Anne Rice Shows the Way

The headlines tell us that author Anne Rice has ‘left Christianity’. An article about it is here. It seems that she cannot be ‘anti-gay’, ‘anti-feminist’, ‘anti-artificial birth control’ and ‘anti-Democrat’. She doesn’t seem to be making a distinction between ‘Christianity’ and ‘Catholicism’. What a pity that Anne hasn’t been able to see past her own deeply rooted liberal bias to see that the Catholic Church is so much bigger than all that palaver.

I can certainly understand the frustration of the graying 1960s liberals. They are seeing all their cherished ideals being ridiculed and dismissed by a new generation of Catholics. Young, enthusiastic Catholics are pro-life, pro family, pro Church. The new wave of Catholics, both in the United States and the developing world simply have no time for the feminist, homosexualist, liberal agenda, and the wave of the future is with them, not with the aging radicals of Anne Rice’s generation.

After reviewing Anne’s books I was in correspondence with her and found her to be thoughtful, courteous and giving. I sent her some questions by email for an interview and she took an enormous amount of time sending me more answers than I required. She spoke frankly about the difficulties she had with the faith regarding homosexuality (she has a homosexual son) and her feminist and political views. However, she seemed at that time to have reconciled her personal difficulties and was able to see that the church’s teachings were not the same as some of the disagreeable personal positions that individuals espoused and expounded. She said she held her own views, but that she accepted Church authority and submitted to it.

Nevertheless, her answers, while satisfying, did indicate a deep unease within her about these three issues: homosexuality, women’s ordination and right wing politics. I felt she was tiptoeing through a minefield in order to please as many people as possible.

Anne Rice is an intelligent and learned woman, but she seems unable to grasp the true depth of her childhood faith. She says the Church is ‘anti-gay’, but Catholicism is conservative in sexual morality not because it is anti-homosexual or against ‘fun’ but because it is pro family and pro marriage. Because we believe in marriage and family life we are against all the things that destroy this precious and delicate opportunity for human happiness. Radical feminism is rejected for the same reasons–because it is the enemy of true human happiness.

As for politics, the idea that you have to be Republican to be Christian is just as silly as thinking that being Democrat is somehow more Christian. You can be a good Christian of either party, but as such you should also be highly critical of both parties.

Anne Rice has struggled between her liberal support for ‘gay rights’, women’s ordination, birth control and abortion and liberalism has won. She’s decided to leave the Catholic Church.

I, for one, am sad to see her go. She’s a talented and intelligent woman, and she seemed to be a great asset to the Church. However, it sounds like she’s being honest, and she really can’t reconcile her liberal views and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Maybe her choice will have far more consequences than she can see. It might be that her example will prompt other  liberals who hold similar views to be honest, and get the courage to leave the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church is not going to budge on women’s ordination and homosexualism because the Catholic Church teaching is not culturally determined (as homosexualism and feminism are) but derived from the revelation locked within the natural order.

It’s sad to see Anne Rice go, but she’s being honest. Perhaps she has shown the way: liberal Catholics should face up to the stark choice: you can’t espouse radical feminism, artificial contraception, abortion and homosexualism and be Catholic.

Liberal Catholics should think about Anne’s choice, then make their choice and act on it.

  • George @ Convert Journal

    A really good piece Father. Anne has the intellectual integrity to say she is not Catholic when she can not accept Catholic beliefs.There are many others who put their liberal beliefs first while professing to be Catholic. They are dishonest with themselves and everyone else.

  • Rachel Gray

    I had the opposite reaction. I suspect Anne Rice of manipulation. Her reversion to Christianity coincided with a big marketing push to Christians to buy her book on the life of Jesus. I remember the ads she ran in First Things and how she made nice with Christian interviewers, and got lots of free publicity in the form of reviews. Now that the book's been out for a while and probably sold most of what it's going to sell, we get her dramatic slap in the face to the crowd she'd wooed and won. Looks like she's done manipulating the Christian market and is back to her more natural audience.I could be wrong, but I think we got played.About homosexuality and the Catholic Church, I hope she's at least considered the notion that encouraging men to embrace homosexual desires and act upon them doesn't do them any favors.

