Aug 6, 2006

Why Write?

Is one of the questions proposed on a new message board for Traditionalist Catholic writers at Collegium Scriptorum Catholicae. Participants must register for access and are encouraged to provide help and receive help in writing fiction. Most of the writers apparently attend SSPX chapels and indult Masses. I was invited to join because of my preliminary 'science fiction' in eight posts to predict the future of Catholicism over the next 90+ years.

One of their discussion boards looks at "Where Has Writing Brought You?" Various answers were presented on why these Catholic authors write:
  • Delving into all kinds of subjects, such as languages and cultures and countries
  • Learning to love the study of philosophy and ethics
  • Deepening an appreciation for the Catholic religion, and for the field of apologetics
  • An obligation to share with others the truths I have been shown
  • An obligation to self, so the author grows with his work
My own answer is based on the experience of a little (very tiny!) old nun who died over 20 years ago. When she had to retire from active teaching, she became the librarian at the Catholic grade school. She took her responsibility seriously and in her seventies attended a college class on library science.

One day Sister asked me what kind of rationale should she use to recommend specific library books to children. She was clearly concerned by failing one question on a test. The instructor marked her test answer as wrong and said the correct answer was that a librarian should push books that students will enjoy and which will teach them something about a secular subject.

I remember vividly when the old nun looked at me (somewhat sorrowfully) and asked whether she was wrong in her test answer to recommend books to her students that deepened the Catholic faith and taught good moral habits--such as courage and self-sacrifice. I responded that her answer was the right one and that her instructor was wrong. [Even a wonderful and holy old nun who kept and taught the faith and wore a complete habit needed confirmation of her beliefs in the turbulent 1970s.]

So, why should a Catholic author write? The answer is the same as from the old nun who advised children on the best books to read in the school library. A Catholic author should write to deepen the Catholic faith and teach his readers good moral habits. The best writers make their fiction interesting and entertaining as well, but that is not too difficult because good opposing evil is always an exciting story. Adding Catholic historical and other information is a further plus for both the author and the reader.


Curmudgeon said...

I'm impressed. They have no interest in my.

Dust I Am said...

"my" what? I'm confused, or do you intend for me to be more confused than I normally am?

Curmudgeon said...

They have no interest in me. Sorry for the typo. Maybe that's why they have no interest in me.