Monday, May 31, 2010

The Mystery of the Church

"I shall pray," the man said without hope.

"Why not?" Scobie said.

"You are an Englishman. You wouldn't believe in prayer."

"I'm a Catholic, too," Scobie said.

The fat face looked quickly up at him. "A Catholic?" he exclaimed with hope. For the first time he began to plead. He was like a man who meets a fellow countryman in a strange continent. He began to talk rapidly of his daughter in Leipzig; he produced a battered pocketbook and a yellowing snap-shot of a stout young Portuguese woman as graceless as himself. The little bathroom was stiflingly hot and the captain repeated again and again. "You will understand." He had discovered suddenly how much they had in common: the plaster statues with the swords in the bleeding heart; the whisper behind the confessional curtains; the holy coats and the liquefaction of blood; the dark side chapels and the intricate movements, and somewhere behind it all the love of God. . . . They had in common all the wide region of repentance and longing.

From THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene.

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