A handful of particularly memorable soundbites from Dr. Percy’s essay collection Signposts in a Strange Land:

When it is asked just so, straight out, just so: ‘Why are you a Catholic?’ I usually reply, ‘What else is there?’ I justify this smart-mouthed answer when I sense that the question is, as it usually is, a smart-mouthed question.”

“The present age is demented. It is possessed by a sense of dislocation, a loss of personal identity, an alternating sentimentality and rage which, in an individual patient, could be characterized as dementia.”

“It is difficult to see how the man, woman, or child who watches TV eight hours a day, in which the good triumphs every half hour on sitcoms, cops and hospital shows, can be open to the Good News.”

“It, my ‘anthropology’ has been expressed better in an earlier, more traditional language – e.g. scriptural: man born to trouble as the sparks fly up…

“My theory is that the purpose of art is to transmit universal truths of a sort, but of a particular sort, that in art, whether it’s poetry, fiction or painting, you are telling the reader or listener or viewer something he already knows but which he doesn’t quite know that he knows, so that in the action of communication he experiences a recognition, a feeling that he has been there before, a shock of recognition. And so, what the artist does, or tries to do, is simply to validate the human experience and to tell people the deep human truths which they already unconsciously know.”