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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Anne Rice Comes Home

I've been watching this closely. I used to read ALL of Anne Rice's stuff...even the stuff she wrote under her other name. I no longer own those books. The writing was fine...but the content was actually just another facet of my sinful lifestyle and attitudes of the time.

I did especially love "Cry to Heaven" due to the vivid descriptions of life surrounding the operas, of the streets of Italy, of the culture, the often I could almost hear the music. Beautifully written, captivating...but I digress. I did not love the flambouyant homosexuality woven throughout that book and most of her others, and while it disturbed me, I have to say that since I was surrounding by liberal Minneapolis "gay pride", it was somewhere along the lines of an itch I just couldn't reach. So I ignored it.

Finally, though I had to stop reading.

I was happy to read that Ms. Rice is coming home and is done with her "goth" work. As I've moved on, so have likely many readers, and we are happy to see this turn of events in her life. I do hope she does our Lord and Savior justice in this difficult and speculative topic regarding his unknown early life.

There are a few things that concern me, however...her use of the gnostic gospels, for one, and some of her "not quite home yet" attitudes.

I will get to that, but I would like to discuss her conversion a bit--that which she revealed a little.

Rice's new burst of creativity stems from her return to Roman Catholicism -- though she seems a most unlikely recruit. Leaving aside those past novels (the more erotic ones appeared under pseudonyms), she quit church as a teen and never looked back for decades. Her late husband was a convinced atheist; her son is a gay activist

Something similar happened to me. I had been experiencing writer's block, and then I rediscovered my faith...and all the projects I had been working on fell flat. Those that did not found a new "Genesis" with the addition of spiritual/ predominantly Catholic themes. I never "quit church" so much as "stopped going", in a similar manner of that mused by the character in "Office Space". I just decided "not to go anyomore" but I really didn't want to "quit".

But some critics thought her vampires' angst reflected the author's spiritual restlessness

I always thought the same thing and I think that Ms. Rice's work unwittingly helped me to identify some of my own spiritual longings and realize that I really did still believe and needed to return to my faith. I needed and really did believe in God and salvation. (Incidentally, I have to say that Memnoch the Devil offended my sensibilities somewhat).

Going back to the initial quote, I am not surprised to learn that Ms. Rice's (Stan, was it? God rest his soul) late husband was an athiest and her son is a gay activist. Clearly, she remains conflicted about her own return to her faith and the fate of her son. No mother wants to believe that her progeny are on a road to Hell paved by rainbow flags, and rather than to submit to God's authority on this, she is seeking reconciliation on behalf of her son.

"I'll do my best on the unresolved questions." Among these are her church's ban on women priests and opposition to gay sex. She's convinced both will vanish eventually.

I have to openly admit I understand Ms. Rice's concern with this, both due to her own background and that of her son's. Many women do not understand why women cannot be ordained. I would actually direct Ms. Rice to observe those who are attempting this and to note that those women are seeking power, not to serve. They are disobedient, not emulating the humility of Jesus or his Blessed Mother. Regarding opposition to gay sex, I would direct Ms. Rice to "Theology of the Body" by JPII or to Christopher West's simplified explanations of this great work. I am sure her eyes would be opened if she read it in detail and with an open mind.

Although, I have to say that if I were in her shoes I would be fearful of reading such a work. What if he is right? What if my son is wrong? What an agonizing position to be in. The Rock and a hard place, quite literally. My heart goes out to this woman, facing such a struggle. We can only place her and her family in the Lord's care and have confidance that he will overcome this great spiritual battle for her.

In returning to one of my opening concerns, I do worry a bit about Ms. Rice's dissenting opinions on Church teaching, and pray that they will not appear in her new line of work. She will quickly lose the majority of the faithful who may turn to her work if she goes off that very deep end. She really has an opportunity here, and hopefully a very blessed opportunity. I do look forward to reading her new work and hope that I will not be as disappointed in this as I was about a book about the life of Mary Magdalene which was wrought with Gnostic anti-theology.

We will see what she has in store for us and if this work is anything as vivid as her previous, we may find ourselves able to better understand and place ourselves into the world Jesus inhabited when he walked this earth.

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