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Friday, 17 July 2009

Catholicism For Sinners

The news that the Vatican has accepted Oscar Wilde as a great 19th century thinker means his once-paradoxical title of Saint Oscar may one day be less ironic than all that. Wilde, on his deathbed, had time to complain about the wallpaper, and also raise his hand to accept entrance into The Church, an act alluded to at the end of Brideshead Revisted, that other supremely aesthetic achievement. Wilde saw the great beauty of Catholic ritual - Mass is one of the finest things a person can do, especially someone not talented enough to perform in Rigoletto. I agree with Wilde - sinners and saints do congregate meaningfully in a Church that comprehends the depths and heights of the human condition (the gutter and the stars). Wilde was a subtle extremist, how saw the pathos and passion in love and desire. His stories for children are the most moving in the English language, and utterly Christian. It is a great day for religious complexity when a mind as ambiguous and profoundly shallow, and utterly deep, as Wilde's, can be valued by the Vatican.
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