Little shop of horrors

Stange, Mary Zeiss

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS WOMEN IN THE FICTION OF ANDREW GREELEY MARY ZEISS STANGE T he setting is a hospital room in Chicago, on a Sunday afternoon in early spring. Seventeen-year-old Noele...

...For while it may be advantageous and amusing to push them around and collect them like jewels or cattle, they are only fully rewarding when they are treated like equals (Happy Are the Meek, p. 182...
...326...
...She responds: "That goes with being a woman...
...to say that the wife clad in panties and martini pitcher is imitating Yahweh's behavior...
...Indeed, much of Greeley's sacramental theology assumes purely affective response on the part of "believers...
...The achievement of this state of affairs, Greeley notes, "should open up vistas of endless pleasure and delight...
...And while the idea of woman as sacrament may not have been fully articulated in Greeley's literary imagination until the late 1970s, he was toying with the notion in a very interesting marriage manual he...
...On the contrary, every sense, every nerve endings every feeling was pushed to a fine point of sensitivity...
...Although Blackie Ryan passingly refers to "woman's viewpoint," the "truth" to which this passage moves reflects an undercurrent which, once one is alert to it, becomes apparent throughout Greeley's fictional and theoretical writings...
...416 And, in their good sex, she will serve as a revelatory agent of God for her husband...
...With luck and, one supposes, grace she will "come out of this experience a stronger and more mature woman...
...Man is the pursuer...
...Creating my women characters...
...This, Blackie...
...And then, as she pleaded for merry, torture, followed instantly It was an experience she Maureen evidently had discovered that Fredo "satisfying" lover (recall Greeley's remarks in his marmjP manual): he knew how "to use her body the way it was intended to be used.'' Like Liz, Maureen finds her salvation in death by violence...
...This is curious, because, as Greeley asserts time and again, he regards himself as a feminist...
...Greeley makes it clear that he sees his fiction, his theology, and his priestly ministry as an interwoven whole...
...He has a right to such confirmation and ought to directly and vigorously demand it" (p...
...The argument of that book is that the church's salvation lies in recovering its sense of the sacramentality of all aspects of human experience...
...Their first tryst is described as follows: Fredo DeLucca was hurting her, deliberately, skillfully, precisely...
...113...
...chastising, "maturing" effect on such Many of Greeley's women characters actually thrive on abuse...
...Similarly, two young women are raped, with no apparent spiritual reward (indeed, in one case the rape leads to suicide) in Greeley's first major novel, The Cardinal Sins...
...Based upon sociological research he has conducted on the readership of his novels, Greeley concludes that such "adversarial" reaction to his comedies of grace is rooted in archconservative Catholicism...
...In the light of such self-declared feminist claims, his treatment of the female characters in the novels needs to be carefully evaluated...
...There is, to take a typical instance, Helen, one of the many mistresses of ex-priest Hugh Donlon in Ascent into Hell...
...woman is the seducer...
...The woman tempts, and the man attacks...
...Father Ace's rejoinder: "This is Passion Sunday . . . suffering goes with being human.'' He goes on to tell her that, while she will recover, she will never be the same...
...Violence directed toward women plays a prominent role in Greeley's "comedies of grace" from the beginning...
...Take, for example, the yearly blessing of automobiles, where it once was the custom to distribute St...
...Anything can become a sacrament in this scheme of things...
...Reflecting upon her ordeal, her cousin Father Blackie Ryan, Greeley's model of the "Catholic priesthood at its best," agrees with her fiance' Nick that it was a shame that Cathy had to suffer so much...
...If Blackie Ryan were to philosophize on this, perhaps he might observe that women are not only more fully rewarding when treated like equals, it may even help if they've been battered a bit...
...We have seen that for Greeley woman is a special revelatory agent of God for man...
...But that explanation is perhaps too easy...
...The sacramental message underlying stories like these seems to be that, while women may know they ought not to enjoy sexual violence directed toward them, they cannot help themselves, insatiable creatures that they are...
...Some of the extensive narrative description follows: The foul, unseen hands began to violate her body, pinching her flesh with savage, cruel twists, then tickling her lasciviously so that she screamed and laughed uncontrollably at the same time...
