Palimpsest  

Go Back   Palimpsest > Palimpsest Groups > The Book Group Discussions


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 7th Dec 2007, 7:56   #11
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

I haven't started my reread yet, but I would never have described any of Greene's books as 'making fun' of the church! He's fascinated, always, but never mocking.
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Dec 2007, 8:03   #12
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,195
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

Oh, there's certainly at least light fun. Can't tell you the best example yet as it is at the end of the book.
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Dec 2007, 11:12   #13
amner
Administrator
is beyond help
 
amner's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10 Apr 2003
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 10,917
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

Go ahead, Ang...I think we can assume that people wishing to avoid spoilers shouldn't be here. I'm probably contradicting something I've said in the past with that, but it is a discussion of the book, after all, so let's make that decision for this part of the forum.

Go go go.
__________________
amner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Dec 2007, 11:23   #14
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,195
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

Quote:
'He had a funny smell,' one of the little girls said.
'You must never say that again,' the mother said. 'He may be one of the saints.'
'Shall we pray to him then?'
The mother hesitated. 'It would do no harm. Of course, before we know he is a saint, there will have to be miracles . . .'
Subtle, but certainly mocking the "sainthood" process...
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Dec 2007, 4:17   #15
Beth
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Beth's Avatar
 
Join Date: 22 Sep 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,854
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene



Graham Greene’s 1939 novel begins with fragments of lives placed disparately and sketchily in the first pages. We meet, among others, a dentist, an old man and his wife, a military man, and a stranger. Each thread brushes its neighbor only slightly, and reading this for the first time, I wondered if the novel would ever fasten these elements. The word 'postmodern' flitted through my head. And then the mule sat down.

In the chapters following, an astounding character flourishes and agonizes, lives boldly and cravenly, and confronts death with both trembling and equanimity. He’s a nameless priest, on the run from Red Shirts who’ve placed a bounty on him and are determined to eradicate the Church from their state. The man is many things- alcoholic, full of sin and mercy, an inappropriate giggler, and the father of a young girl.

Initially en route to visit his daughter and her mother in tense and unwelcome circumstances, the priest journeys into a series of heart breaking attachments and artery pounding escapes. A firing squad awaits any who might harbor him, and his visit to the tiniest remote Indian village brings both the chill of danger and the relief of absolution. For in a tattered briefcase, this man carries the Host and offers communion and confession to villagers who revere the mysteries of Catholicism and who cling to their faith in spite of the government’s efforts to obliterate it.

Quote:
Five years ago he had given way to despair--the unforgivable sin--and he was going back now to the scene of his despair with a curious lightening of the heart. For he had got over despair too. He was a bad priest, he knew it: they had a word for his kind--a whisky priest--but every failure dropped out of sight and out of mind: somewhere they accumulated in secret--the rubble of his failures. One day they would choke up, he supposed, altogether the source of grace. Until then he carried on, with spells of fear, weariness, with a shamefaced lightness of heart.
The Power and the Glory is a study in contrasts. Humor, pathos, irony, earnestness, and endless possibilities for theological spring boarding are all for the taking within these pages. A mini review such as this can only hint at the worlds within this man and the reflection he casts upon us all.

Quote:
He had heard men talk of the unfairness of a deathbed repentance--as if it was an easy thing to break the habit of a life whether to do good or evil. One suspected the good of the life that ended badly--or the viciousness that ended well. He made another desperate attempt. He said: “You believed once. Try and understand--this is your chance. At the last moment. Like the thief. You have murdered men--children perhaps,” he added…”But that need not be so important. It only belongs to this life, a few years--it’s over already. You can drop it all here, in this hut, and go on for ever…” He felt sadness and longing at the vaguest idea of a life he couldn’t lead himself…words like peace, glory, love.

