Catholics Paperback – 20 Feb 1992
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From the Back Cover
"The story is told with . . . superb grace and wit."--The New Yorker
"If reading it upsets you, do not be surprised. . . . Moore has eliminated our standard escapes from God--a secularized Kingdom or a romanticized past."--America
"A neat and striking story."--Times Literary Supplement
In the not-too-distant future, the Fourth Vatican Council has abolished private confession, clerical dress, and the Latin Mass, and opened discussions about a merger with Buddhism. Authorities in Rome are embarrassed by publicity surrounding a group of monks who stubbornly celebrate the old Mass in their island abbey off the coast of Ireland. The clever, assured Father James Kinsella is dispatched to set things right. At Muck Abbey he meets Abbot Tomas, a man plagued by doubt who nevertheless leads his monks in the old ways. In the hands of the masterly Brian Moore, their confrontation becomes a subtle, provocative parable of doubt and faith. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Brian Moore (1921-1999) was born in Ireland and lived most of his adult life in Canada and the United States. He was the author of many novels, including "Black Robe," "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne," and "The Color of Bood." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Moore's sparse, taut prose and his incisive understanding of the traditionalists' position make this a fascinating read, and the tension builds steadily until the very last page of the book, when the inherent flaw in the traditionalists' position - obedience to authority - is deployed to devastating effect.
But the outer plot, the abbott's duel with the superior sent to 'get that fool off the mountain' is only half the story. The abbott's own spiritual desolation, and the emptiness of his opponent's belief system provide the internal tension that make this a tremendously powerful read.
A priest is sent from Rome with instruction to the Abbot of Muck - on a barely habitable island off the Irish mainland - to cease forthwith saying Mass in Latin and obey the other demands of the Vatican IV Papal Bull, which was designed to drag the faith into the 21st century. The old ways of saying Mass practised on the island and on a hillside on the mainland have attracted media attention due to the tourists who flock in droves to join the faithful. It is no longer seemly to have Vatican IV disobeyed.
There is very little discussion to take place. The Abbot's duty is to obey the Church of Rome. We are given insight into the thoughts of the Abbot, who is not, as he says, a holy man. In the end he must confront his own feelings and convictions. It is a measure of this very short book (102pp) that it brings to the secular reader a sense of how momentous this moment was, in both the practise of Catholicism and in the mind of the Abbot. Whatever one believes, it cannot be said to leave one cold.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting novel, only purchased it because my father had asked for the DVD. Quality was fine, interesting plot which probably has a limited audience.Published on 21 April 2014 by pf