I'm reading a novel by a delightful former professor of philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Ralph McInerny, who passed away in 2010, is a person whose work I've admired since the seminary. Reading philosophy can be extremely tedious, but Dr. McInerny always made it lighter, more accessible, and (dare I say it) fun at times.
When I moved into my current rectory three years ago, there were about 5 items that the previous pastor didn't take with him. Three of them were books, one of which was a novel by Dr. McInerny. I'm just getting to it now, but it has been a great read. It is titled "The Priest".
That it is set around the release of the encyclical Humanae Vitae has only made it all the better. One exchange between the "liberalish" and a simple mother of 6 kids made me chuckle.
Mother: "So do you think a man and wife ought to sit down with population statistics before they go to bed?"
Father Ascue: "Well, it is a serious problem."
Mother: "In this country?"
Father: "It will be."
Mother: "Have you ever driven around this country? We're campers, so we've seen a lot of it. Do you know that most of Pennsylvania is empty countryside, woods, hills? And that's the east. People talk as if we were shoulder to shoulder. Where? In Manhattan?"
..... the conversation shifts to Humanae Vitae
Mother: "What really kills me is this talk about limiting the size of your family as if that took courage. You know, virtue. Nine times out of ten, it's pure selfishness. The day couples with one or two kids start sending checks to the starving Armenians I'll believe they're thinking of someone beside themselves."