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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: RE: (whorl) Re: Digest whorl.v012.n066
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 11:12:32 

CC wrote:

> For the record, I'm Catholic. I was an atheist when 
> I was younger...

Innarestin. Three RCs in the group, and we're all adult 
converts. Do we have enough data points to establish a 
pattern? Is there a cradle Catholic in the group? (Even 
better, an "adult survivor of Catholicism" as one friend
calls himself?)

> The BotNS had its part in that whole process, too,
> especially such things as Severian's epiphany beside Ocean.

Oh, man, you just picked my probably favorite scene in
all of Wolfe. "I took off my boots and cast them into
the sea, so that I might not walk shod on sacred ground."

FWIW, I was already a(n unChurched) Christian when I
read tBotNS, but I wouldn't be surprised if that scene
played its part in my journey to Rome.

> The Catholic elements in Wolfe's works are almost
> entirely concerned with the sacraments, and with the
> relationship between *individuals* and the Pancreator. 

I'd state it differently: The religious (and specifically
Catholic) elements in Mr Wolfe's work are concerned 
primarily with the Sacraments, the soteriological 
"process," and the imitatio christi, especially when the
individual is not aware of it. (One might compare on 
this level Flannery O'Connor, and especially WISE BLOOD.)

> There are none of the "political" elements that make
> the Church unpleasant for many non-Catholics. 

As an amateur apologist, I have to say that there's a lot 
more than politics that many non-Catholics, and especially 
non-Catholic Christians, find troubling in Catholicism; 
there are some fairly deep theological issues that separate
Catholicism, and eastern Orthodoxy, from the Protestant
churches. (Not to mention the Protestant churches from 
each other...) In fact, it's been my experience that non-
Christians who are incredibly hostile to Protestant 
churches often admit to a soft spot for Catholicism -- 
possibly because, at least in this country, Catholicism
tends less toward in-yer-face evangelization.

> It is the Catholic (universal) Church not because it
> has a universal presence among (and responsibility to)
> the human community, but because the sacraments are
> represented everywhere in the universe, bound to
> natural law. 

Bingo on the antecedent, but I think you're mistaken to 
negate the precedent. In fact, the Catechism (CCC) that 
was issued a few years ago claims all humanity as part 
of the church, separated in various degrees. Or something
like that.

I think one of Wolfe's most awesome accomplishments is
the way the SUN books seem to dramatize the working-out
of Christ's salvific work in people who have never even
heard of Him.

[Irrelevantly he asked: Does anybody out there remember
Scott Card's "Secular Humanist Revival Meetings?"
	Pastor Scott: Do you BELIEVE?!?!
	    Audients: Yes, we BELIEVE!!!
	Pastor Scott: No, no, no... You're supposed to
	              say "In what?"

> Issues of Church hierarchy, and that whole supreme
> pontiff thing that makes many critics unsatisfied
> with Catolicism, are not present in Wolfe's work. 

Actually, I think it's worth thinking this through again.
The structure of the Chapter in SHORT is clearly based
heavily on the Catholic clergy; and there is _some_ kind
of religious hierarchy on Urth, though we don't quite
find out what it is.


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