COVID Quarantine Giving People a Chance to Catch Up on Their Reading

Everyone seems to be reading more since the COVID-19 pandemic – even Pope Francis. During his interview in March, the pope ticked off references to Virgil’s “Aeneid,” Alessandro Manzoni’s “I promessi sposi,” and several titles by Dostoyevsky.

Fr. Robert Lauder

The Mystery of Great Literature

ONE OF MY goals as a college professor is to encourage contemporary students to read great literature. I think that a very serious problem among many contemporary college students is that reading great literature has fallen by the wayside. Undoubtedly, there are students who do read great literature but talking with other college professors has convinced me that the neglect of serious reading is an important problem.

The Catholic Novel

Dear Editor: I always enjoy Father Robert Lauder’s column in The Tablet. A recent column brought back many memories for me of a priest who taught English at St. Francis College in the late 1940s and 1950s. Father Gerard M. Murray introduced his students to Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and the Catholic novel. Much like Father Lauder, he intimated that they present a profoundly deep understanding of human nature.

The Drama of Conversion

Ninth in a series EVERY FALL SEMESTER for the last 20 years I have taught a course on the Catholic novel at St. John’s University. The course’s title is “Philosophy and Literature,” but I have given it the subtitle: “Meaning, Mystery and Metaphysics in the Catholic Novel.” One reason that I created the course was that in […]

Fr. Robert Lauder

Art Inspires and Elevates Life

IN ONE SECTION of his book “Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts” (Madison, Wisconsin: InterVarsity Press, 2001, pp. 131) author Steve Turner discusses the Catholic Church’s approach to art. Though not a Catholic, Turner obviously knows Church documents and the work that some outstanding Catholic artists have produced.

Fr. Robert Lauder

Catholic Novelists And Moral Vision

Recently, I came upon two essays by the Catholic novelist, Valerie Sayers. Both deal with topics that have fascinated me for years. I became interested in what I call a “Catholic novel” when I was a senior at Xavier H.S., Manhattan. My English teacher, Father Vincent Taylor, S.J., had the class read the novel, “Brighton […]

Reading Helps Us Tap into Literary Treasures

When I first started writing this weekly column many years ago, my mother often would say to me, “I don’t know why you are writing all of these columns. No one understands what you’re writing.”

Literature, Faith and Death

by Father Robert Lauder  Second in a series   IN THE MAY 3 issue of Commonweal, Alice McDermott had a very provocative essay entitled “Redeemed from Death? The Faith of a Catholic Novelist.” Though well acquainted with how some Catholics think — about women priests, contraception, homosexuality, the death penalty, just and unjust wars, gun rights and […]