Suddenly in the basket of books in the bathroom there has appeared The Vintage Mencken, which I think was handed down to my husband from his grandfather(?)
Since there’s been some talk of the virtues of the Catholic faith and the Catholic liturgy around the blogs I read, here’s an interesting quote from Mencken. He offends me often, so if this offends you, join the club. I quite understood where he was coming from, and in the spirit of the quotation, I offer no further gloss:
The Latin Church, which I constantly find myself admiring, despite its frequent astoumding imbecilities, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. It is accused by Protestant dervishes of withholding the Bible from the people. To some extent this is true; to the same extent the church is wise; again to the same extent the church is prosperous. Its toying with ideas, in the main, have been confined to its clergy, and they have commonly reduced the business to a harmless play of technicalities–the awful concepts of Heaven and Hell brought down to the level of a dispute of doctors in long gowns, eager only to dazzle other doctors. Its greatest theologians remain unknown to 99% of its adherents. Rome, indeed, has not only preserved the original poetry in Christianity; it has also made capital additions to that poetry–for example, the poetry of the saints, of Mary, and of the liturgy itself. A solemn high mass must be a thousand times as impressive, to a man with any genuine religious sense in him, as the most powerful sermon ever roared under the big-top by a Presbyterian auctioneer of God. In the face of such overwhelming beauty it is not necessary to belabor the faithful with logic; they are better convinced by letting them alone.