Flannery O’Connor RIP

“Sentimentality always leads to the gas chamber.” — Flannery O’Connor, who died on this day in 1964

h/t Fr Paul in TX

  • http://fkclinic.blogspot.com tioedong

    I am familiar with the quotation because it is from Walker Percy’s The Thantos Syndrome. A powerful book that predicts today’s world.

    I don’t know if Percy was quoting his fellow Southern Catholic O’Connor because I’m not smart enough to read her stuff.

    • Anthony Nonymous

      I first came across that quotation in the same book you mention, and it struck me as being one of the keys necessary to understanding the ruin that modern so-called thought is making of the world and of human society in particular, though it took me a while to begin to understand what it meant (still can’t paraphrase it satisfactorily, but understand it at some pre-verbal level). I hadn’t known at the time that it came from O’Connor.

      If you’re bright enough to read comic strips (of which O’Connor was a fan), you can read her work handily, and possibly with more direct enjoyment than an academic who comes over-prepared with exegetical apparatus and a series of assumptions as to what a “Southern Catholic woman author” MUST have meant by something. If you feel intimidated by her fiction, I’d suggest getting hold of the collection of her letters, “A Habit of Being,” and reading these: it’s a bona fide solid gold Hoot, because O’Connor was one herself, and it lets you know a little of the mind that was behind all those bizarrely sane (or vice-versa) stories. And once you get into reading them, the only regret you’ll have is that there is only a finite number of them, and there aren’t any more being made. But if you can sympathize with them at all, you’ll find yourself with a more sharply attuned vision of the sacramental in everyday life and in what would have seemed the most unlikely places and situations.

  • Bill Phelan

    Here is a quote of hers from 1961 to a young convert being pressured to rejoin a Protestant congregation: “One of the effects of modern liberal Protestantism is to gradually change religion into poetry and therapy, to banish intellectual distinctions, to rely on feeling rather than thought, and to come to believe that God has no power, He cannot communicate with us, He cannot reveal Himself to us, indeed He has not done so, and religion is our own sweet invention.”


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