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Tag: literary criticism

Do Catholics Watch Film like Fundamentalists?

September 20, AD2017 0 Comments
Do Catholics Watch Film like Fundamentalists?

The silence of the Catholic critic is so often preferable to his attention. -Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being Too much Christian “criticism” of film revolves around tallies of bare boobs, f-words, and the like, or sounding the alarm at perceived hostilities against Christianity, but Larsen I respect for his willingness to let the filmmakers […]

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The Despair of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

June 19, AD2017 2 Comments
The Despair of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has a host of artistic problems, but its most profound failures are of moral understanding. Whereas the original novels by J.K. Rowling embraced the Christian sanctity of life, understanding that death was an evil, and expressed hope for repentance and forgiveness of sins, this late coming play, written by […]

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Weak Love and Moral Culpability in Shusaku Endo’s Silence

January 28, AD2017 3 Comments
Weak Love and Moral Culpability in Shusaku Endo’s Silence

Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence, of which a film adaptation by Martin Scorsese shall soon be released, is concerned with the deeply unsettling portrayal of a situation in which one’s faith seems to make irreconcilable demands. Set in 1643, after the Japanese persecution of the Catholic Church forced Catholics underground, Silence recounts the story of Fr. […]

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Shusaku Endo’s Silence and the Divine Command to Sin

January 7, AD2017 4 Comments
Shusaku Endo’s Silence and the Divine Command to Sin

Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence is one of the most unsettling novels a Catholic could read. Recounting the story of Portuguese Jesuits facing martyrdom and persecution in seventeenth-century Japan, Endo does not hesitate to pose to his characters – and readers – the most difficult moral dilemmas imaginable regarding persecution and apostasy, and even whether God might […]

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The Exorcist: Theology of the Possessed Body

November 26, AD2016 6 Comments
The Exorcist: Theology of the Possessed Body

Even with its interest in the spiritual realm, William Peter Blatty’s novel The Exorcist is, as befits a story about possession, still very much concerned with the material realm, specifically the human body’s functions, abilities, and appearance. In the novel, the goal of possession, as I discussed in “Faith, Doubt, and Analysis Paralysis in The Exorcist,” is to […]

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Faith, Doubt, and Analysis Paralysis in The Exorcist

November 8, AD2016 0 Comments
Faith, Doubt, and Analysis Paralysis in The Exorcist

Most stories about exorcism following in the wake of William Peter Blatty’s novel The Exorcist (and its film adaptation) tend to portray the Catholic Church as some sort of Justice League fighting the forces of darkness. They clumsily point to the existence of grotesque demonic forces as proof for God’s existence. Blatty however, shows more sophistication. He […]

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Good Characters in a Culture That Can Only Read Hell

October 7, AD2016 0 Comments
Good Characters in a Culture That Can Only Read Hell

Fr. James Lavelle: I think there’s too much talk about sins and not enough about virtues. Fiona Lavelle: What would be your number one? Fr. James Lavelle: I think forgiveness has been highly underrated. -John Michael McDonagh, Calvary A friend of mine once asked if The Divine Comedy is the greatest achievement in human letters. […]

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Strange Dignity: Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God

July 21, AD2016 7 Comments
Strange Dignity: Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God

Lester Ballard, main character of the novel Child of God, commits murder, necrophilia, sexually harasses women, and is generally considered to be crazy. This being a novel by Cormac McCarthy, the most shocking thing about him is none of these. Rather, it is the suggestion that he might still have dignity, like anybody else, and […]

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Sexuality without Procreation in The Children of Men

May 25, AD2016 1 Comment
Sexuality without Procreation in The Children of Men

The English author P. D. James is likely best known for her murder mysteries, but especially worthy of discussion is her science fiction story The Children of Men. Set in the near future, there has not been a baby born for twenty-five years. In this story, partly told from the perspective of Theo Faron, a history […]

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