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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Apocalypse Now?

I'm reading Morris West's novel, The Clowns of God. It was published in 1981 and tells the story of a pope, Gregory XVII who has a private revelation that the world is about to end. Rather than allow him to publicize the warning for fear of the consequences, the Roman curia force him to abdicate and retire to a monastery.

What's almost creepy about the book is that it could have been written today with all the societal problems we are experiencing mirroring the portrait of a world in imminent collapse from wars, economic disasters, and general immorality.

Doing a little research on West, I found he wrote four books in what is considered his "Vatican sequence." The first was The Devil's Advocate, the second, The Shoes of the Fisherman. I read both of those years ago, but don't remember much about the stories. The Shoes of the Fisherman, told the story of the first slavic pope. The book was published in 1963 long before Pope John Paul II ascended the papal throne. The book I'm reading now, as I wrote above, tells of a successor who abdicates. Hmm...remind you of anyone?

Did West have a prophetic streak?

And speaking of the apocalypse...if it came tomorrow would you be prepared?


newguy40 said...

Sounds interesting but I've decided not to read any fiction about the Church.
I like some of the historical fiction but it can't be anti Catholic.

I would suggest the Last Policeman trilogy if you like end of the world stories with the addition of a good who dunnit. The first book is especially fresh.

As I sat listening about Joan River's coma and death and how it all started from a "routine" office visit and surgery, I told my wife... THIS is why I keep reminding you the kids about frequent AND sincere confession. We never know when the Lord had decided to call us home.

Anonymous said...

No offense, but I hardly think this guy was a prophet. "Shoes of the Fisherman" is clearly a pro-socialism story!


Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Well, Dawn, I'm not sure being pro-socialist closes a man to having prophetic insights....Don't you think Brave New World is a prophetic book despite the beliefs of the author?

Call it coincidence, but even the name of the Slave pope, Kiril, is an oddly similar to real life. But maybe it's like cloud pictures.

Despite being in an invalid marriage and estranged from the church for many years, West's second wife said he went to Mass every Sunday for his entire life. I think I'll pray my rosary for the repose of his soul today.

And thanks, New Guy for the reading suggestion. I don't read a lot of fiction, but I do like a good mystery story. As Chesterton said, the only thing he'd rather do than write a mystery is read one. (Or something like that.)