Catholicism is defined as observing all Christian practices, doctrines, principles, and customs advocated by Catholics rather than the Eastern Orthodox and Protestants. The core objective of teaching Catholicism is to show the objectives and interests of God towards humanity and establish an everlasting relationship with Him through the trinity of Jesus Christ.
Mystery and Manners by O’Connor
Concerning the work of O’Connor about mystery and manners, she has explored many essays focusing on how to become humanity rather than focusing on affected regions (Bruce 130). She advises people to differentiate between believing in nothing and believing in God (Sessions 491). In her book, she explores her thoughts about what it was like for her as a catholic writer from Southern America. The book portrayed her personality as being so confidential and determined about her thoughts. She makes the readers not wonder how she thought of modern Christian fiction.
Tracing the historical climate of the times in which O’Connor was writing
Roman Catholicism has played an integral part in uniting western civilization, especially in making spiritual decisions. It is one of the main branches of Christianity apart from Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Activities of Jesus and his disciples were used to trace Catholicism’s historical development, to form a solid theology worldwide. The historical and incontestable facts and modern theories suggest that comprehending the entire Catholicism instructional structure, customs, practices, and beliefs amount to indispensable commitment and element of cultural literacy, no matter how people ultimately approach the concepts of death, faith, and life (Sándor 70).
Without an intense knowledge of Roman Catholicism, tracing and illustrating the historical attributes during the Middle Ages was challenging. Both interpretations of Christianity and Roman Catholicism are closely related; they are traced from Christianity (Scharer 60). After the Western Roman Empire fell in 476, Catholicism was highly praised and became the most powerful, political, and social institution, and it was spread in the entire continent of Europe.
The Concept of Catholicism had no uniform or singular worldview; however, it was effortless to illustrate the general characteristics that formed both renegade and faithful actions attributed to Catholicism (Harmon 880). For instance, O’Connor witnessed the struggles of humanity in this world, and she combined her redemption and the longing of grace with the deep sense of sins committed and imperfection with writing fictional books. She believed that evils existed and the physical world was free from evil since nature was sacramental full of sacred things, which she mysteriously associated with God. She perceived the suffering that Catholics encountered as redemption.
During the times of O’ Connor, all fiction that she wrote was influenced by her catholic upbringing, which has garnered criticism because most of her work sometimes shows a harsh portrayal of Catholicism. The great-grandparents of O’ Connor were the first Catholics in Milledgeville. She frequently attended church services with parents and grandparents, and his entire family became the predominant Protestants of the religion. Although most of her writings and novels are associated with macabre and violence, they are linked to her strong believes and divinity. Most of her characters in almost her writings usually face challenges or harsh conditions that subject them to a moment of crisis that alters their faith and strong beliefs.
In one of her lectures, she addressed the importance of writing catholic books and her desire to write her Catholicism. She did not intend to write any book was it not for her being catholic. She believed, in her case, was the engine that made her write about Catholicism since her writings inextricably originated from her Christian faith and beliefs. The writings were so inspiring and significantly impacted the entire catholic society during the times, shed light on all struggling Catholics, and made her become an extraordinary person. She attempted to formulate a reliable comprehension of Catholicism and her relationship with the religion and other people.
O’Connor brought a regional change and recognized vocation in all three elements, including dying religious, die literary, and die personal, were not inextricably connected but were profoundly catholic. The two schools of thought written by O’Connor, mottled white and black, outlined two stages of emerging self-awareness. She considered them for her re-consideration and consideration, not for publication. In every adolescent fantasy, the countering glimpses of change and ideas of O’Connor become clearer. This is because she tried to showcase an antidote of perfect realism to delusions, small or extraordinary, through an intense analysis of her personal life as a catholic and her most authentic aspirations and sentiments within Catholicism.
In his book “The Church and The Fiction Writer,” She addresses how the church readers, especially the Catholics, were being scandalized and offended by the writings, novels, and books that they did not have the essential equipment and tool to read them, despite being motivation books and works that address the Catholic faith, Christian life, believes, and faith. The book addressed the remaining Orthodox; however, it was confusing from the church readers’ feedback at face value. She addressed the issue of individual faith and argued that an individual would only be afraid of their accurate and honest fictional representation of life when her faith is weaker and not vital to accept reality (Fischer 50). However, O’Connor did not practice or put her ideas in reality and did whatever she preached; she seemed to mislead the people.
