Wednesday, November 27, 2013

J.F. Powers and Radical Catholicism of the 1940s/1950s

I am an echo of the radical Catholicism of the 1940s/1950s.  The influence was through my mother. My mother knew these intellectual currents and spoke of them admirably to me as a child. In particular, she always had great praise for The Catholic Worker Movement and their leader, Dorothy Day.  I had never heard of The Detachers before, but that way of thinking was present in my upbringing and had a hold on me.

See the three book reviews below of the book, Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life: Letters of J.F. Powers, (1942-1963) by J.F. Powers (author) and Katherine Anne Powers (editor). 

Two quotes from the first review:

"the radical-liberal Catholic of the forties and fifties, whose allegiance to the rules of the Church (all those children!) was part and parcel of his allegiance to what would now seem an extravagant, not to say extremist, egalitarian politics."

"The collection of letters reveals that he spent the war years as a conscientious objector, and as a sympathizer with the Detachers—a Catholic movement, never officially approved, but apparently tolerated, that insisted that American materialism and militarism were both evils to be avoided at all costs by good Catholics. The idea of an American Catholicism whose central purpose was to stop the national-security state and the supermarket—in those days, supermarkets were seen as Wal-Mart is now—is alien to us, and Powers’s immersion in the often self-defeating politics of left-Catholic activism, with its glamorized poverty, is fascinating to follow from letter to letter."

The neo-Medievalism is not far-fetched at all nor the ruralism.  My grandfather was a ruralist.

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