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Volume 2 Issue 1
June 2004

LINK TO TEXT ONLY VERSION

Robert Blair Kaiser:  A Letter from the Editor

BOOKS

Reviewed by
Don Foran: A Dying Breed of Brave Men: The Self-Written Stories of Nine Married Priests Edited by Robert J. Brousseau

Reviewed by
Doug McFerran: Papal Reich by Arun Pereira

Reviewed by
Leonard Swidler: Ignatian Humanism: A Dynamic Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Modras

CHURCH REFORM

Thomas P. Doyle: The John Jay Report and The National Review Board Report

Bruce Russett: Conclusion of Governance, Accountability and the Future of the Catholic Church — Monarchy, Democracy, or "Decent Consultation Hierarchy"?

Leonard Swidler: Desperately Needed: Catholic ‘Americanist’ Heroes — The Model of Bishop John England of Charleston

FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS

Morgan Zo Callahan: Two Zen Dialogues:
Change Your Mind Day — June 7, 2003 — Ciudad de Los Angeles
Distant & Close


Geraldine Glodek: One Day on the Way to the Time Room

Paul Kelly: The Kelly Kollection

JESUITS THEN & NOW

Robert Brophy, Don Cordero, Doug McFerran, Robert R. Rahl, Jim Torrens, SJ, and Dave Van Etten : Convocation 2003

Peter Henriot, SJ: Letter from Zambia

Joseph E. Mulligan, SJ: A Faith and Justice Pilgrimage in Rome ... and Related Reflections at Home


LITERARY CRITICISM


Frances A. Della Cava and Madeline H. Engel: Catholics under the Magnifying Glass: Views in American Mystery Fiction

Ramón Rami Porta: El teólogo itinerante: Un comentario sobre Monseñor Quijote de Graham Greene

Ramón Rami Porta: The Itinerant Theologian: A Commentary on Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene


 

 


 

Papal Reich by Arun Pereira
(1st Books, 2002)

Reviewed by Doug McFerran

The cover suggests a Ludlum-like thriller with a new Pope who recognizes that global power has shifted from nations to religions.  The hook is that the new Pope was once a teenaged Nazi given a new identity through the Vatican.

How this all happens spans a period from 1945 to the present with a series of cardboard characters moving through implausible schemes that involve looted funds in a Swiss account, various murders staged to protect secrets that cannot be made known, and a young Jew’s search for truth and vengeance.   

Erich, the teenager who once used the cover of an altar boy to locate Jews hidden by sympathetic parishioners, turns up as a priest and then a bishop in California, and he is as ugly a character as they come—a murderer who uses an image of a concern for social justice to manipulate his way to celebrity and advancement in the church.   Yes, he will play the game well enough to become top dog in the church, but, wait, there is something about expensive pens rigged to deliver a lethal dose of Zyklon B and a predictable ending.

Corruption in high places has long been a staple of thriller fiction, and any group that is at all secretive—always the CIA, while in The DaVinci Code Opus Dei has come to replace the Jesuits as a source of clerical skullduggery—is fair game for a writer’s imagination. Pereira, however, seems to be ambitioning something more than a rather far-fetched plot allowing a one-time Nazi with a forged identity to become Pope. From the first presentation of Erich as the orphan befriended by a pedophile priest and then through him introduced to the Nazi elite, we are to see the church as interested only in power.   He pursues the theme relentlessly, especially in depicting how Erich, now Bishop Fitzgerald (!), whets the appetite of Vatican insiders with the concept of how the church could increase its secular power with a religious smart card that would become a new type of passport.  

There are numerous tangled subplots that aim at one surprise twist after another, but after a short while it is hard to care about any of the characters or about what happens to them.


Doug McFerran was a Jesuit from 1952-62. He taught philosophy in the Los Angeles Community College District until his retirement in 2003. He is the author of IRA Man: Talking with the Rebels and is currently the editor of ARCCLIGHT, the newsletter published by the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church.

 

Volume 2 Issue 1
June 2004

MOVIES

Vittorio Messori: A Passion of Violence and Love

POETRY

Robert Bagg: Chimera

George Keithley: Looking at the Man

Tom Sheehan: We Share A Universe

POLITICS

Edward M. Fashing: WTO Meeting In Cancun, Mexico, October 2003

Robert Blair Kaiser: Holy Words Holy War

Senator Edward M. Kennedy: "Leading This Country to a Perilous Place"

Joseph E. Mulligan, SJ: The Fight for Bread and Justice Goes On in Central America

ROME DIARY

Robert Blair Kaiser:
Latest Chapter
Rome Diary Index


THEOLOGY

José María Vigil, CMF: La opción por los pobres es opción por la justicia, y no es preferencial: Para un reencuadramiento teologico-sistemático de la OP

José María Vigil, CMF: The Option for the Poor is an Option for Justice, and Not Preferential: A New Theological-Systematic Framework for the Option for the Poor

Leobard D’Souza: There Are Many Mother Teresas

TRAVEL

Michael Saso: The Advanced Asian Research and Language Institute, Beijing, Announces New, Inter-Disciplinary BA, MA, & PhD Programs, 10-14 Day Tibetan Pilgrimages, and Opportunities To Help in Building and Sponsoring Schools in Greater Tibet

VITAL SPEECHES

Anthony Padovano: The American Catholic Church: Assessing the Past, Discerning the Future

 

 

Webpage Editors: 
Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D.

ecumene.org
Robert R. Rahl
westcoastcompanions.org
Posted 22 May 2004
Revised 5 June 2004

 

 


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