  • shadowlands

    Hey Father D, you probably know this already, but at the Courage Conference 2010 today (day two)your rosary book was apparently used.'s an excerpt of an email received and posted on Terry@abbey roads blog."at 9pm, several of us led the conferees in a beautiful rosary in reparation for the sins most grievous to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but most of all for the sins of those relating to homosexuality and for our continued conversion and growth in compassion. we used the prayers for healing from fr. dwight longenecker's book on the rosary for interior healing. we of course prayed the sorrowful mysteries and it was just amazing. i started the rosary and would also preface each mystery with part of fr. longenecker's reflections for healing written for that mystery, and a different courage member would lead the rest of us through the mystery. then i concluded the rosary with the usual prayers "Just thort I wud share that.

  • Palmetto Papist

    Anne Rice's story shows that it is neither easy to accept or to reject the Catholic faith. Her difficulties are perhaps testimony to the faith, because goodness, truth, and beauty can have the very effect on people that we see here. And let's not forget that faith is a supernatural gift that operates mysteriously in the human soul.I am reminded of Oscar Wilde's attraction to and repulsion from the Catholic faith. His deathbed conversion is a witness to the generosity and mercy of God. Certainly we can hope and pray for Anne Rice, and I, for one, would not be surprised if she were to come to the same end as Wilde.

  • Bad Catholic

    I think that Ms. Rice would make a great Episcopalian. I am sure that the local Episcopal Bishop would make a big show of welcoming her where she is safe from the "bigotry" of the Roman Catholic Church. Also, they need the converts since there are plenty of empty pews over there for her to occupy.

  • Ismael

    I think Ann Rice is pretty confused about what 'Christianity' is…… not surprising really, many are these days.I hope she will find her way.

  • bonnie b.

    Father, thank you for your thoughtful and compassionate view in this media-hyped matter.May I add, as a woman not-that-much-younger than Miss Rice, that you were most discreet and "non-judgmental" in calling attention to her "honesty" rather than pointing out the pride, the arrogance, the utter lack of humility involved in believing — and publicly promoting — that "my will" must be done. My generation long ago confused liberalism with love, for reasons both foggily well-meaning and blatantly self-serving. We women were extraordinarily influential in both this cultural era and this period of the Church — in the same manner as a willful, resentful wife or mother or daughter is, cowing her family with relentless and insatiable demands. What we sought, and have achieved — societal influence and power — does not equate to Good.I am not accusing Miss Rice here . . . I am confessing. Dawning insight into my blinding pride and self-serving actions is enabled by Grace, illuminated by the hidden and obedient life of the Blessed Mother, and informed by the sorrowful repentance of St. Mary Magdalene.There can be no healing and empowering connection to That which Miss Rice seeks — Jesus Christ — when pride is there blocking it. The Lord need not "punish" us for our pride; we punish ourselves by defying the simple Spiritual Law that requires us to empty ourselves (our false selves, that is; pride, envy, greed, anger, lust, sloth, gluttony) to be filled with God. One can defy gravity — we have free will — but one will get hurt.I pray for Miss Rice. She is a Beloved human creature in error, a brilliant mind working against itself, a casualty of the pervasive wrong thinking of a particular era in the Fullness of Time. But the Good Lord isn't finished with her — or any of us — yet!

  • Thomas S

    I really think we should avoid falling into the trap of calling people "liberal Catholics" or "conservative Catholics." Everyone gets the general sense of what those monikers mean, but all they do is lend legitimacy to an illegitimate position. What's the liberal position on the Real Presence? What's the conservative position? It makes it seem like they're two competing camps WITHIN the Church.So let's call "liberal Catholics" what they really are: Modernist Heretics. Modernism empties defined words and concepts of their meaning and fills them back up with radically different meanings. The Modernist hijacks Catholic language in order to maintain a facade of full communion while working to undermine the Church.

  • mrsjekyll

    For all her intellect Anne Rice seems totally confused on what it is to be Catholic, as do a great many other Catholics, either "liberal" or "conservative". I read alot about liberals and how wrong they are but are conservatives any more right when they are intolerant, judgemental, unforgiving and lacking compassion?

  • John Hetman

    In dealing with issues like these, there is something called class that was once more prevalent in our society before psychological regurgitation became popular, if not mandatory. Too bad that it wasn't part of her repertoire in making these rather bald accusations about her Church and its faithful. She may not have gotten noteriety, but she could have held on to respect.

