Wednesday, 17 February 2016


With the papal-visit in Mexico wrapping-up, The Atlantic’s recommended Lenten reading, I think, takes on greater dimensions in Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory. There was also a cinematic adaptation called The Fugitive starring Henry Fonda. Inspired by an actual sojourn on the part of the author in the Mexican state of Tabasco when the governor was cracking down on the influence of the Catholic church, an anti-hero known only as the “whiskey priest” faces dogged persecution worse than Jean Valjean when the character resolves to conduct underground services and hold confessions despite the government’s suppression of the faith, forcing priests into retirement, burning churches and destroying relics and other religious paraphernalia. Though the struggle of the seriously flawed main figure—whom no community wanted as his activities attracted unwanted attention and a state-sanctioned inquisition that led to more killings and destruction—was condemned by Church censors for sacrilegious and agnostic portrayal, I agree that it is a good-read especially when one considers how broken resolutions (first for New Year’s and then for Lent) are compounded and confounded and the physical articles of faith are denuded among other claimants and one only has one’s own time in the wilderness as a measure.