Sick literature

| February 20, 2017

Today, I had the disgusting experience of reading a small tale, that was contained in a book assigned as homework for high school students —I will not mention the author’s name nor the title of the story, as I don’t want to give free advertising—. This text described in a detailed manner the fictitious story of how a Cardinal from the Catholic Church kidnapped and raped a little boy.

I can’t deny my disagreement with this kind of reading for several reasons and through this blog, I want to explain my main arguments against this “sick literature”.

1. Literature, as an art, must be aimed to achieve beauty in its full expression. The discussion of what is beauty and why it matters is not topic of this text; and I will only clarify this: literature must spark the highest thoughts and feelings of truth and good in the audience (just as the music composed by J.S. Bach or Ludwig van Beethoven), not grim and miserable thoughts (like the ones that arise by reading the newspapers’ police reports).

In this point, I must add that it is possible to make reference to sad stories and still achieve beauty (just like “Les Misèrables” of Victor Hugo). However, in this case, the text seemed to be directed only to vilify the Catholic Church; objective that, in the end, corrupted any kind of value in the story.

2. In order to dismiss the last explanation, someone may argue that the text was more than just literature, but also a criticism against the Church for the abuse of children. Nevertheless, this issue has been largely discussed —for example, Pope Benedict XVI issued a letter to the Catholics in Ireland about it (1)—, and there are better analysis than this simple and empty tale. Let’s be clear: a critic must be respectful and fair, not full of hate and prejudices.

3. Even after this argument, it is possible that people defend its position based on the “freedom of expression” (so misunderstood lately). To start, we must clarify that the right to express ideas does not mean that all of them are good or that they must be shared. The question here is not if someone can write this kind of “sick literature”; but also, if such texts should be written.

4. However, in this line of thought, my last question for the ones who support the “sick literature” is: Even if you have the ability and the right to express such kind of texts, why scandalize high school students with them? Why the obsession to attack the Church and its members by this fallacious means?

I cannot stress enough how deep my dispute is against the texts that lack of any spirit of beauty, truth and good. It is possible that the abovementioned arguments are not enough for the supporters of the unclassy, unethical and automatic criticism against everything; but I am completely sure that, in the end, the beauty and the truth will triumph over them.

To a conscious and worried father, who fights for the best education for his son and daughters. 

(1) http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/letters/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20100319_church-ireland.html

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