"When you write a novel, if you have to be honest about it and if your conscience is clear, then it seems to me that you have to leave the rest in God's hands. When the book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry about this is to take over God's business. . . .

About bad taste, I don't know, because taste is a relative thing. There are some who will find almost everything in bad taste, from spitting in the street to Christ's associations with Mary Magdalen. Fiction is supposed to represent life and the fiction writer has to use as many aspects of life as are necessary to make his total picture convincing. The fiction writer doesn't state, he shows, renders. It's the nature of fiction and it can't be helped. If you're writing about the vulgar, you have to prove they're vulgar by showing them at it. The two worst sins of bad taste in fiction are pornography and sentimentality. One is too much sex and the other too much sentiment. You have to have enough of either to prove your point but no more. . . .

What offends my taste in fiction is when right is held up as wrong, or wrong as right. Fiction is the concrete expression of mystery — mystery that is lived. Catholics believe that all creation is good and that is evil is the wrong use of good and that without Grace we use it wrong most of the time. It's almost impossible to write about supernatural Grace in fiction. We almost have to approach it negatively. As to natural Grace, we have to take it the way it comes — through nature. In any case, it operates surrounded by evil."