Recently my church (a Baptist church, with a Reformed bent) brought in a professor from Baylor University (a Baptist school) named Dr. Ralph Wood, who spoke on one evening about Tolkien and The Hobbit. The next day, he spoke at a local Catholic high school about Flannery O'Connor. Dr. Wood is the professor of Literature & Theology at Baylor (doesn't that sound awesome?).
The first lecture on Tolkien/The Hobbit was open to the public. The second was by invitation only (mostly because Dr. Wood wanted to speak on the short story, The Artificial [N-word], which is a beautiful and brilliantly written short story, but is controversial because of its title -- FYI, the story is anti-racism). Both lectures were followed by lengthy Q & A, and I must say it was the best time I've had in a long while. And it was wonderfully ecumenical, in the positive meaning of that term. The O'Connor talk had everything from me, a Baptist layperson, to a Greek Orthodox priest. Good times.
Anyway, Dr. Wood loves writing and thinking about the following authors: Chesterton, Lewis, Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, and Walker Percy, among a few others. What was striking to me about this list was that all but one person who he spoke about during his lectures were Roman Catholics (devoutly so) and the other was a high-church Anglican.
I asked Dr. Wood (who is a Baptist, incidentally) what it was about Roman Catholicism that could produce so many great writers? What have Protestants missed that he sees in these other authors? I'll give his answer to this (in summary form) later if people start commenting, but I thought I'd throw this question out to y'all.
Any thoughts about this? Is there something Chesterton and Tolkien can tap into as Catholics that I (and even perhaps Lewis) may miss as Protestants in order to create great literature, perhaps even a distinctly Catholic literature?