Francis and Flannery: their two sharp pens

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  • December 12, 2013

Anyone sifting around for Advent reading might consider the just-out apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis to lay alongside a strange and beautiful new book bearing Flannery O’Connor’s name.

Reading Evangelii Gaudium alternately with O’Connor’s prayer journal creates the sense of listening to a yearning yet joyful dialogue between two immensely gifted writers whose very habit of being is illumination of the Catholic soul.

It is not habitual — perhaps even unheard of — to praise a pontiff for his literary prowess. The job generally places far heavier emphasis on other gifts, talents and skills. Wherever he ranks in the pantheon of pontifical pens, however, there can be no doubt that Francis is the first to use the noun “sourpuss” in an apostolic document. More, he positions the word perfectly in his sentence to make it clear that it is us that he is concerned about.

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