The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene, is a story of an old “whiskey priest” trying to escape capture in old southern Mexico. The State had outlawed God. Churches were closed and destroyed. Priests either had to marry, by law, or be killed, almost all opting for death. The Padre finds himself being the only priest, surrounded by the spiritual needy and the demons of his own life, trying to make sense of everything.
I found this book to be a quick read that I found to be thought provoking. I’ve heard much about this work before sitting down and reading it. I expected the internal conflict within the priest to be greater than what it was. His struggle, while very real, was a struggle between his thought and his action. His thought did not seem to battle itself—he seemed clear that he was a bad priest, that is, a horrible priest not worthy of the title. However, through his actions, he helped the faith of the people whom he admitted he failed in saving.
Looking at the whole of the book, it reminds us that martyrs may not be the ones you expect. Those who are completely unsure of his place in life or of his faith may be asked to sacrifice it all. Those who continue the walk of Christ despite the painful death it will cause is a martyr. They may be lacking in faith and devotion, but there is something holy in the unexpected martyr that, in many cases, speaks loudly to people facing the same crisis of faith.
The work is very good, but I cannot give it five stars. To get five stars, a book has to keep me thinking about it days after I finish reading it. This one was close, but not quite.