Posted on June 25, 2011, in Catholic Bulletin, Catholic Social Teaching, English Literature, International Ethics, Irish Church-State Relations, Irish History, Media Archives, Poetry, WW2. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Greetings from a frequent Angelqueen lurker. I spent many years enamored with Yeats, but as I learned more about his occult beliefs (and some aspects of his personal life) the poetry which I had once loved so much began to lose its charm. That the Catholic Bulletin, in contrast to Yeats, was “consistently anti-fascist” is a very interesting bit of information. As scholars like Constance Cumbey have argued, Nazism and Thesophy (the New Age movement) are closely linked, and to learn that both wished to destroy the Catholic Church is not surprising.

    I have forgotten much of what i once knew about Yeats, but I do remember reading he eventually broke with Katherine Tynan because of her Catholicism, and that he was obsessed with Nietzsche’s theory of the Superman (when you don’t believe in God this does leave quite a vacuum for neognostic theories to fill). To understand Yeats’s Fascist sympathies one must understand his lifelong obsession with the occult – which far from being “harmless flakey Southern California nonsense” was actually–whether he realized it or not–a lifelong obsession with the demonic. Unlike Blavatsky or Crowley, however, I don’t think Yeats ever really realized exactly “what” he was dealing with. Even in old age, Yeats never seemed to get beyond what St. Augustine must have been like at about age 15. It’s sad to write this about a poet who once meant so much to me.

  2. Contrarian, I completely agree and thanks for your comment. In his essay on Yeats, George Orwell was surely right in noting that his interest in the occult and fascism harmonized well because of “the profound hostility of both to the Christian ethical code.” http://www.george-orwell.org/W_B_Yeats/0.html

  3. Thanks for the interesting link. As usual, Orwell is insightful. He is perhaps the only atheist writer I have ever come across who grasps Christianity with any accuracy. Not surprising, given the uncompromising intellectual honesty and defense of the dignity of the human person that characterizes so much of his work.

  4. The Catholic Bulletin was nothing but a sustained anti-Protestant rag, wearingly repetitive in its denunciation of TCD, the RDS and the Royal Colleges. It could see no place for Protestants in the Free State, and adopted an almost racist approach towards them.

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