Artless boy, he’s found a system of beauty: he shows us pleasure and what Pleasure resists. The ice cream is delicious. He’s frail beside his relentless standard.From Ross Douthat's Bad Religion:
The entire media-entertainment complex, meanwhile, was almost shamelessly pro-Catholic. If a stranger to American life had only the movies, television, and popular journalism from which to draw inferences, he probably would have concluded that midcentury America was a Catholic-majority country—its military populated by the sturdy Irishmen of The Fighting 69th (1948) and The Fighting Sullivans (1944); its children educated and its orphans rescued by the heroic priests and nuns celebrated in Boys Town (1938), The Bells of Saint Mary’s (1945), and Fighting Father Dunne (1948); its civic life dominated by urban potentates like Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York and Denis Dougherty of Philadelphia; its everyday life infused with Catholic kitsch, from the 1950s hit single “Our Lady of Fatima” to the “win one for the Gipper” cult of Notre Dame football.
The weaknesses of midcentury religion were manifold, no doubt, but so are the weaknesses of religious culture in any time and place. Judged by the exacting standards of the Gospels, most Christians in the sixth and tenth and sixteenth centuries probably enjoyed only a “veneer” of true religion, and Wills’s critique of American Catholicism on the eve of Vatican II could be applied to the Church of 1880 or 1910 or 1935. It’s easy to recognize the fault lines in an institution after it’s been shattered, easy to declare that a particular dissolution was inevitable once it’s taken place. The more important question isn’t “why?” but “why then?” Why did the churches have a bigger credibility problem in 1978 than in 1958?
From The Map and the Territory by Michael H.:
It must have been very practical, that belief in God; when you could no longer do anything for others—and that was often the case in life, it was basically almost always the case, and particularly concerning his father’s cancer—there remained the resource of praying for them.
“in a sense I’m happy that your mother’s no longer here. She who was so refined, so elegant … she would’ve found physical decline unbearable.”