E'en Though It Be a Cross

Unbelievers, Flannery O'Connor remarked, think that faith for be- Hevers is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the Cross. William Buckley, regretting at the outset of his book that he is unable to convey a sense of his own personal struggle with Catholic Christianity, pleads simply that "there is no sufficient story there to tell." Originally commissioned to write a book entitled "Why I Am Still A Catholic," he later concluded that this would imply that "to continue as a Catholic is in some way remarkable, as in 'Why I Am Still A Whig.'" Yet, though his own faith has seemingly never wavered, Mr. Buckley is nonetheless aware —how many Catholics are not? —that to remain a Catholic in anno Domini 1997 is in fact miraculous, a tiny part of the infinitely greater miracle that there remains, after two millennia, a Church in which Catholics can still remain. While adamant in belief, Buckley is keenly sensitive to the existence of doubts and difficulties engendered by the modern secularist age, and also to the troubling human contradictions inherent in an institution that is human and historical in nature, as well as divine. Eschewing the role of devil's advocate, he adopts a tone of humility consistent with the precept, "There, but for the grace of Cod, go I." It is much harder, O'Connor insisted, to believe than not to believe. Her words might serve as a gloss...

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