  • Kaylan

    It is sad to see her leave the Church. After her angel book came out, I emailed her because I was so excited that she came back to the Faith. I had read a couple of her vampire books before my own conversion into the Church and was thrilled that she finally made it too. I had given up vampire books (which I told her too) due to my Faith, so it was a warm welcome to see spiritual books from this author. This is very sad news and hopefully she will realize the error of the liberalism which has invaded our culture.

  • mgseamanjr

    Thomas S. is correct. Though you can be sad to see her not in the Church, you can not be sad to see her go since, it seems clear, Anne Rice never really was a Catholic.

  • Tzard

    Thinking of how Man deceives himself and is vulnerable to sin and death. A couple of things come to mind. Taking a stand can be good or bad. If she was continually slipping in faith, taking stock and a stand can at least put a stake in the ground to move from. The bad side is it oftentimes separates oneself from the support one really needs to climb out of the put one's dug for oneself. If it's just that she thinks she's not made sufficient progress, taking a stand can actually prevent further growth. By affixing a label of "Not christian", she loses sight of the goal, of any goal. And remains wallowed in doubt. Without knowing her, it's hard to determine which this is. In any case, her soul and faith was in jeopardy. Whatever we do, it's good hope in God.But is there anything we can do? I wonder if someone from "Courage" could talk to here? What about those new-breed of nuns? Ah yes, and prayer too.The forces of the Evil one are strong and coercive. Even good people can be deceived. (I get confused sometimes) She apparently has been influenced – for whatever reason. However you label it, 60's generation or liberalism or heresy or whatever – it's rooted in the same sin – pride. The fight she has is one I bet many of us have dealt with or are currently dealing with (with varying degrees of success). I pray that she maintains good contact with good support – and can eventually get freed from her doubts.

  • Richard

    Perhaps Anne Rice could be helped to see the Church's position on both homosexuality and women's ordination if she were to be introduced to Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. It's beauty and truth is the medicine we all need in our sexually confused age.

  • Howard

    Anne Rice is an intelligent and learned woman….Maybe. Regardless, she is not more intelligent or learned than Tertullian was. Pride led him to make some rather ridiculous choices, too.On the whole, though, I share the same suspicion as Rachel Gray, that her back-and-forth "conversions", as with many celebrity romances, have been little more than publicity stunts.

  • JM

    Thanks Fr. Helpful post, and I appreciate your assuming the best of her.

  • Augustine

    I think that just like Anne's tried for decades to resist the pull that the Church has in her life and then lived through seemingly uncomfortable decade in her bosom, it won't be too long, and hopefully not too late, when Anne will come back again. And the Church will receive her with open arms, warts and all, yet again.

  • Flexo

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  • Flexo

    a deep unease within her about these three issues: homosexuality, women's ordination and right wing politics . . . it sounds like she's being honest, and she really can't reconcile her liberal views and the teachings of the Catholic ChurchI have no doubt that she is uneasy about these things and is honest about her disagreement. But she is being intellectually dishonest with herself and others if she says that that is the reason she has left.This is not the first time Anne Rice has left the Church. She first left when she was 18 years old, back in 1959 or thereabouts. That was decades before homosexuality, women's ordination and right wing politics were issues. To be sure, it was during the papacy of Pope John XXIII, who is admired and beloved by progressives as the only "good" pope in a long time.Anne Rice, who came of age pre-Vatican II, and who received a pre-Vatican II religious education, has far greater issues with the Catholic faith than homosexuality, women's ordination, the child sex abuse scandal, abortion, the Sr. Margaret affair, etc. Those are excuses that she and others have raised, they are not causes. The cause of her disenchantment with the Catholic Church runs far deeper (and just goes to show that catechesis prior to Vatican II wasn't all it is cracked up to be by traditionalists today).As for who did the most shoving of Rice out the door, obnoxious conservatives saying mean and uncharitable things, or sympathetic progressives who spend far too much of their time bashing the Church to such an extent that no one would ever want anything to do with it — I think the answer is that it is her own progressive friends who essentially forced her out by egging on contempt for the Church and giving people every encouragement to leave.The good thing is that I do think that Rice has an honest and good faith desire for truth, even if she puts up a struggle when she comes upon it. She will not find the answers she is looking for out there in the wilderness. But sometimes people need to wander for 40 years before they are ready for the Promised Land.Meanwhile, we should be ready to welcome her with open arms when she is ready to come home.

