The Gospel According to John Bull
#11
(01-06-2010, 07:09 PM)stvincentferrer Wrote: There's no mystery. The article explains precisely why Waugh and Greene are deserving of criticism. Their fame was hugely bolstered by a non-Catholic literary establishment, and they were double-minded in advancing themselves. I don't know if these claims are true since I'm not that familiar with the writers, but I do notice that Catholic artists tend to water down their religious impulses to be accepted.

Feeney certainly supplies the reason you underscore for disliking Waugh and Greene, and given (what I take to be) the editorial genre of the piece, perhaps expecting him to back up his reasoning in greater detail is inappropriate, but his judgment nonetheless strikes me as peremptory. 

What Catholic artists do you perceive as watering down their religious impulses in order to be accepted by a wider audience?
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#12
(01-06-2010, 11:52 PM)WilfredLeblanc Wrote:
(01-06-2010, 07:09 PM)stvincentferrer Wrote: There's no mystery. The article explains precisely why Waugh and Greene are deserving of criticism. Their fame was hugely bolstered by a non-Catholic literary establishment, and they were double-minded in advancing themselves. I don't know if these claims are true since I'm not that familiar with the writers, but I do notice that Catholic artists tend to water down their religious impulses to be accepted.

Feeney certainly supplies the reason you underscore for disliking Waugh and Greene, and given (what I take to be) the editorial genre of the piece, perhaps expecting him to back up his reasoning in greater detail is inappropriate, but his judgment nonetheless strikes me as peremptory. 

What Catholic artists do you perceive as watering down their religious impulses in order to be accepted by a wider audience?

Just about any Catholic artist that receives wide recognition and who is embraced by the establishment will undoubtedly be a fraud. Even Mel Gibson took out the "his blood be upon us" scene in The Passion for fear of the usual suspects.
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#13
(01-05-2010, 11:19 PM)WilfredLeblanc Wrote: I had to follow this up a bit because of the family connection, and I think I get at least part of it. The End of the Affair, which was based on Greene's affair with Catherine Walston, was published in 1951 and promptly got Greene on the cover of Time with the strapline "Adultery can lead to Sainthood." Feeney, quite understandably, would have been disgusted by that. By the time he published the article above in 1954, he had probably been building up bile around the subject for a few years.

See here for more lurid detail about the Greene/Walston affair: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/...28643.html I didn't know this before, but apparently she was his goddaughter!

I just read this. What a sleazeball. He seems like one of those Catholics that like to pull out the "think of how much worse i would be if i weren't Catholic" shtick. That always goes over well with the sentimental types.
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#14
Graham Greene wasn't a good Catholic, maybe not even a good man, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a good Catholic writer. These are different things. A book can be greater than the man who wrote it. Perhaps you will find this easier to understand if you consider works of visual art. We've all heard lurid things about Michelangelo, for instance, and he made his greatest works of art for money -- money that was scandalously obtained -- but his Pieta is sublime.

As for Catholic writers watering down their message to get a broader audience, I think you're looking at it the wrong way. I see it more as their employing a sort of Trojan horse technique to get Catholic ideas in where normally they would be unwelcome. Some people are peculiarly susceptible to ideas in literature. I owe my own conversion to Catholic writers who are read seriously and highly regarded by seculars. I would never have picked up one of the pious little volumes put out by Catholic publishing houses.
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#15
(01-07-2010, 10:57 AM)Satori Wrote: Graham Greene wasn't a good Catholic, maybe not even a good man, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a good Catholic writer. These are different things. A book can be greater than the man who wrote it. Perhaps you will find this easier to understand if you consider works of visual art. We've all heard lurid things about Michelangelo, for instance, and he made his greatest works of art for money -- money that was scandalously obtained -- but his Pieta is sublime.

As for Catholic writers watering down their message to get a broader audience, I think you're looking at it the wrong way. I see it more as their employing a sort of Trojan horse technique to get Catholic ideas in where normally they would be unwelcome. Some people are peculiarly susceptible to ideas in literature. I owe my own conversion to Catholic writers who are read seriously and highly regarded by seculars. I would never have picked up one of the pious little volumes put out by Catholic publishing houses.