Generally, O’Connor, in her work she cherished her ability and freedom to read and write books. Critically, as a native Georgian, O’ Connor seemed to inhabit two different worlds and kept saying that there is no contradiction in such duality. She gave two circumstances to her writings and novels, especially those of being catholic and being Southern. First, the visible Church and Catholicism were not prevalent in her native region since Georgia was full of Protestants. Therefore, she decided to focus on her spiritual and internal elements that formed and comprised her faith and beliefs. This is evidenced in one of her writings, where she argued that she takes the church’s dogmas.
Before 1957, she had addressed one of the nuns through letters the importance of stopping writing fictional novels and writing the significance and essence of Christianity. She realized and attributed that as a layperson, she did not expect anything from herself. Neither did she want people to believe or expect anything from her apart from dark and complex paradoxes and imagination. The Characters of O’Connor are flawed, strange, and often deplorable and comical. Her interests in the absurd and grotesque are the key reasons her fictional writings and imaginations are vivid and readable to date.
According to her, an author’s creativity can be consistently undermined or limited by the environment and content of their contemporary world. For instance, the imaginational world or world of the story is used to derive or follow the author’s worldview. According to her, Catholicism is based on an incarnational perspective since it is grotesque and even concrete, despite being imbued with solid faith and grace (Loustau 15). She did not recognize peace and freedom as literal elements for creating the new world; instead, she viewed it as a choice to look at the planet with the eyes.
During the time of O’Connor, the world was a total mess with miserable life full of suffering, slavery, and fake religions. She was literary surrounded by practical atheism, apartheid, racism, and social tensions. However, she saw recognized that incarnation reality and its fundamental principles were very crucial in this world. She argued that, since God became man, everything changed, and Catholicism should be practiced everywhere. As a catholic writer, O’Connor developed the spiritual concepts and mind of the Catholic Church and made people feel and sense life from the bedrock of the central Christian mystery and suffering. She argues that God formed Christianity, and we are all worth dying for it, and that should illuminate people’s visions rather than darkening them.
She recognized that the world has never been fair and just. Therefore, he unabashed and exposed any form of grotesqueness found within the basic principles, and she revealed the grace at work found in the grotesqueness. Her writings and novels clearly show how she interpreted her world and related it with the dynamics of nature and grace. She presents a mystery in fictional work through nature, grace, and manners which cannot be accounted for by human actions. Generally, she revealed why the grotesque is so exciting, and that’s why God uses it. During her time, the world was a total mess; that motivated her to write fictional stories to encourage people to fight and seek the mystery of grace.
O’Connor’s stories were written during the period when Catholicism was being spread. Despite some being shocking, one can easily find and connect something mysterious lying beneath absurdity and violence. Such stories help discover and appreciate other moments of grace in their environment (Steil and Toniol 6). For instance, during the spread of Catholicism, the Catholics used to look beyond the grotesque and discover the importance of God’s grace and the need to spread the religion.
Loustau, Marc Roscoe. “Introduction: Consumer Contexts and Divine Presences in Hungarian Catholicism.” Journal of Global Catholicism, vol. 4, no. 1. 2020, pp. 6–17. Web.
Sándor, Cecília. “The Interwoven Existences of Official Catholicism and Magical Practice in the Lived Religiosity of a Transylvanian Hungarian Village.” Journal of Global Catholicism, vol. 4, no. 1. 2020, pp. 64–87. Web.
Gentry, Marshall Bruce. “Flannery O’Connor’s Letters and the Editing of Authorial Intent.” 127-134.
Harmon, Thomas P. “Prophecy and Some Catholic Writers: Understanding the Catholic Novelist’s Quasi‐Prophetic Function.” The Heythrop Journal, vol. 62, no. 5. 2021, pp. 876–890. Web.
Scharer, Matthias. “Learning Religion in the Presence of the Other: Mission and Dialogue in World Catholicism.” Journal of Global Catholicism, vol. 2, no. 1. 2017, pp. 52–69. Web.
Sessions, W. A. “Sally and Robert Fitzgerald, Ed.:” Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor”(Book Review).” Studies in Short Fiction 8.3 (2017): 491.
Steil, Carlos Alberto, and Rodrigo Toniol. “Strong Church, Weak Catholicism: Transformations in Brazilian Catholicism.” Journal of Global Catholicism, vol. 5, no. 2. 2021, pp. 4–29. Web.