Memory Lane

My heart ached as I read Bernard P. Prusak’s article “Turning Point” (September 28). I was thirty-three years old when Vatican II opened. I was married and had four children at that time, but I was barely hanging on to my Catholic faith. My husband Francis and I considered leaving the faith, but somehow we stayed.

So many of the church’s ideas seemed unacceptable to me. Even as a twelve-year-old, I decided that if Miriam, my Methodist bosom buddy, wasn’t going to heaven, as the Catholic Church was telling me, then I didn’t want to be there either. I also had been severely reprimanded by my priest for asking to be an altar server at that time. When I was a high-school sophomore and asked him for more information about Martin Luther, he blew his stack and called me a bad Catholic for asking.

Those and other experiences caused me to ask, “Why am I even a Catholic?” So when Vatican II opened my husband and I eagerly awaited the outcome. Our local Catholic weekly published the entirety of every document that came out of the council. My husband and I practically raced to the mailbox on our farm every Thursday to see what the bishops were saying. It was a heady time to be a Catholic. The documents on the church in the modern world and on ecumenism were our favorites. At last, Miriam and I could be in heaven together. (But I knew it all along!) And she is already there, waiting for me.

Prusak writes: “The council closed amid a tremendous sense of engagement and anticipation. Sadly, at least from my perspective decades later, much of that sense of possibility has faded, as previous patterns of authority and demands for obedience have increasingly been reasserted.”

I too felt much hope and excitement in 1965, but that feeling has disappeared. Things in the church are not quite as bad as when I was twelve (I’m eighty-three now), but we’re headed that way. I comfort myself with this thought: From 1988 to 2005 I was director of RCIA in our parish, and I think we turned out quite a few Catholics who understood and appreciated Vatican II. Maybe people like that will be the future of the church.

Teresa Mottet
Fairfield, Iowa


John Garvey’s “Only Wonder Comprehends” and Paul K. Johnston’s “A Fuller Life” (September 28) both speak to the profound openness of the Catholic Christian vision. Garvey’s juxtaposing of astronaut James Irwin and Julian of Norwich reminds me of the works of the incisive yet often forgotten William F. Lynch, SJ. Lynch challenged Catholics and intellectuals alike to look at the dimensions of the world analogically and imaginatively. In Lynch’s terms, we live in an age in which the dimensions of reality are either reduced to a single concept (the univocal imagination) or disconnected from one another (the equivocal imagination). Garvey and Johnston recall the analogical dimensions of reality, which, if not forgotten, are seemingly ignored by the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A univocal imagination may provide clarity of vision, but it is ultimately a skewed vision. Like Lynch, Johnston and Garvey do much in their short pieces to rekindle the Catholic vision of analogy, imagination, and fullness.

Edward J. Dupuy
San Antonio, Tex.


Correction: A book review in the October 12 issue incorrectly identified the publisher of Thomas Banchoff’s Embryo Politics. The book was published by Cornell University Press.

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Published in the 2012-10-26 issue: View Contents
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