Anti-Catholic poetry in Cnd Lit class


#1

OK, I’m a bit freaked out because I have to say something, speak up for the Church in some way, and I don’t know how or where to start. Irving Layton’s poem “For Jesus Christ” will be discussed and analyzed in my Canadian Lit class as part of the post-WWII Jewish-Canadian set on May 30th and, although I will not be at the class, I can post something on this online forum that is there for the continuation of discussions, etc. This is in a Canadian university, so my classmates come with all the typical liberal, a-Catholic, relativistic, secular viewpoints we all love, with the exception of one other Catholic and possibly a second.

So, you will see if you look up the poem (or I can post it, if somebody asks me) that it is filled with hatred (it’s quite shocking, actually… I couldn’t get through the poem because of how strongly it comes across) and blame for this “evil incarnate” (as someone said on another thread) that is the Church. I assume we will also look at two of his other poems, “Jesus and Saint Paul” and “Newsboy”, which run pretty much along the same vein with the addition of that old drivel that Christ was just a “revolutionary” (though I suppose this comes as no surprise, considering :stuck_out_tongue: ) and St. Paul “made” him out to be God… :rolleyes:

As for the author, Irving Layton is Jewish, but he seems to show not a shred of charity or compassion in his writing and called himself a “freethinker” (with socialist tendencies). He seems to be well-liked as a poet… o.O Got the Order of Canada, I believe.

In the poem Layton seems to point fingers at the Church for the Holocaust and possibly for the big bad Inquisition, as well… he mentions a “ghetto” that was spurred by the Pope???

Anyway, I am just so overwhelmed because I don’t know where or how to start… Help?


#2

Ask then when they are going to start their discussion of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”


#3

I can’t find the poem…can you post it or link to it?

:thumbsup: “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” great touch!!


#4

Its a book made up by the Russian secret police in the early 1900s as an excuse to attack the Jews. it is still has a big Audience in Arab Worlds where they use it as an excuse to hate Jews. It would be just as appopriate to discuss this book as it is this poem


#5

First we need to acknowledge that there have been some actions by the Church that are regrettable. JPII did apologize for some. That being said, not every accusation has equal weight. Improper actions of the Church or officials of the Church are not relevant regarding the veracity of Her teachings.

I would suggest you attend the class if you feel you need to stand up for our Mother Church. If you don’t go, you’ll never know the atmosphere of the discussion. If you go, I would suggest you make a simple statement about your status of a faithful Catholic. I have found this to be a powerful statement on it’s own. You could even challenge anyone to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one her dogmas is wrong. If the Church does not teach the truth, I would stop being Catholic. This could steer the discussion away from inappropriate historical Church actions. I would suggest you be ready with a condensed arguments for the divinity of Christ and evidence he founded the Catholic Church.

If the group stays on the topic of the few unfortunate historical incidents that have occurred in the Church’s 2000 year history, you need not know how to respond to everything that’s brought up. If that happens, just say you’ll look in to it and get back to them later.


#6

Hi,

For the sake of correctness, I think the title of the work is “For My Brother Jesus”

Peace


#7

1. If you post the poem, we can judge it for ourselves. :slight_smile: IMHO, it is almost miraculous that there is not far more Jewish hatred for Catholicism - they suffered very greatly at its hands for many centuries. Our ignorance does not alter that.

2. Since the Inquisition and the confinement of Jews to the ghetto are both of Catholic origin, to deny this is rather pointless. The Shoah would probably not have happened, had there not been centuries of hatred for Jews before the Third Reich exploited it (a holocaust FWIW is a burnt offering as sacrifice - which is all too appropriate a name in some ways; but it does confuse matters when one uses the word in its religious sense. It’s better to preserve the distinction in meaning) . ##


#8

Canadian literature class?

[biting tongue…biting tongue…biting tongue]

Figure out exactly what offends you about the poem, and post it here for imput from others. Unfortunately, you’ll have to first acknowledge that your actions will have little or no impact with the school and that particular class curriculum.

If it is as bad as I think it is----what I’ve read of Layton’s stuff is horrible----consider writing to the Dean and the student paper and state that you take offense to the poem. Perhaps you can get other Catholics together to co-sign. See if your school has an official stance on offending religions and individuals–many schools have an official policy and that policy can be used to show their hypocrisy. Consider making a blog (you can set one up for free and dedicate it to this particular issue) and use it to discuss and refute all the misinformation in the poem. Find creative ways to get the blog address out there to the rest of the students.

I would stay away from the class itself. Professors hate being upstaged and can’t stand anyone challenging their viewpoint (which certainly must be his/hers considering the choice of poem)
You would also face a barrage of questions and accusations from the brainwashed students.

As baffling as it may be to others, Layton is considered one of, if not the best Canadian poet ever, especially by those leftist academics whose nose you would be tweaking.

Personally, I’d post the poem and dissect it on a blog and pass the word (meaning blog address). This gives you complete control over THAT situation, whereas you’ll have no control over the school reaction to your disagreement —let alone the class itself.