...He kept her suspended over the valley of suffering and joy, moving her gently back and forth from one side of the valley to the other...
...And so sexual violence functions as a via purgativa, a way of purgation for them...
...Even woman...
...He took her brutally...
...Greeley and Durkin define "sacrament" in the broadest 413 possible terms, as "whatever discloses grace to us," with special emphasis on "water, fire, food, drink, sex" (p...
...Early on in How to Save the Catholic Church, Greeley asserts that women are "sacraments revelatory agents of the womanliness of God for their men" (p...
...her awareness became even keener and her body raced desperately toward grotesque pleasure and release...
...Precisely why they should lack such courage is unclear, especially given the fact that what essentially characterizes women, in Greeley's view, is their unbounded sexual appetite: he devotes an entire chapter to the "sexually insatiable woman" (a discussion buttressed by teasing hints as to the scientific verifiability of woman's sexual insatiability...
...For one thing, he is certainly right about the appropriateness of the narrative mode to pastoral, as well as theological, activity...
...Always have been, I guess.'' This makes him the perfect lover for Maureen, who is also involved with a sadistic Mafioso named Alfredo...
...Its heroine, Anne Reilly, is plagued by recurring episodes of extremely violent abuse...
...T o fully comprehend the way Greeley is theologizing in his novels, it is helpful first to consider the "theological trajectory" as it takes shape in his recent non-fiction works...
...His notion of a "negative" sacrament can only be construed to mean that the scenes of sexual violence and exploitation in the books are meant to be read as sacramental occasions of "grace...
...Indeed, as he puts it in his sociological study Angry Catholic Women, he is a Feminist, in contrast to the unabashedly moderate, if not downright timid, small-f "feminist'' as the term functions in that study...
...Greeley repeatedly asserts that his novels are his most priestly work...
...Another of Greeley's bad girls, Maureen in The Cardinal Sins, is among other things the cardinal's mistress...
...Thus, the perpetrator of the vicious torture session which leaves the saintly Lisa Malone comatose and near death throughout Happy Are the Clean of Heart, turns out to be a worn-out militant feminist and closet lesbian, who attempted to kill the vivacious Lisa out of jealousy for her beauty and talent...
...A curious path indeed, given the ground it covers...
...They did not let her hold her spirit or mind aloof was forced to cooperate men- enjoy the at the same e depths of This' 'agony and ecstasy" approach to women's experience of sexual violence is simply Greeley's idea of women's sexual fantasies writ large...
...Augustine and Jerome are replaced by Masters and Johnson, and his sexual imagery recalls less the Song of Songs than it does The Total Woman...
...Much of the criticism of his novels is simply sensationalistic, abounding in terms like "sleazy," "trashy," "steamy," and so on...
...To illustrate this, Greeley recounts his "sacramental" encounter with a young mother on a Chicago Transit Authority bus...
...As Greeley has himself remarked, his publisher early on told him that the successful novel is a blend of violence and hope...
...The obscene hands, however, would not permit her that, either...
...And, in Greeley's analysis, a husband succeeds in being truly a man (that is, a "successful lover") when he arouses his woman to the extent that she "habitually wants him more than he wants her...
...Greeley does not directly address this question...
...Remarking that the "Grail quest'' for men "is a quest to discover the tender God revealed in their own self, to discover their own tenderness and the Divine tenderness as sacraments of one another," Greeley explains that he experiences his women characters as aspects of his anima...
...This is hardly a new suggestion in his theoretical writings...
...He offers them a view of women and sexuality which in the final analysis is absolutely unconscionable, and he does it in the name of both theology and feminism...
...His failure to make such demands will, of course, result in the dissatisfaction of his sexually insatiable wife...
...As the cardinal remarks about himself (this to Ellen, a childhood friend whom he has just nearly raped): "I'm kinky...
...Of course, this is the stuff that commercial fiction is made of...
...The women involved, if they are basically good women, wind up "more mature" and thereby more attractive to the "tender" men who will take care of them...
...In addition to the virgin rapes already mentioned, there are attacks on more sexually experienced women one of whom, a married ex-nun, at the moment of her violation cries out "give me absolution . . . please" (Ascent into Hell, 403...
