Brideshead Catholics and the Last Altar Boy

In the Roman Catholic news website cruxnow.com there is an article by Fr Dwight Longenecker about various nostalgic tendencies within the church:
… conservative Catholics long for a pre-Conciliar Church of the Latin Mass and old devotions. Liberals often dream of a return to the Church of the ’70s with its “anything goes” attitude. While such nostalgia on both sides is understandable, it is also lamentable… In England, there is a breed of Catholic, for example, called “the young fogeys” or “Brideshead Catholics,” because they wear baggy corduroys, brogues and have floppy hair. They affect a kind of Evelyn Waugh snobbery towards all things modern, and might even have a teddy bear named Aloysius.
Nostalgia manifests itself differently in other countries such as the USA but needs to be avoided for reasons explained in the article.
In The Australian newspaper (19 August 2017) there is a long article by Greg Craven, vice chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, about a government commission that has been appointed to study the charges of child abuse within the Roman Catholic church in Australia. This has encouraged various media elements to take advantage of a perceived weakness. These include:
…the hobby atheists. Then there are various “progressive” Catholics, who see the situation as an opportunity to impose their own swinging view of Catholicism. There are even deeply traditional Catholics who take a gloomy pleasure in the “end days”: a bit like Evelyn Waugh’s fantasy to be the last altar boy at the last mass of the last pope. Oddly enough, all these zealots are doomed to disappointment. The Catholic Church in Australia is deeply shaken but will not fall.

The reference is to the opening chapter of Waugh’s trilogy Sword of Honour (p. 19)  where Guy Crouchback is reviewing his life in prewar Italy in which he felt cutoff from associations with other people and institutions, including the church. So, it is Guy’s fantasy and not that of Waugh himself.

Finally, in a catalogue issued by Jonkers Books of Henley-on-Thames relating to books of Muriel Spark, there is this reference:

Dame Muriel Spark was born in 1918 in Edinburgh, to Bernard Camberg, a Jewish engineer, and his Christian wife Sarah, who made their sitting room “a monument to religious eclecticism.” Spark was later to become a Roman Catholic under the sponsorship of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene.

There is something missing from this description. Both Waugh and Greene certainly boosted Spark’s early career by praising her books and may have even extended financial aid at some point. But in Waugh’s case, he became acquainted with her work only after her 1954 conversion to Roman Catholicism and cannot be said to have “sponsored” her in that connection. Martin Stannard, EW:The Later Years, p. 392, citing Letters, 477.

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