The Power and the Glory by Graham GreeneHe is a drunkard, an adulterer, and a coward. He is not even sure why he is running: the only thing he is sure of is that he does not want to be shot, because he does not want to feel any pain. As the priest is chased from one part of the state to another, he constantly encounters poor villagers in need of his help. They need a priest to hear their confessions, to baptize their children, and administer their last rights. In each case, the priest reluctantly accepts this mantel though often for a fee ; all the while, however, he laments that there are no priests left to hear his own confession, absolve him, and, ultimately, administer his own last rights.
The Power and the Glory
He is a priest who has been on the run for eight years in a state in Mexico where authorities have leveled all churches in an effort to root out Catholicism. It is the middle of the 20 th century, and the new Socialist government wants to stamp out superstition. Some priests have fled. Some have stayed and, under duress, have gotten married. Others, like this one, have gone into hiding. Over the past year, he has celebrated Mass just four times and had heard maybe a hundred confessions. Now, a fervently anticlerical Army lieutenant is on his trail, and, when the officer finds that a village has been visited by the priest, he takes a hostage.
Churches are burned. Relics, medals, and crosses are banned. The price for disobedience is death. While many clerics give up their beliefs and accept their government pensions, the unnamed priest travels in secret, celebrating Mass and hearing confessions under the cover of night. In life and in fiction, Greene was more interested in sinners than saints, and the whiskey priest is no saint—at least not for most of the story. His pride swells his sense of importance.
The Passion of Graham Greene
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read., During a period of intense anti-Catholic persecution, a nameless priest wanders through Mexico as a fugitive, trying to evade authorities that have placed a peso bounty on his head.
The title is an allusion to the doxology often recited at the end of the Lord's Prayer : "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen. Greene's novel tells the story of a renegade Roman Catholic ' whisky priest ' a term coined by Greene living in the Mexican state of Tabasco in the s, a time when the Mexican government was attempting to suppress the Catholic Church. In , the novel received the Hawthornden Prize British literary award. In , it was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the hundred best English-language novels since The main character is an unnamed 'whisky priest', who combines a great power for self-destruction with pitiful cravenness, an almost painful penitence, and a desperate quest for dignity.
Welcome sign in sign up. Perhaps it succeeds so resoundingly because there is something un-English about the Roman Catholicism which infuses, with its Manichaean darkness and tortured literalism, his most ambitious fiction. Yet the Roman Catholicism, in these three novels, has something faintly stuck-on about it—there is a dreamlike feeling of stretch, of contortion. This murderous teen-age gang leader with his bitter belief in hell and his habit of quoting choirboy Latin to himself, this mild-mannered colonial policeman pulled by a terrible pity into the sure damnation of suicide, and this blithely unfaithful housewife drawn by a happenstance baptism of which she is unaware into a sainthood that works posthumous miracles—these are moral grotesques, shaped in some other world; they refuse to attach to the world around them, the so sharply and expertly evoked milieus of Brighton, British West Africa, London. The first three paragraphs, where he gives you camera shots of the place, why it is astounding.