  • The Laughing Peasant

    I think Anne Rice's reversion shows how difficult it is for converts, especially when they take or are thrust into a prominent position in or for the Church. It takes such a long time to get Catholicism deep down 'in your bones'. It's not a matter of studying, no matter how intelligent the convert – it's about living with the faith day in day out through all of life's challenges. Especially, it's about remembering your Catholicism at various stages, looking back from middle years to when you were a young Catholic, looking forward to when you will, with God's grace, be an old Catholic. Converts have to telescope all this into a few years. If they also have the stress of being in the public eye, it may be too much.

  • Brian

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  • Steve

    To even bring this up on this blog is spitting into the wind, I realize, but I just want to point out one thing. You, Father, said that the Catholic church opposes same-sex unions because it is "because it is pro family and pro marriage." Funny. Gay people who want the right to marry, and those straight people who support them, are also pro-family and pro-marriage. People (straight or gay) do not get married in order to show how anti-marriage they are. And, believe it or not, Father, a gay couple marrying actually will not cause your own marriage to be dissolved. (Honest. No one will force you to divorce your wife and marry a man.) I fully appreciate that the Catholic church will never bless same-sex marriages. Understood. It would just be nice if the church didn't spend so much time, money, and energy lobbying against civil marriages for any adult, straight or gay, who wants to be joined under the law with an adult partner of his or her choosing. It would be nice, as well, if the church didn't paint all supporters of legalized same-sex marriages as anti-family or anti-marriage. Quite the contrary. We believe all adults should have a legal right to choose their own spouses, rather than having this choice or that choice of consenting adult declared off limits under the law.

  • Fr Longenecker

    Steve, this is the whole point: the reason Catholics are opposed to homosexual unions and I said they are 'pro marriage' is because homosexual unions are not marriage. They are something else. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman. It has been so since the beginning of creation and in every culture everywhere.When I say we are defending marriage we are not just defending our own marriages. We are defending what marriage is, and we fight those who are attempting to redefine marriage and force us to accept their re definition.

  • Author Greg

    Love your firm compassion in congratulating Anne on her decision, and wishing her well in her journey away from the Church. I believe you are correct in noting the tiredness of the sixties views that many now consider a turn in the wrong direction. With the continuing battle in the courts, marked by today's decision to overturn Prop 8, I wonder if we will, in the long run, be able to preserve the concept of marriage, using that word. Perhaps new language will be needed to distinguish a church marriage, a sacrament, from a civil marriage.

  • jayeverett

    Ann Rice is selling books and nothing more. She is not a Catholic and is most likely a member of the Gay group. Remember that all of the things included in the news are exactly what she needs to sell more books. All of the things that she is opposed to are matters of choice. To follow the Catholic faith is a choice. To sin (homosexuality) is also a choice so be careful and choose wisely……

  • Steve

    Any particular reason you deleted your gay marriage post, Father? I'm referring to the one that grew out of this Anne Rice post. The gay marriage post resulted in about 70 comments. Did you decide it was time to just wipe out that entire discussion, as though it never occurred? (Yes, it is your blog, of course. I'm just curious as to your thinking.)

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Catholicism is conservative in sexual morality not because it is anti-homosexual or against 'fun' but because it is pro family and pro marriage. Because we believe in marriage and family life we are against all the things that destroy this precious and delicate opportunity for human happiness. Apparently, Fr. Longnecker, that didn't stop priests from molesting boys and young men (with some committing suicide as a result). That didn't stop bishops from looking the other way when those priests were fornicating. That didn't stop the previous Pope — ostensibly known for his personal holiness, especially on sexual issues — from sweeping the whole problem under the rug.I know you don't condone or excuse such travesties, Fr. Longnecker. But I can never look at the Church's rhetoric about sexuality in the same way every again. That doesn't mean that I support or condone "liberal" or "progressive" ideas on sex. It does mean, however, that the Church has to clean out its "whited sepulchures" in the clergy and hierarchy if anyone is to take it seriously as a moral guide, especially on sexual matters.

  • Red Bane

    Anne Rice returns to the sepulchre of her mind

  • Immaculatae

    Dear Father, I don't think she was ever being honest with the public because she never did stop selling and publishing the downright evil books that made her name familiar. If persons are involved in the occult, even if they renounce those practices and are reconciled to God, I myself do not choose to listen to them because they have ties yet to the evil one. She did not completely break those ties, in that she kept selling the bad books, and so all along I felt she was not to be listened to or trusted. Just my opinion…