firmly committed to the Council’snteachings.nFor the great irony is that whatnprevents Molnar from noticing thesenencouraging trends is the same relentlesslynpolitical outlook he (rightly)nblames for most of the post-Councilnaberrations. Unfortunately, that outlooknalso skews his view of the Councilnitself Since, in his view, “civil society”nis “impermeable to conversion” becausenof its very structure, the result ofnthe Church’s “strategy” in Vatican IInof “sacralizing the whole world andnevery aspect of daily life” was “thenacceptance of the values of profanencivilization” by the Church. In thisncontext he quotes Cardinal Ratzinger’sncomplaint that “many . . . deliberatelynraised ‘desacralization’ to the level of anprogram … on the plea that religion,nif it has any being at all, must have it innthe non-sacredness of daily life.” ButnRatzinger’s point was precisely that thisnis a misguided conception of thenCouncil (a conception that Molnarnseems to share with the radicals). Innfact, Vatican II ordained ending clericalninvolvement in, and direction of,nsecular politics, and emphasized thenresponsibility of laymen to bring goodndoctrine and well-formed consciencesnto their daily responsibilities (the “reevangelization”nof culture) — which isnprecisely according to Molnar’s prescription.nThe Second Vatican Councilnis the third option — a quarter cen­ntury before Professor Molnar proposednit! A book that attempts to chart thenpresent position and future course ofnan institution that, in Chesterton’snwords, has “died many times and risennagain” is, as the author admits, risky.nBrian Robertson is articles editor ofnthe Human Life Review.n38/CHRONICLESnPiety and Meaningnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.nIn Praise of Blood Sports andnOther Essaysnby Walter SullivannBaton Rouge: Louisiana StatenUniversity Press; 136 pp., $ J 9.95nWalter Sullivan is professor of Englishnat Vanderbilt University,nthe author of two novels, and, mostnrecently, of A//en Tate: A Recollection.nHe is also a frequent and long-standingncontributor to the Sewanee Review, innwhich four of the ten essays in thisnvolume (dedicated to, among others,nGeorge Core, Sewanee’s editor) firstnappeared.nAlthough certain of these pieces arenstronger than others, in all of themnProfessor Sullivan shows himself to bena good critic, and, in some of them, anvery, very good one. He is a poised andnpolished writer, academic neither in hisnprose style nor in his approach to hisnsubject. Walter Sullivan does not — asnso many contemporary critics do —nregard a work of literary art as annepiphenomenon, but as an objectivenreality: as something made, like anChippendale chair, a Ming vase, or anmedieval cathedral. In this he remindsnme of no one so much as EdmundnWilson, whose literary essays ProfessornSullivan’s resemble in structure, approach,nand at times even in tonen(though they lack entirely Wilson’snhabitual irascibility, Sullivan being byncontrast a notably irenic expositor).nLike Wilson, Professor Sullivan doesnnot hesitate to resort to exegesis; likenWilson also, he is so skillful an exegetenas to have an effect on his reader that isnneady subliminal.n”The Last Agrarian: Peter TaylornEady and Late,” “Irony and Disorder:nThe Secret Agent,” “A Sense of Place:nElizabeth Bowen and the Landscapenof the Heart,” and “The Two Worldsnof William Golding,” in the presentncollection, are examples of this inspired-abstractivenapproach to either angiven work or to the corpus of works byna particular author. “Waugh Revisited”nis a discussion of the relationship betweennthe art of Evelyn Waugh andnthe English novelist’s Catholic faith; itnfinishes with the suggestion thatnWaugh’s novels are perhaps best readnnnin chronologically reverse order — beginningnwith the Sword of Honourntrilogy and ending with Vile Bodiesnand Decline and Fall — to give thenreader a sense of how much Waugh’snearlier fiction was “a long preparationnfor his final achievement.” Apart fromnits implicit underestimation of the earlynWaugh books, so far as I can telln”Waugh Revisited” has nothing new tonsay about either Waugh as a Catholicnor the Catholicity of his later novels,nand suffers as well from undirectedness.nThis last criticism I think can alsonbe made of “Irony and Disorder: ThenSecret Agent,” which concludes withnthe unsurprising observation that “Asnmuch as the characters and the plot,nthe language itself . . . conveys the absurditynof the wodd as Conrad saw itnand the moral frailty of those whoninhabit it.” Similarly, “Richard Weavernand the Bishop’s Widow: A CautionarynTale,” adds little to our appreciationnof Weaver and his work, whilenmaking it abundantly clear neverthelessnthat when Weaver wrote, “ThenSouth is one of those entities to whichnone can apply the French saying, ‘thenmore it changes the more it remainsnthe same,'” he was very substantiallynwrong. The strongest among the essaysnincluded in this volume are “The Fathersnand the Failure of Tradition,”n”Southern Writers in Spiritual Exile,”n”Andrew Lytic: The Mythmaker atnHome,” and the tide piece, “In Praisenof Blood Sports.” These four share, ifnnot exactiy a common theme, then atnleast a common preoccupation, andnthat is the modern writer and a sense ofnthe sacred — or the lack of it.nIn “Andrew Lytle” Professor Sullivannquotes a saying by Jacques Maritain,nthat “Only a Christian, nay, anmystic, can be a complete novelist,”nsince only he “has some idea of whatnthere is in man.” Lytic himself, ofncourse, qualifies in Maritain’s terms asna complete novelist, believing as hendoes in what Sullivan calls “the mysteriousnand ultimately unfathomable connectionnbetween the Word made fleshnand the words that are the incarnationnof thought and the raw materials ofnwriters.” Precious few novelists nowadaysncan believe in that connection,neven if by some mysterious accidentnthe idea of it should occur to them. Innresult, according to Professor Sullivan,n”[d]eprived of its sacramental quality.n