...Indeed, if she only has the martini pitcher, she is imitating him even more appropriately, because then both her surprise and her gift are total, just as Yahweh's gift and surprise were total...
...And they often argue that a Catholic priest simply has no business writing books about sex, especially sex of the "steamy" sort...
...Yet he does claim sacramental status for their behavior, bad as well as good...
...Greeley's sacra-mentality is strictly heterosexual...
...If the context has changed, the fundamental pattern remains the same...
...So, too, is it for Cathy Collins, the hapless heroine of another Greeley novel, Virgin and Martyr...
...On the face of it, this is provocative, and all to the good...
...Greeley places his fiction writing firmly within the context of narrative theology as it has developed over the last decade, especially in the writings of his friends David Tracy and John Shea...
...Indeed, for Greeley the novels perform a function precisely analogous to that of the cathedral window: they provide a cast of characters in '' stories of God's love...
...And he cites precedents for such priestly activity...
...After all, in telling sacred stories in secular form, he is merely doing (he admits, with perhaps rather less skill) what Jesus did in his parables, and the Gospel writers in their narratives: depicting the working-out of salvation history in the lives of ordinary sinners...
...And in the "Disclaimer" opening Lord of the Dance he says, "I do not necessarily approve of the moral behavior of my creatures...
...She "cheerfully" brushes off the incident, and goes about arousing him to further sexual activity, after which ' 'he covered her violated body with kisses as she purred contentedly" (p...
...Hell for woman was endless rape...
...Nor was she permitted the luxury of losing consciousness...
...The Blackie Ryan mystery stories, a projected series of detective novels, is based upon the Beatitudes...
...Violence against women, always present in Greeley's novels, has increased dramatically in the more recent ones...
...Indeed, he laments that such reasonable commentary on his work is so rare...
...His women characters who have normal or healthy sex lives tend to speak about sex in similarly ambivalent terms...
...Key among these is How to Save the Catholic Church, the book he co-authored in 1984 with his sister, Mary G. Durkin...
...Women exist, "sacrameritally" or otherwise, to be "rewarding" to men...
...She screamed...
...It is the responsibility of the critic to examine this Greeley, the one who exists on paper...
...This is especially the case with feminist critiques of his writings...
...Fredo chuckled again...
...After years of brutalization at the hands of a sadistic mother superior, a lecherous old priest, and a sexually depraved ex-priest husband, Cathy goes to the Latin American dictatorship of Costaguana to do missionary work under the direction of a psychotic visionary priest, who desires not her body but her considerable wealth...
...In addition, there is in the novels a tendency for women, especially "liberated women," to brutalize each other...
...Where sacramentality leaves off and sentimentality begins is unclear...
...It is hardly surprising that rape is an important element in several of Greeley's "comedies of grace...
...When she is finally driven, out of "love," to kill her abusive father, the wise Father Blackie remarks that, alas, she will be scarred for life, suffering "enormous and permanent psychological handicaps...
...This priest sells her into captivity to the demented dictator, by whose henchmen she is repeatedly tortured and gang-raped...
...Greeley contends that his central aims in the novels are to portray the sacramentality of human sexuality, and the feminine dimension ("womanliness") of God...
...It is reasonable, then, to expect Blackie Ryan to be the Feminist par excellence...
...Women cannot be sacraments for each other...
...There is much nostalgia in this book (as in the novels) for the good old ethnic Catholic spirituality of Miraculous Medals and Novenas and May Crownings and Midnight Masses...
...He dismisses his critics readily, and summarily...
...In Andrew Greeley's fictional universe, while suffering may go with being human, it more especially goes with being female...
...However, if one looks at the novels, the answer apparently is no...
...Then her fantasies move, boldly, in a different direction...
...In his autobiography, Greeley remarks that the priest is, at least potentially, "the most fascinating man in the world," owing to his "freedom for more total commitment" than the married man, bonded sexually to a woman, can enjoy...
...Whether these are due to her own psychosis or to demonic possession is deliberately left unclear by Greeley...
...Perhaps it is better yet (following Greeley's "design-your-own-patron-saint" line of sacramental reasoning) to create new stories, fictions more relevant to contemporary experience...
