A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
It occurred to me that the Catholics had done this to her—whatever it was, it surely qualified for the unmentioned UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE that Owen claimed his father and mother had suffered. There was something about Mrs. Meany's obdurate self-imprisonment that smacked of religious persecution—if not eternal damnation. (1.146)
Whenever he talks about the Catholic Church, Owen always mentions the "UNSPEAKABLE OUTRAGE" that the Catholics committed against his parents. Here, we see Owen's mom up close. There's something up with this woman, that's for sure – Johnny just doesn't know what that could be.
"BELIEF IS NOT AN INTELLECTUAL MATTER," he complained. "IF HE'S GOT SO MUCH DOUBT, HE'S IN THE WRONG BUSINESS." (3.131)
Rev. Merrill always emphasizes the importance of religious doubt. The point that Rev. Merrill seems to make is that doubt gets you thinking about God – and that can be a good thing. Owen, on the flip side, is so full of conviction that, in his opinion, you either believe in God or you don't.
"I love the part when he tells the angel what to say—that's brilliant," Mr. Fish said. "And how he throws his mother aside—how he starts right in with the criticism…I mean, you get the idea, right away, that this is no ordinary baby. You know, he's the Lord! Jesus—from Day One. I mean, he's born giving orders, telling I had no idea it was so…primitive a ritual, so violent, so barbaric. But it's very moving," Mr. Fish added hastily, lest Dan and I be offended to hear our religion described as "primitive" and "barbaric." (5.221)
Leave it to Mr. Fish to bring a little bit of comic relief. He was not raised in a religious household and has never seen a Christmas pageant before. When things unexpectedly go awry at the Christ Church pageant, Mr. Fish is totally oblivious – and in utter awe. Still, there is some truth to what he says. You get the idea that the Christ Child is no ordinary baby – whether we're talking about the one in the Bible or Owen Meany himself.