Nancy I will read those Levertov poems. I have only read The Golden Notebook.
As harsh as the nuns were on girls, they really attacked boys. I mean drew blood. I've heard this from other lapsed catholics who attended other schools. If you told your parents a nun injured you they thought you must be very bad and punished you again, so you told no one.
A propos of water, have we mentioned the holy water that sits by every church door, with which those entering bless themselves after dipping their fingers in it? And the water in the baptismal font or the water in which full-immerson baptisms are conducted? Diana
From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Fearing death by water
Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2007 16:24:49 -0400
It does derive from Platonism, but the argument can be made--and has been by a wonderful Catholic Church historian friend of mine--that this has been a wrong direction in the Church because it is in contradiction to the Incarnation. Jesus did not deny his body in sacrificing it: he affirmed it in being born into flesh and in suffering as flesh.
I think you would find it interesting to read--if you have not--Denise Levertov's late Catholic poems (she became, in her own words, increasingly orthodox), especially those in BREATHING THE WATER (New Directions, 1987). "On a Theme from Julian's Chapter XX" is about Jesus on the cross and the meaning she sees in his suffering as body.
I am not Catholic; I just read these things and talk with those who are theologians. So my own view is not represented by this statement.
My own view is shame on those Benedictine nuns for cruelty to children.
Dear Carrol, thanks for the information. I was educated by Benedictine nuns and we were certainly taught to regard the body as something to be overcome by denial. And they were happy to help us disrespect our bodies by smacking us with rulers and making us kneel on dry beans as punishment! We were praised for fasting and giving up foods we liked for Lent. If you have been to Italy you have probably witnessed the devout crawling up enormous flights of stairs in churches on their hands and knees. Self-flagellation is practiced by some (remember the scene in The Da Vinci Code?) Jesus set the ultimate example of denying the body when he allowed himself to be crucified when he could have avoided it. It seems to me this descends from Platonic dualism. The spirit/body split. Catholic ascetics are not all Manicheans are they? Diana
>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 08/09/07 3:42 PM >>>