...417...
...The happy marriage must therefore be based upon the woman's sexual desire for her man...
...That this view of women is self-consciously and explicitly presented as a logical growth of a Catholic sacramental theology applied to sexuality, and as a theologically informed expression of feminism, is disturbing, to say the least...
...He is also the character who, Greeley remarks in his prefatory note, "occasionally" speaks with the novelist's own voice...
...In a world where sexual degradation can be assumed to be "exciting" and potentially "satisfying" for women, the meaning of rape as "occasion of grace" takes on frightening dimensions...
...Amused by her reactions, he chuckled softly...
...Back in his room he sobbed in disgust and self-hatred and murmured an act of contrition (p...
...So, also, has the role of Father Ryan, the representative of the priesthood at its best...
...Every imaginable obscene thing that hands can do to a woman's body were [sic] done to her time after time, until she was worn out with humiliation and pain and yearned to die...
...Commercial storytelling thus becomes, as Greeley remarks in the afterword to The Cardinal Sins, "as appropriate for a priest today as making a stained glass window was for priests in an earlier age...
...The heat of his passion cooled, Hugh begs forgiveness for being rather too rough with her...
...continues, "amounts to a defense of the crooked lines of God...
...However, lest we think it was an advance for her to move beyond that sexual orientation, Greeley makes it clear that afterward Liz wavered between frigidity and sexual wantonness (including an affair with her husband's unscrupulous brother, Paul), and she was only marginally sane in any event...
...For example, as the demon-raped Anne herself remarks, torture in a Latin-American prison was the price that Virgin and Martyr's Cathy Collins had to pay to win the love of her husband Nick (see Angels of September, p. 70...
...He explains his work and himself incessantly...
...This is posed as a theological, not a psychological, question...
...It is not rendered less disturbing by the facts that Greeley's novels enjoy immense popularity among a largely female readership, and they are beginning to enjoy favorable commentary by women scholars who are comfortable within the confines of patriarchal categories of interpretation...
...In Happy Are the Meek, teenaged Laurel had been a victim of repeated acts of incest as a child...
...Yet, if Greeley is guilty of stereotyping his hostile reviewers as Latin-chanting Tridentine Catholics, sexually hung-up non-believers, and also (of whom more presently) bitchy, man-hating feminists, it is no doubt in part because many reviewers have similarly caricatured him as the maladjusted money-grabbing priest with a dirty little mind...
...Such spirituality, Greeley and Durkin suggest, might be made more relevant...
...This claim is called into question by the fact that, at least by his own account, he is typically well-reviewed in America, while his books have been blasted by critics writing in Commonweal and the National Catholic Reporter...
...Critics consistently complain that he makes much more money than any priest should...
...This Greeley influences millions and takes pride in doing so...
...We have to learn to live with being raped and things like that...
...Liz represents a bad girl, whose salvation comes only in her death, which occurs in a plane crash on an illicit vacation Liz and Paul had planned...
...The other point on which Greeley deserves some defense has to do with the bulk of the negative criticism that has been directed toward his fictional works...
...Of course, a critic is usually six months behind Greeley's latest output...
...Seventeen-year-old Noele Farrell, the heroine of Father Andrew Greeley's Lord of the Dance, lies bedridden, having been beaten, raped, and sodomized by three Mafia thugs, while her boyfriend was forced helplessly to watch...
...This idea, hinted at obliquely in a number of novels, is the central theme of Greeley's Angels of September...
...No cause for sadness here, however: in this "comedy of grace" Liz's unfortunate death opens the way for Hugh to marry Maria, a good girl and the true love of his life...
...Nonetheless, it should be possible to distinguish a private Father Greeley, known to God, his friends, and his own self-examining spirit and, like all of us, never adequately summed up in even the hugest body of work from the public Greeley who is encountered in his published fiction and non-fiction, in his theories and images...
...It seems ideology had ruined sex for her...
...women whose insatiable and violence-tinged sexuality echoes ancient patriarchal stereotypes...
...He complains, with some evident justification, that many of his most vitriolic critics have never read any of his novels...
