The Conversation Continues

A critic asking whether there is any good Catholic literature being written today? It must be a Tuesday. Over at the Millions, Nick Ripatrazone argues that those who can't find a Catholic presence in contemporary literature just aren't looking in the right places:

How to account for any possible perceived dearth of contemporary Catholic literature and art? I have learned the problem is one of definition. In the same way that paradox is endemic to Catholic doctrine, and that postconciliar Catholic writing is wrought with personal and parochial tensions, Catholic imaginative literature remains a conundrum to many critics, both Catholic and secular....The stereotype of simplistic Catholic-themed or influenced writing is often earned by one-note spiritual narratives with no basis in the hard work of real faith. Have writers forgotten the narrative arc of Luke, the complexities of John? Christ suffered; salvation requires sacrifice. No easy redemption in life, so why expect it on the page?...Thinkers likeDenis Donoghue,Mark Bosco SJ,James Martin SJ, andPeggy Rosenthal[...] allow the beauty of Catholic literature and artistry to shine without buffing away all things counter, original, spare, strange. It is time to be catholic in consideration of a literary Catholicism: such paradoxical inclusivity is in concert with the life, and mystery, of Christ.

For the full essay, go here. For more conversation on the topic, see here and here.

Anthony Domestico is chair of the English and Global Literatures Department at Purchase College, and a frequent contributor to Commonweal. His book Poetry and Theology in the Modernist Period is available from Johns Hopkins University Press.

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