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'The Power and the Glory' Speaks to Us Today
an article by Tony Dominski

"The Power and the Glory," by Graham Greene is set in the eerie atmosphere of 1930's Mexico: The population is living in poverty and fear under a left-wing dictator ship. All the churches are closed. The priests are hunted down and brought before a firing squad. The government's rationale: the means – killing religion – justifies the ends of providing the peasants an opportunity to a more honest and better way of life.

The protagonist is a "whiskey priest" who is revealed as a shallow character. Before he became a fugitive, he was more concerned with a fine lifestyle and extracting money from his flock than in ministering to their real needs. Through the priest’s life story Greene portrays a corrupt Church siding with the rich while neglecting the poor.

In a great prison scene, Greene, himself a left-wing convert to Catholicism, reveals his road to the reform of the corrupt church and state. The priest is hearing confessions in total darkness in a reeking, crowded prison cell. In the dark the priest muses: "When you visualize a man or woman carefully, you could always feel pity..." Greene's book shows us where the doctrine of Liberation Theology came from -- where the Church sides with the poor.

"The Power and the Glory" is a like a ray of sun through dark clouds. Greene proclaims that it is never too late to reach out to our fellow human beings. As he said, "hate is just a failure of the imagination."

Book information: 'The Power and the Glory,' by Graham Greene, 1940, Penguin Books, 222 Pages.


Question(s) related to this article:

Thou shalt not kill, Can religions make it stick?

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Latest reader comment:

Quote (CPNN Administrator @ Aug. 09 2004,08:15)
Readers' comments are invited on this report and topic.

The Power and the Glory reminds me that Culture of Peace must and will be created through a triumph of our imagination.  Specifically, we need the imagination not to hate people and to visualize the the undiscovered country --a Culture of Peace.

This report was posted on August 9, 2004.