...As drunkenly expressed by the beleaguered Irene in Lord of the Dance, the priest is "someone who can love you without having to screw you...
...While one can raise artistic objections of this sort to some of Greeley's portrayals, the larger concern is the view of women in general of which his battered women are but the most dramatic symptom: women as instruments and "revelations" in men's stories rather than subjects of their own...
...And one of the other prime suspects in that detective story is a highly unattractive man-hating nun, who enthusiastically joins other members of her commune in using physical violence against young women who need to have their consciousness raised...
...Noele receives a visit from kindly Father Ace McNamara, a psychologist by training and the model of the "good priest" in this novel...
...The narrative of his exploits is loaded with such passages as the following: 415 "Bastard," she said with a snarl...
...Can she function thus sacramentally for another woman...
...He doesn't necessarily agree, but he allows that' 'criticisms of that variety are proper, fair, and reasonable, and deserve to be taken seriously" (Confessions of a Parish Priest, p. 188...
...Perhaps most tellingly, while several of Greeley's male characters (most notably Blackie Ryan) refer to God as a she (as 414 does Greeley in his autobiography, Confessions of Parish Priest), all of the female characters in the novels refer to God, and presumably experience God, as a male...
...Prior to her adoption of liberal ideology, Liz had "reveled" in being used "as if she were a harem slave...
...Putting the emphasis on the violence suffered by women in Greeley's fiction may be misconstrued, however, if it distracts from a larger point...
...for us: It is no exaggeration...
...His aim, as he remarks in How to Save the Catholic Church, is to reunite the two "trajectories" of theological reflection and 412 imaginative narrative which have, over the centuries, diverged to the point where they are radically disjoined...
...And Greeley is at pains to assert that his characters and the stories' plot lines are scripturally rooted...
...The attacks culminate in her experience of being raped by a succession of demons...
...or will I surprise him with my plan to trap him in his work in the library when I approach him wearing only panties and a martini pitcher or maybe only the martini pitcher...
...This is what hell is like for women, she thought sexual degradation that never ends, always exciting you and never satisfying (Greeley's italics, p. 339...
...Here, however, is a typical taste of Blackie's Ryan's philosophy of women: Men have oppressed women in every society the world has ever known, a situation that is thoroughly unsatisfactory from a woman's viewpoint...
...Greeley rightly points out that such knee-jerk responses to his novels do suggest a Catholic hierarchy and laity which has considerable problems when it comes to dealing with sexuality...
...Obviously this is unfair to some of his negative reviewers, and an oversimplification of the critical issues involved...
...Three of the novels, for example, form a "Passover Trilogy": each is provided with an explanatory note linking it to, respectively, Holy Thursday (Thy Brother's Wife), Good Friday (Ascent into Hell), and Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday (Lord of the Dance...
...Father Andrew Greeley's "feminism" is thus related to his fiction writing...
...Ultimately, though, when it comes to criticism directed against his novels, Andrew Greeley is hardly more sinned against than sinning...
...Through purgatorial suffering, women earn the privilege of being sacraments for their men...
...It is clear that in this area, Andrew Greeley deserves a critical response far more substantial than he has thus far received...
...She is gunned down by one of Fredo's henchmen and dies, madonna-like, having whispered an act of contrition, with the cardinal kneeling in tears beside her hospital bed...
...Her articles have appeared in The Journal of Religious Studies, Dragonflies, The North Dakota Quarterly, and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion...
...In this regard, it is not what Greeley is doing, but how he is doing it, that demands examination...
...Of course, the occasional man-hating feminist aside, that is also where most of their abuse comes from W ith regard to the saints' stories of Catho- lie spirituality, Greeley has remarked: "If one views them not as doctrines to be insisted upon but as narratives re- sponding to religious experience, stirring religious imagination, and imparting religious meaning, then there is a good case for bringing them back'' (How to Save the Catholic Church, p. xix...
...What does distinguish Father Andrew Greeley from his peers on the bestseller lists, however, is his claim that his stories are "comedies of grace," which function sacramen-tally to disclose the hand of God in human lives...
...As he expected, she loved it...
...a woman who loves you knows she runs the risk...
...The husband's ability to make his wife's body'' writhe in joy'' give ' 'unmistakable confirmation of his powers as a man...
