Monday, January 19, 2004


We just started our annual RCIA class for people in the entertainment industry. This year's class spent most of Saturday watching the British television version of the book done in 1981. We'll have our official first class tomorrow night, and will begin by discussing Brideshead Revisited. (If you know someone in the biz who is interested in Catholicism, have them email me...)

I spent at least an hour last night looking for my favorite Brideshead quote on line. Amazingly, I couldn't find it. So, I decided it is up to me to reproduce it here for the plugged in masses who may never crack open the book.

Setting up the quote... Julie and Charles are having an affair. Julia has been raised in a devout Catholic home. Her brother, Bridey, tells her that she is not welcome in his home as long as she is living in sin. Julia freaks out and when Charles wants to know what is wrong with her, she blusters out the following amazing discourse...

"He's quite right...All in one little word, too, one little flat, deadly word that covers a lifetime.

'Living in sin;' not just doing wrong, knowing it is wrong, stopping doing it, forgetting. That's not what they mean...He means living in sin, with sin, by sin, for sin, every hour, every day, year in, year out.

Waking up with sin in the morning, seeing the curtains drawn on sin, bathing it, dressing it, clipping diamonds to it, feeding it, showing it round, giving it a good time, putting it to sleep at night with a tablet of Dial if it's fretful.

Always the same, like an idiot child carefully nursed, guarded from the world. 'Poor Julia,' they say, 'she can't go out. She's got to take care of her little sin...

Sin. A word from so long ago, from Nanny Hawkins stitching by the hearth and the nightlight burning before the Sacred Heart. Cordelia and me with the catechism, in Mummy's room before luncheon on Sundays. Mummy carrying my sin with her to church, bowed under it and the black lace veil, in the chapel; Mummy dying with my sin eating at her, more cruelly than her own deadly illness.

Mummy dying with it; Christ dying with it, nailed hand and foot; hanging over the bed in the night-nursery; hanging year after year in the dark little Study at Farm Street; hanging in the dark church where only the old charwoman raises the dust and one candle burns; hanging at noon high above the crowd and the soldiers; hanging for ever;..."

No comments: