In this two-part Forum that was started on December 2, parishioner and theologian Anne-Marie Reijnen invites us to consider four writers and their portrayals of the Church in fiction: Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead Trilogy (2004-2014); E.L Doctorow’s City of God (2000), Nikos Kazantzakis’s Christ Recrucified and, finally, Graham Greene’s classic, The Power and the Glory. The portrayal of clergy in these works is as diverse as their settings, which range from the American Midwest to Greece to the revolutionary Mexico of the 1920s. Neither idealised nor caricatured these four portraits give readers food for thought. Robinson explores notions of vision, vocation and vernacular, while Kazantzakis draws attention to the power of fiction to transform reality, asking whether one can play the Passion without being changed. Doctorow confronts the church’s history of anti-Semitism and Greene presents perhaps the most compelling portrait of the “whiskey priest”, a notorious sinner who nevertheless becomes the living embodiment of the Church amidst persecution and violence. Flawed human beings are capable after all to be credible witnesses to mercy and new life.
Sunday, December 9, 9:45am in the Library of the American Cathedral.
The Cathedral Forum is a weekly lecture series with topics that range from theology, politics and spirituality to economics and literature. The forum regularly features prominent speakers from academia, the media, and journalism.