...Greeley doubly perverts the goals of the women's movement by first reducing it to the "man-hating, quasi-lesbian" stereotype, then co-opting what he calls feminism for his own uses...
...wrote in 1973, called Sexual Intimacy...
...Such tenderness as Greeley's women characters receive, they almost universally receive from men...
...Despite his continual claims that he is aiming to reflect a new, indeed revolutionary, Catholic sexual sensibility, it is abundantly clear from such passages as these that much of what Andrew Greeley is doing is perpetuating, and even claiming sacramental status for, the traditional patriarchal stereotypes of female sexuality...
...But grace for whom...
...The smile of this "Madonna"alters his hitherto gloomy mood, and "life takes on meaning and purpose once more, for in a world where that sort of smile is possible, there simply must be meaning and purpose.'' Greeley goes on to say that the smile, as sacrament, is "totally gratuitous, i.e., gracious, i.e., graceful, i. e., grace.'' That the logic of this progression might be questionable is not, of course, a relevant criticism as far as Greeley is concerned, because the image works, as ought all sacraments, on an emotional level...
...Alas, his prescribed cure amounts to nothing less than a newly adapted strain of the age-old disease...
...Greeley's language speaks for itself here...
...Greeley himself acknowledges the criticisms that his stories contain "too much violence" and that his "women .. .absorb rather too much pushing around...
...She reveled in the experience of pain and pleasure, enjoying the sharp stab of agony that repeatedly leapt through her body...
...Greeley explains, in the same confessional context as the above remarks, that ' 'just as we are sacraments of God and reveal what he is like, so the characters in a novel are sacraments of the storyteller (negative in his bad people, positive in his good people...
...He therefore can exercise more sensitivity toward and.understand-ing of women than can their husbands...
...The important thing for Anne is that, like Greeley's other "good" women, she achieves salvation, sexual and spiritual, through marriage to a good man...
...Confessions of a Parish Priest, p. 327...
...He further charges that among those negative critics who have read one or more of the books, the most caustic and condemnatory commentary has tended to appear in Catholic publications which are moderate to right-of-center in their theological orientation...
...Greeley affords himself of every opportunity to castigate feminist reviewers, and feminist characters in his stories as well, using characteristic phrases like "man-hating, quasi-lesbian'' and' 'brittle, bitchy feminist'' to describe these women (see, for example, his remarks in the introductory chapter of The Mary Myth, his book on the "womanliness" of God...
...Also significant, in the light of the deeply rooted pattern of seduction and attack, is the fact that none of the male characters in Greeley's novels is subjected to physical or emotional violence in any way comparable to that routinely undergone by his central female characters...
...Like Hugh Donlon, Patrick Cardinal Donahue has a liking for abusive sex...
...We know she was saved because it turns out that she had decided to end the affair and to come home, repentant, to Hugh after all...
...they are what God most wants him to do...
...In the "Note'' prefacing Ascent into Hell, Greeley the storyteller observes that "like God, I refuse to assume responsibility for the moral behavior of my creatures...
...Was the demon-rape for real, or was it all in Anne's head, a result of guilt brought on by an overly strict Catholic upbringing...
...has forced me to face the nurturing aspect of my own personality and of my own experience with women and to try to integrate that dimension more fully in my life and in my religious faith...
...One reason it may be so rare is the fatal weakness both Greeley and his critics tend to have for ad hominem attacks...
...Not all the rape victims in Greeley's stories fare so well...
...If this is the case, she must inform her husband that, so far, he is a failure as a lover (i.e., he is not sufficiently demanding), and that "it is time that he begin to use her body the way it was intended to be used" (p...
...Hugh had become a womanizer at roughly the same time his wife Liz, an ex-nun, had become a Marxist feminist...
...113...
...A curious path to grace...
...Abuse of women and rape itself can be legitimate subjects for fictional portrayal, although their treatment in much commercial literature is clearly manipulative and trivializing...
...The narrative continues: One by one, unseen demons entered her and debased her, harshly and brutally using her for their pleasure...
...This is the alternative to the "bad" woman's salvation through death by violence...
