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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: RE: (urth) PEACE as Faust
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 08:43:36 -0700

Off topic, but not totally; it goes to the purgatorial interpretation
of PEACE...

Roy C. wrote:
> I don't want to get into another theological conflict; I cede 
> you the high ground. But you can't tell me, so far as Wolfe's 
> religious beliefs can be inferred from his work, that he believes 
> the acts of an individual in life are not weighed in the final 
> balance, regardless of technical conformity to Christian/Catholic
> dogma.

Nor do I want for a moment to get into any such theological conflict. 
And I certainly don't want to suggest that anything less than the
whole life of the individual would be involved in that individual's
Eternal destiny. Your example of Hitler having "the presence of mind
to say 'I'm sorry' before he died in that bunker" is a classic case: 
theoretically, technically possible -- though extremely unlikely in 
the case of someone who is dying in the _manner_ Hitler did -- but 
simply saying "I'm sorry" isn't the point; it would take a moment of 
genuine _conversion_, of actually recognizing the horror of what he'd 
done and hating it. Which is a lot to happen in the moment between 
the pulling of the trigger and the bullet's smashing his brains out 
... but that bare possibility is a large part of why Catholicism
embraces the concept of _purgatory_, the idea that, well, yes, you
may well be saved from Hell, but you still have a lot of cleaning up 
(literally; purging) to do, and it may not feel very nice. Somehow
it becomes necessary to encompass both the idea that God is absolutely
just and the idea that God is merciful.

(Contrariwise, the bit about Mother Teresa having "a bad day" wouldn't 
make much difference; maybe a tiny bit of extra purgation.)

Regarding Olivia's repeated repentances ... well, I honestly don't
know. I can't judge a real person I know well; how can I judge a
fictional character I know only through an unreliable narrator?



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