#9

Hey, now. Canada has Robertson Davies and–and–and–

Okay, point conceded. :smiley:


#10

Despite having not read the poem yourself, you imply that the original poster is ignorant. Ah, how comforting it must be to be as much the enlightened Christian as you are, Michael!

2. Since the Inquisition and the confinement of Jews to the ghetto are both of Catholic origin, to deny this is rather pointless. The Shoah would probably not have happened, had there not been centuries of hatred for Jews before the Third Reich exploited it (a holocaust FWIW is a burnt offering as sacrifice - which is all too appropriate a name in some ways; but it does confuse matters when one uses the word in its religious sense. It’s better to preserve the distinction in meaning) . ##

The Inquisition is hardly as all-bad as you infer, and wasn’t directed at Jews in particular. Your misinformation about the ghetto is particularly hurtful. The ghetto wasn’t a Church invention, although Rome had supported the quartering of jews (incl. shameful restrictions) in that city in the 1500s. To imply that the Church is responsible for the ghettos in Poland etc immediately before and during WWII is completely false.


#11

What part of torture do you support?


#12

:stuck_out_tongue: Nah, I’m just giving you a hard time. Plus—I’ve never gotten around to reading Mordecai Richler.


#13

[quote=NPS]Canadian literature class? (biting tongue…biting tongue…biting tongue)
[/quote]

Oh I agree. I dreaded Can Lit.

[quote=NPS]Figure out exactly what offends you about the poem, and post it here for imput from others.
[/quote]

Actually it is best to post the whole poem or pm me with it. There is a lot of critique out there, but much critique is self-serving: merely the meanderings of those who couldn’t write poetry for themselves. And I won’t say what I think about Canadian critique.

[quote=NPS]If it is as bad as I think it is----what I’ve read of Layton’s stuff is horrible
[/quote]

Layton in my opinion is one of the rare geniuses of this country. I studied poetry from his protege Seymour Mayne.

[quote=NPS]consider writing to the Dean and the student paper and state that you take offense to the poem. Perhaps you can get other Catholics together to co-sign.
[/quote]

Or better still. Write a very intelligent, well-referenced explication of the poem. That way you’ll get marks and have taken the higher road.

[quote=NPS]I would stay away from the class itself. Professors hate being upstaged and can’t stand anyone challenging their viewpoint (which certainly must be his/hers considering the choice of poem)
[/quote]

Ha! Better still. Show up. On the day we were to take Margaret Atwood, every student showed up with scowls on their faces. Seymour said, why are you all here? What’s going on? The students said because we had to make sure you didn’t say anything good about Margaret Atwood’s work!

[quote=NPS]As baffling as it may be to others, Layton is considered one of, if not the best Canadian poet ever, especially by those leftist academics whose nose you would be tweaking.
[/quote]

Who cares what the leftists say. Layton had a gift with language. He truly was beautiful. Volatile. Emotionally raw. Relevant.

They dance best who dance with desire
Who lifting feet of fire from fire
Weave before they lie down
A red carpet for the sun

I can say that over and over and over and never tire of it. it is so polysemous. So immediate.

Studying literature is mostly about learning ways of understanding what was important to different cultures and to different eras. It isn’t about studying what you like. It isn’t about studying what you agree with. Would you agree with Heart of Darkness? Frankenstein? J Alfred Prufrock? Song of Myself? Or would you understand to what they were responding?

Explicating or critiquing literature has methologies. That is what is being learned here. How does this poem reflect the time and culture from when and where it emerged? Why is it important? Is it important?


#14

Oh dear…I just realized Michael D. O’Brien is Canadian. That alone refutes every bad thing I’ve ever said about Canadian writers. I am sure, however, that the author of Father Elijah and Sophia House is not covered in that class.

(For those who haven’t—READ HIM!!!)


#15

Gwendolyn MacEwan. Joni Mitchell. Michael Ondaatje.

:tsktsk: Buffy Ste Marie. And a whole buncha younguns I know nothing about.


#16

Again–I haven’t read the poem. No doubt you’d know better than I, but from what little I’ve seen…

(Still, L.C. was close to him, so he can’t be all bad. But again, from what little I’ve seen…)

Layton had a gift with language. He truly was beautiful. Volatile. Emotionally raw. Relevant.

They dance best who dance with desire
Who lifting feet of fire from fire
Weave before they lie down
A red carpet for the sun

I can say that over and over and over and never tire of it. it is so polysemous. So immediate.

  • I want you to feel as if I had slammed
    your child’s head against a spike;
    And cut off your member and stuck it in your
    wife’s mouth to smoke like a cigar.*

Raw? Check. A gift with language? Uh…


#17

I knew I knew I KNEW I would get a reply from you. :smiley:


#18

Art provokes. You’re doing well.


#19

~cackle~ Are you trying to refute my point or prove it?!??!


#20

What was your point?


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