Denison Journal of Religion


This article considers the manner in which co-existing Catholic and American identities are represented in Andrew Greeley's Cardinal Sins, Edwin O'Connor's The Edge of Sadness, Walker Percy's Love in Ruins: The Behavior of a Bad Catholic at the Time Near the End of the World, and J.F. Powers's Morte d'Urban. In each novel, there is a conflict or difficulty in reconciling various identities, in particular Catholic and American identities. While the ways in which these two interact and, occasionally, conflict varies in each novel, there is always some attempt to work out a reconciliation between the two. Humphrey concludes her analysis with the admission that a complete reconciliation may not be possible, but that this may not indicate negative consequences. She argues that finding a way to balance and remain true to each identity may force American Catholics to think more deeply and with greater care on some of the social, cultural, and political circumstances that they face. Inner-conflict is not a desirable end, but it might result in more conscientious consideration of the dilemmas individuals and societies face.