Flannery O’Connor

EWTN Prevails Against the HHS Contraception Mandate

On October 5, 2018, the government admitted they were wrong to persecute the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). The admission came in a settlement in EWTN’s long-drawn-out lawsuit regarding the Contraception Mandate attached to Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a result of the settlement, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated (withdrew) its [...]

Parker’s Back: Not Just Another Tattoo

Many civilized readers just don’t know what to do with Flannery O’Connor—and for good reason. If you mashed together the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Quentin Tarantino, I think you would get something very like a Flannery O’Connor story, full of theological brilliance and significance, but also earthy, violent, aggressive, and even ugly. O’Connor’s [...]

Fatherless Sons in Flannery O’Connor’s “The Lame Shall Enter First”

As the city’s recreation director, Sheppard took an interest in the youth he encountered in his work, and also volunteered to counsel troubled boys at the reformatory, “receiving nothing for it but the satisfaction of knowing he was helping boys no one else cared about.” His idea of “help,” however, assumes the form of social [...]

Social Respectability as Religion in Flannery O’Connor’s “Revelation”

In her short stories Flannery O’Connor presents many religious people who attend church and consider themselves moral and principled, but their religion does not inspire their daily life and govern their human relationships. While they strive to make favorable impressions and distinguish themselves by their manners and morals, their congeniality and propriety do not amount [...]

The Christmas Triad: Christ, Church, Eucharist

As a cradle Catholic long accustomed to the rituals and feasts of faith, the earliest memories I have coincide, most happily, with membership in what the comedian Lenny Bruce used to call the only the Church. And so there was never a time when Christmas was not an occasion for sheer wonderment and joy, an [...]

The Grotesque in Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood

“There are two kinds of grace: white grace which makes us pleasing to God, and black grace in which we feel his absence. Most people in the world today feel his absence—really feel it, even the atheists.”  ∼ Ven. Fulton Sheen For Hazel Motes, the “Christ-haunted” sinner in Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, Jesus is a “wild [...]

Is It Over Yet? Lessons for Lent     

“Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still Even among these rocks…” ∼  Ash Wednesday T.S. Eliot Can you believe it? It’s only the first week of Lent, and I’m already tired of it. When will this ordeal end? Surely there’s a door somewhere leading out of this desert. Does [...]

When (Righteous) Anger is Justified

In one of my favorite Flannery O'Connor stories, Revelation, Mrs. Turpin—a very large, very cheerful, and heartily judgmental soul—amuses herself by mentally sorting people into their respective categories. She places all the people she looks down upon beneath herself and her husband, and only those who have more of what she and her husband have [...]

Unmanly Men in Flannery O’Connor’s Short Stories

Many of O’Connor’s stories portray the ineptness of men to uphold traditional ideals of manhood. The men show no leadership, they do not protect or care for their family members, they lack all manner of chivalry, and they lose a sense of priority as they commit to careers and professions or social and political agendas [...]

The University Needs the Monastic Spirit More Than Ever

In one of her last stories, “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” Flannery O’Connor told a story of miscomprehension between mother and son. The story retells communication problems between generations by contrasting two valuations of life. Walter and his mother are at odds for reasons which are perfectly comprehensible within the mental world of each but [...]

A Defense of the Grotesque in Flannery O’Connor’s Art

Art is the pulse of the soul. It expresses much of what is kept hidden and even what could not be expressed in any other form. Many people talk of a crisis in modern art—its abstractness, banality, and, could we even say, ugliness. If there is such a crisis, to me, it is nothing other [...]

A Good Woman Is Hard to Figure

A few days ago a friend mentioned that this August marks the fiftieth anniversary of Flannery O’Connor’s death, so I poked around the Internet to see whether this milestone is stirring up any interest. It is, but what captivated me was finding a few sites promoting the cause for her canonization and others that were [...]

A Caution on the Writings of Flannery O’Connor

Several years ago, I received a volume of Flannery O’Connor’s Complete Stories as the very kind and thoughtful fulfillment of a birthday wish. At the time I knew very little about the content of these writings, but I was enthusiastic to encounter the genius of an author who had been highly praised to me on [...]

Flannery O’Connor—Fifty Years After

Her life bore such eloquence of pain that when she left it—August 3, 1964—her friend Thomas Merton could recall no other writer of the last century to compare her with. Rather, he said, she summoned the voice of Sophocles: an artist whose vision had likewise reached into the dark places of the human heart, there [...]

The Catholic Church: Home for Sinners

Perched majestically atop courthouse buildings in almost every land, there stands the Roman goddess Justitia, armed with sword in one hand, scales in the other, exercising her fine art of giving all and sundry exactly what they deserve.  Often depicted wearing a blindfold to emphasize the pure impartiality of her judgments, one cannot help but [...]

Seeing Clerical Corruption in a Larger Light

It must be because February is so fleeting that one naturally assumes the news cycle will follow suit.  Less calendar time translates into fewer stories, right?  Wrong.  Recent events have blown that thesis completely out of the water.  Begin with the announcement of a papal resignation—could anything be more newsworthy?  It will take effect by [...]

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