In order to enjoy a little lassitude in the summer swelter, I am letting one of my favorite authors share with you, through an interviewer, some of his insights into the Faith we share. Monsignor Smith
Walker Percy was one of the most notable Southern writers of his lifetime (along with Flannery O’Connor, of course) who was able to speak about faith without actually speaking about faith. The following is an interview from “Questions They Never Asked Me,” which appears in Conversations with Walker Percy:
Q: What kind of Catholic are you? A. Bad.
Q: No. I mean are you liberal or conservative? A: I no longer know what those words mean.
Q: Are you a dogmatic Catholic or an open-minded Catholic?A: I don’t know what that means, either. Do you mean do I believe the dogma that the Catholic Church proposes for belief?
Q: Yes. A: Yes.
Q: How is such a belief possible in this day and age? A: What else is there?
Q: What do you mean, what else is there? There is humanism, atheism, agnosticism, Marxism, behaviorism, materialism, Buddhism, Muhammadanism, Sufism, astrology, occultism, theosophy. A: That’s what I mean.
Q: To say nothing of Judaism and Protestantism. A: Well, I would include them along with the Catholic Church in the whole peculiar Jewish-Christian thing.
Q: I don’t understand. Would you exclude, for example, scientific humanism as a rational and honorable alternative? A: Yes.
Q: Why? A: It’s not good enough.
Q: Why not? A: This life is too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then to be asked what you make of it and have to answer “Scientific humanism.” That won’t do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and the infinite delight, i.e., God. In fact I demand it. I refuse to settle for anything less. I don’t see why anyone should settle for less than Jacob, who actually grabbed aholt of God and would not let go until God identified himself and blessed him.
Q: Grabbed aholt? A: A Louisiana expression.
Q: But isn’t the Catholic Church in a mess these days, badly split, its liturgy barbarized, vocations declining? A: Sure. That’s a sign of its divine origins, that it survives these periodic disasters.