...However, he says, "a tortured and adult Cathy is better than an untortured and juvenile Cathy...
...Two things must be remarked in defense of Greeley's argument about his priestly storytelling...
...It was a major theme in The Mary Myth, where he dealt with woman as "limit-experience" for man...
...That Andrew Greeley has clearly taken this counsel to heart makes him little different, as a novelist, from those other writers whose bestsellers are advertised, along with his, in the paperback editions of his novels: Jackie Collins, Sidney Sheldon, Judith Krantz...
...They forced her body to the brink of satisfaction, then retreated, only to return again and make her suffer more...
...Does the nurturing side of a man's personality need to be raped, tortured, and in various other ways demeaned and degraded in order to become more fully integrated...
...It is certainly worth remarking that all of the aforementioned rape victims are virgins: young, beautiful virgins...
...327...
...Christopher medals...
...As to negative criticism from non-Catholic reviewers, Greeley attributes it to their being ' 'non-believers'' who are incapable, either through their ignorance or psychological predisposition, of grasping the theological point he wants to make...
...With a nod to John Shea's idea that the capacity for surprise is central to religious conviction, Greeley interprets this little fantasy (or parable...
...This violence is very much there, as it is in much popular fiction, including the so-called "bodice-rippers" written specifically for women...
...101-102...
...For Noele, who by the end of the novel less than a hundred pages later appears to have recovered totally from her trauma, rape is evidently a growth-experience...
...He seldom avails himself of the strategies that many authors and scholars use to distance themselves from their work...
...Indeed, "the proper goal of feminism," Greeley remarks in his autobiography, "is not that women become more macho but that men become more tender" (p...
...159...
...100...
...Father Blackie Ryan suggests that we shall never know for sure...
...Blackie Ryan smiles approvingly upon Anne's marriage to a man who will keep her sexually satisfied, that is he will save her from herself...
...childish Cathy, as for the child-woman Noele, rape is a rite of initiation into spiritual maturity...
...Indeed, the depiction of human sexuality in Greeley's novels is especially insidious precisely because of his apparent advance beyond the overt repression of women sanctioned by the early Church Fathers...
...Of course, Greeley goes on to remark, it is "undoubtedly true" that "precious few wives will ever work up the courage to create such a surprise" (pp...
...The theme of The Cardinal Sins, naturally, is the portrayal of the "seven disorderly propensities in our personality that lead us to sinful behavior" ("A Note about the Cardinal Sins...
...In it he describes the fantasies of two loves making later in do it to her: what might be his manner of approach, how should she respond...
...Anne's salvation will be assured through his using her body the way it was intended to be used...
...Now that the Vatican has un-sainted Christopher, this might afford the opportunity to "design your own patron saint of automobiles," and it "could be an occasion for a powerful sacramental lesson on the dangers of drunken driving'' (p...
...The fundamental insights of narrative theology are at this point familiar enough that few would argue as to their importance...
...The hands and fingers continued to squeeze, hurt, degrade...
...For the MARY ZEISS STANGE is an assistant professor of English at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska...
...This seems to be one such occasion...
...Recognizing Node's need for counseling, Father Ace tells her there will be some "tough times" ahead...
...After an especially violent bout of lovemaking, with "a rivulet of blood running down her breast," Helen remarks, "You're a violent man, Hugh...
...Then the pain crossed the threshold of tolerability...
...The truth is that any criticism of an author like Greeley, even when it sticks scrupulously to his texts, is apt to be seen as cutting close to the person...
...In Happy Are the Meek, another married victim who over the years has been repeatedly beaten and raped by her loutish husband, without .....probablyly not a good sexual partner for him...
...Feminism, in short, exists to make women more rewarding to men...
...Indeed, as the authors reasonably put forth, such a recovery of the "Catholic sensibility" might produce much healthier attitudes toward sexuality and a more positive appreciation of the body in harmony with, rather than opposed to, the spirit...
...Ironically, the very success of Greeley's novels bears out his thesis that Catholicism, and more broadly institutional Christianity at large, have difficulty dealing with sexuality...

Vol. 114 • July 1987 • No. 13


 
Developed by
Kanda Sofware
  Kanda Software, Inc.