My first question is this: Why pride? Why not come up with some other word? Is it because you’re wrong and vilified for your ultra-yucky behavior? Or is it because you have Dianic Wiccans (lesbian witches) organizing this? I’m not aware that anyone pays too much attention to paganism around here so it wouldn’t shock people, especially in October, to be told that someone is a pagan. Especially not in the neighborhood in which they’re having their event. Read the rest of this entry »


Will the Feminists Riot?

August 21, 2008

This week a Catholic blogger came out in support of Barack Obama despite the candidate’s position on abortion. More interesting to me than that a liberal blogger at the controversial Vox Nova would ignore the evil of abortion was a comment to the effect that Feminists would riot if Roe v. Wade were overturned. I had never thought of this. Here is digbydolben’s comment:

What often fascinates me about Americans is not just how divided your country is, but, also, how little certain elements of the population know other elements: obviously a great many people writing here have little or no knowledge of the millions of “feminists” presently living in America who consider the right to “control their reproductive systems” as a basic human right now.

I, however, have known many of this type of “modern woman” during my time in the United States, and I can tell you, “Father J,” that, if you succeeded in criminalizing abortion in certain states, or if you succeeded in passing an Amendment to the Constitution repealing Roe vs Wade, or if the Supreme Court were tipped by Republican appointments toward a reversal of Roe vs. Wade, these women would take to the streets; they’d burn your courthouses down, their feelings regarding this “right” are so strong. Read the rest of this entry »


Orthodox Metropolitan Soft on Sacred Tradition

August 5, 2008

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware was waxing philosophical in the wake of the Lambeth Conference, presenting a soft approach to Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. There are some interesting parallels with an earlier post of mine, Orthodox EP Soft Like Anglicans on Abortion, in that these comments are given with the intention of being sympathetic with the current Anglican predicament. Still, this cannot be understood as mere diplomatic speech as it was given in the wake of the Vatican’s stunningly frank language on the same matters delivered by Cardinal Kasper just days prior. The full interview is found here.

An interesting exerpt (emphasis mine):

… First, I admire deeply the way in which Archbishop Rowan is fulfilling his role as Archbishop of Canterbury, at this moment of crisis. It’s easy to say, with reference to his position here at the Lambeth Conference or generally in the current Anglican world, that he is in a no-win situation. But granted the immense difficulties that he is facing, he is not doing too badly. Now, what should he be doing here at Lambeth? Should he be offering very firm and clear leadership, insisting on a particular point of view, putting forward resolutions to the plenary gathering of the bishops for their acceptance? He has not chosen to do that. Some people feel disappointed. Some people feel he should be doing that. But if he were to do that, it would create confrontation and division. If you walk through the mountains and you find a large rock in your path, one method is to kick it out of the way. The other is to walk around it and go on with your journey. Now Archbishop Rowan has probably understood that if he tries to kick this particular stone, or this double rock – the ordination of women and homosexual relations – if he tries to confront it head-on and insist on a clear expression of the position of the Anglican Communion, to kick the stone out of the path, he is likely to hurt his toe. Read the rest of this entry »


Text of Cardinal Kasper to Anglican Bishops: It’s Over

August 1, 2008

Anglicanism Fading from Historic Christianity

Cardinal Kasper, the best Catholic friend to the Anglican Communion, the one who has remained most optimistic for an ongoing relationship with Anglicanism, delivers the coup de grace wearing a velvet glove. Anglican orders will never be recognized and Anglican-Catholic relations are no longer ordered toward a future unity.

Emphasis mine.

Full text here.

The Catholic Church’s teaching regarding human sexuality, especially homosexuality, is clear, as set forth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nn. 2357-59. We are convinced that this teaching is well founded in the Old and in the New Testament, and therefore that faithfulness to the Scriptures and to apostolic tradition is at stake. I can only highlight what IARCCUM’s “Growing Together in Unity and Mission” said: “In the discussions on human sexuality within the Anglican Communion, and between it and the Catholic Church, stand anthropological and biblical hermeneutical questions which need to be addressed” (§86e). Not without reason is today’s principal theme at the Lambeth Conference concerned with biblical hermeneutics.

I would like briefly to draw your attention to the ARCIC statement “Life in Christ”, where it was noted (nn. 87-88) that Anglicans could agree with Catholics that homosexual activity is disordered, but that we might differ in the moral and pastoral advice we would offer to those seeking our counsel. We realise and appreciate that the recent statements of the Primates are consistent with that teaching, which was given clear expression in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. In light of tensions over the past years in this regard, a clear statement from the Anglican Communion would greatly strengthen the possibility of us giving common witness regarding human sexuality and marriage, a witness which is sorely needed in the world of today. Read the rest of this entry »


Anglican White Superiority at Lambeth … Again

July 31, 2008

The very lovely Bishop Catherine Roskam

Anglican colonialism/racism rears its ugly head once again at Lambeth. Not only has this woman bishop shown the high quality of TEC social analysis, she has demonstrated in a conclusive fashion the fruits of ordaining feminist women. Notice that she considers every man a virtual violent criminal, even if he is a bishop.

The Right Rev Catherine Roskam, suffragan bishop of New York, with a responsibility for 66 congregations, said domestic violence was culturally acceptable in some parts of the world and that “even the most devout Christians” were guilty of it. Read the rest of this entry »