Thursday, January 29, 2009

It needed a God to Die for the Half-Hearted and Corrupt

"Shall I tell you what I've done? -- It's your business to listen. I've taken money from women to do you know what, and I've given money to boys . . . "

"I don't want to hear"

"It's your business."

"You're mistaken."

"Oh no I'm not. You can't deceive me. Listen. I've given money to boys -- you know what I mean. And I've eaten meat on Fridays." The awful jumble of the gross, the trivial and the grotesque show up between the two yellow fangs and the hand on the priest's ankle shook and shook with the fever. "I've told lies, I haven't fasted in Lent for I don't know how many years. Once I had two women -- I'll tell you what I did ..." He had an immense self-importance: he was unable to picture a world of which he was only a typical part--a world of treachery, violence, and lust in which his shame was altogether insignificant. How often the priest had heard the same confession--Man was so limited: he hadn't even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much. It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard around you, the greater glory lay around the death: it was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or a civilization. It needed a God to die for the half-hearted and corrupt. . . . .


- The Whiskey Priest and the Mestizo from Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory

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