I was thinking tonight, as I was playing computer solitaire in Joseph's room, waiting for him to go to sleep, about Graham Greene and John Kerry.
I was thinking about Greene's relationship to the Church - one would never call him pious, but the odd thing is how clearly he seemed to get what the core of holiness is. He may not have lived it, but he wrote about it, powerfully.
I'm not really clear what Greene's exact intellectual and spiritual stance towards the Church was during all those decades after which he'd left his wife and had affairs with/lived with various other women. I imagine his stance ranged from vaguely interested to indifferent, and I recall reading that near the end of his life he referred to himself as something like a "Catholic atheist." I've never had a sense of any great torment or struggle, just acceptance of who he was and where he stood in relation to the Church. And there was a priest around at the end, the model for the priest in Monsieur Quixote.
So there's no nobility or sainthood there, but there is honesty. There's a recognition that here is the Church, and here I am, and while I may live outside of the Church and sin and cast a jaundiced eye its way - there it is and there I am. No matter what I think of it, I'm under no illusion that all the Church needs is to be remade in my image or even "accept me as I am" in all of my choices. God's mercy is wide and deep and always waiting and found in the oddest ways and by the most flawed people, but mercy it is, mercy in light of my sins. Which are sins.
That's what I was thinking about. And that I can never win computer solitaire.
Greene's Vatican Dossier, from the Atlantic Monthly.