Last edited by Beth; 8th Dec 2007 at 20:12. Reason: typo
Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Dec 2007, 5:40   #16
Beth
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Beth's Avatar
 
Join Date: 22 Sep 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,854
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMk1
Nice to see The Power and the Glory in the next Book Group set.
Are you a fan of this one, MikeMk?
Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Dec 2007, 10:36   #17
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,195
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

Nice one, Beth.

The whisky priest is in such a sad situation. He's a true believer, so he knows he's going to hell for dying with a mortal sin on his soul. Padre Jose is the baddie here for knowing why he is wanted but refusing to go and absolve the whisky priest of his sins. He's more of a baddie than the lieutenant, by a long shot. The lieutenant is doing what he believes is right. Padre Jose knows exactly the consequences of refusing to go to the whisky priest before he is killed, yet will not bring himself to do it.

It seems to me Greene could have ended it either way - Padre Jose doing what is asked of him to help the whisky priest would have shown the strength of the Catholic beliefs, which seems to be the message of the book. However, that would have been a happy ending, and I think Greene prefers to present the twisted logic of another believer, the woman who already thinks he's a saint on the day of his death. Would the whisky priest be happy with that? I don't think so. He knows he can never really be a saint whether or not some living human beings eventually decide he is one.
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Dec 2007, 11:46   #18
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

Just thirty or so pages into this. As I mentioned above, it's my third read, but I really do feel I didn't have a grip on it before. These days I have a practice of marking a pencil line in the margin when I hit a noteworthy phrase or passage - and The Power and the Glory has a couple on every page.

A superb assessment, Beth.

One stoopid question from a religious ignoramus. Why does Greene take as his title a part of the Lord's Prayer which is only present in the Protestant version? (The Catholic one ends "...lead us not into temptation," as I discovered to my shock when attending a Catholic church for the first time a few years ago. That's quite a big step where I come from.)
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Dec 2007, 11:54   #19
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,195
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self View Post
One stoopid question from a religious ignoramus. Why does Greene take as his title a part of the Lord's Prayer which is only present in the Protestant version? (The Catholic one ends "...lead us not into temptation," as I discovered to my shock when attending a Catholic church for the first time a few years ago. That's quite a big step where I come from.)
Actually, the Catholic one ends "... but deliver us from evil." and then of course, "Amen."

The rest of what you are expecting as a protestant comes later in the mass. "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen". I'm looking now exactly where that comes in. I'll be back...

Edit:
Okay, I'm back... found this at http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=38320

Jim Blackburn vbmenu_register("postmenu_450746", true);
Catholic Answers Apologist
Join Date: May 3, 2004
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 588


Re: Why don't Catholic Bibles include the "rest" of the Lord's Prayer?
The earliest transcripts of Matthew 6:13 do not record Jesus saying “for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever”. This is a doxology added to the Lord’s Prayer by pious Christians as noted in such early writings as The Didache.

---------
I am still looking for an explanation that is a more official source, but I was struck by the phrase "added to the Lord's Prayer by pious Christians". Greene makes pious people a major point in this book.
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611

Last edited by Ang; 8th Dec 2007 at 12:05.
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Dec 2007, 12:11   #20
Ang
Senior Palimpsester
suckles at the teat of the Palim-God
 
Ang's Avatar
 
Join Date: 25 Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 3,195
Default Re: Book 38: THE POWER AND THE GLORY by Graham Greene

Here's a good explanation.

This paragraph is especially interesting to me:
Quote:
As time went on, when it became difficult to distinguish these glosses from the original wording, many of them found their way into the Bible text itself. This was the situation when the King James Authorized English translation was published in 1611. The doxology is, in fact, in the King James translation, though the scholarly (Protestant) "Interpreter's Bible" notes that it was added in later manuscripts to round out the Lord's Prayer liturgically.
So, it was added because it makes it all sound better. It certainly is a more powerful ending to the prayer... it just wasn't really part of it, it seems.
__________________
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008=post 80611
Ang is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 8:08.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.