I perfectly understand that an artist can be a sleazeball and produce great art. It's pretty elementary. Look at Polanski: a great filmmaker who has a thing for little girls. I think you're missing the point, in that Greene and Waugh supposedly looked to a secular establishment for validation. One would have to be abnormally holy and unworldly to use the tactics you are saying they used. I think they probably just wanted the world and heaven, in that order. It's as if the godless establishment is transforming the Church, and not the other way around.
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#16
(01-08-2010, 08:46 AM)stvincentferrer Wrote:
(01-07-2010, 10:57 AM)Satori Wrote: Graham Greene wasn't a good Catholic, maybe not even a good man, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a good Catholic writer. These are different things. A book can be greater than the man who wrote it. Perhaps you will find this easier to understand if you consider works of visual art. We've all heard lurid things about Michelangelo, for instance, and he made his greatest works of art for money -- money that was scandalously obtained -- but his Pieta is sublime.

As for Catholic writers watering down their message to get a broader audience, I think you're looking at it the wrong way. I see it more as their employing a sort of Trojan horse technique to get Catholic ideas in where normally they would be unwelcome. Some people are peculiarly susceptible to ideas in literature. I owe my own conversion to Catholic writers who are read seriously and highly regarded by seculars. I would never have picked up one of the pious little volumes put out by Catholic publishing houses.

I perfectly understand that an artist can be a sleazeball and produce great art. It's pretty elementary. Look at Polanski: a great filmmaker who has a thing for little girls. I think you're missing the point, in that Greene and Waugh supposedly looked to a secular establishment for validation. One would have to be abnormally holy and unworldly to use the tactics you are saying they used. I think they probably just wanted the world and heaven, in that order. It's as if the godless establishment is transforming the Church, and not the other way around.

Abnormally holy and unworldly? That doesn't even make sense. No, I'm not saying that Waugh and Greene specifically used the Trojan horse tactic, although they may have (Brideshead Revisited is an example of this, I'm almost certain). I was trying to say that the above is an effective way of being a Catholic writer, more effective in this age than openly writing the sort of "religious" stories that are sold only in Christian bookstores and read only by other Christians. I agree that if these writers really were just trying to get affirmation from a secular establishment, that's sleazy in itself, and after reading the article attached by Wilfred I'm inclined to think that that's what Greene may have been doing, at least for part of his career. (Of course, trying to get kudos from a religious audience is just as bad.)

Also I was NOT just saying "you can be a sleazeball and a great artist." I was saying that pious people do value religious art made by questionable artists, and I don't see why they can value paintings and sculptures despite the artist but not great Catholic novels that may have been written out of a shabby sort of ambition.
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#17
(01-08-2010, 10:26 AM)Satori Wrote:
(01-08-2010, 08:46 AM)stvincentferrer Wrote:
(01-07-2010, 10:57 AM)Satori Wrote: Graham Greene wasn't a good Catholic, maybe not even a good man, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a good Catholic writer. These are different things. A book can be greater than the man who wrote it. Perhaps you will find this easier to understand if you consider works of visual art. We've all heard lurid things about Michelangelo, for instance, and he made his greatest works of art for money -- money that was scandalously obtained -- but his Pieta is sublime.

As for Catholic writers watering down their message to get a broader audience, I think you're looking at it the wrong way. I see it more as their employing a sort of Trojan horse technique to get Catholic ideas in where normally they would be unwelcome. Some people are peculiarly susceptible to ideas in literature. I owe my own conversion to Catholic writers who are read seriously and highly regarded by seculars. I would never have picked up one of the pious little volumes put out by Catholic publishing houses.

I perfectly understand that an artist can be a sleazeball and produce great art. It's pretty elementary. Look at Polanski: a great filmmaker who has a thing for little girls. I think you're missing the point, in that Greene and Waugh supposedly looked to a secular establishment for validation. One would have to be abnormally holy and unworldly to use the tactics you are saying they used. I think they probably just wanted the world and heaven, in that order. It's as if the godless establishment is transforming the Church, and not the other way around.

Abnormally holy and unworldly? That doesn't even make sense.

I know. I'm struggling to figure it out myself and I wrote it.  :laughing:

I'm just going to leave it here because I have ideas in my head about this that I'm not yet able to articulate.

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