For the third time this semester, a Thomas More College faculty member appears in a major anthology of Catholic authors. This time, Thomas More College’s Writer-in-Residence John Zmirak has an article appearing in Faith at the Edge: A New Generation of Catholic Writers Reflects on Life, Love, Sex, and Other Mysteries, edited by Angelo Matera.
Faith at the Edge is comprised of some of the best articles to appear at cutting edge Catholic cultural Web site Godspy . The publisher calls Faith at the Edge a “compelling collection of twenty-one unique and powerful personal narratives. Gathering the experiences, fears, and joys of young adult Catholics whose search for faith often puts them on a collision-course with modern society, this anthology explores the mysterious, exhilarating, and sometimes infuriating terrain of faith. With celebrated contributors like Paula Huston, Matthew Lickona, and John Zmirak, and compelling personal narratives…these essays give voice to the struggles and triumphs of a new generation of Catholics who are transforming the Church.”
Zmirak’s essay is a reflection on the questions raised by the recent thriller The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and a 1970s precursor The Omen. Zmirak’s piece, “Emily Rose’s Exorcism—and Mine,” is a memoir of growing up Catholic in the confusing period of the late 1970s, when catechesis in parochial schools was still in a state of transition or disarray. After the removal of straight-ahead, Baltimore Catechism instruction by well-meaning interpreters of the “Spirit of Vatican II,” a wave of warm, fuzzy pop psychology rushed in to fill the gap—which was not much help, Zmirak recalls, when you’re 13 years old, have just seen The Omen, and can’t quite shake the fear that you might—just might—in fact be the Antichrist.
A quirky, funny, look at the psychology of a particular young Catholic coming of age at very distinct time and place in the history of the Church—the late days of the pontificate of Pope Paul VI—the article also explores the potential dangers of popular culture, and the deep significance of the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is just one of 21 memoirs, essays, and reflections by up-and-coming Catholic writers in the collection.