Thursday, June 5, 2014

Evelyn Waugh & Leonard Feeney

"I went one morning by appointment & found him surrounded by a court of bemused youths of both sexes & he stark, raving mad. All his converts have chucked their Harvard careers & go to him only for all instruction. He fell into a rambling denunciation of all secular learning which gradually became more & more violent. He shouted that Newman had done irreparable damage to the Church then started on Ronnie Knox's Mass in Slow Motion saying 'To think that any innocent girl of 12 could have this blasphemous & obscene book put into her hands' as though it were Lady Chatterley's Lover. I asked if he had read it. 'I don't have to eat a rotten egg to know it stinks.' Then I got rather angry and rebuked him in strong words. His court sat absolutely aghast at hearing their holy man addressed like this. And in unbroken silence I walked out of the house. I talked to some Jesuits later & they said that he is disobeying the plain orders of his provincial by staying there. It seemed to me he needed an exorcist more than an alienist. A case of demoniac possession & jolly frightening." —Evelyn Waugh on meeting Fr. Feeney in Boston, MA. 
"...on the list of [Knox's] recurrent callers, was Mr. Evelyn (pronounced Evil-in) Waugh, whose father, a London publisher, supplied his sons with early printing privileges in pornography, before one of them (Evelyn) turned to hagiography, and whitened his sepulchre with the life of a saint." —Fr. Feeney on Waugh's literary career 
Would it be fair to say they did not get along?


  1. This amuses me to no end. Feeney and Waugh deserved each other.

  2. Feeney was a well-meaning nut whose rants embarrassed the Jesuits. They tried to handle him quietly by transferring him out of Boston but he disobeyed and moved back, getting himself kicked out of the order. When he ignored a Vatican summons, he was excommunicated for 20 years. The problem wasn't with his opinion, which he never had to recant, but that he acted like a madman and then was disobedient. His followers were a cult.

    That said, look up the St. Benedict Center's reaction to the atom-bombing of Nagasaki for the authentically Catholic view on that.

    By the way, the older Feeney was fine with conservative Novus Ordo. When he was too sick to celebrate Mass anymore, he liked being able to concelebrate.

    I like Waugh.


  3. Did Pope Pius XII make a mistake ?

    Did Pope Pius XII make a mistake ? : implicit desire, invincible ignorance have nothing to do with extra ecclesiam nulla salus