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madbkwm

madbkwm

Morte D'Urban - J.F. Powers, Elizabeth Hardwick So this whole book is about the secular and political concerns of the Order of Clementine. I was not actually aware of the hierarchy (yeah, I knew there were bishops and archbishops, etc) and the political relationships between the orders.

Urban is a great anti-hero. In the beginning we are led to believe that he is so charismatic and charming that he is capable of converting all he encounters and (more importantly) convincing them to make lots of donations. Certainly, through the course of the novel we see Urban succeed, but ultimately he can only succeed while he is not in power. As soon as he is responsible (or feels responsible), things start to fall apart; he loses Billy, he is unsuccessful at rescuing Katie, he angers Sally (and Sylvia). Finally, at the height of his failure he is promoted to Provincial. The irony here is applaudable.

There were several great quips throughout:
"Londoners caught in the blitz--taxi drivers, young lovers, old drunks, old tea drinkers, nurses, surgeons, everybody--went right on with whatever they happened to be doing, and each time there was an explosion, they seemed to have the best of it, to have the last word, by saying nothing." and "He knew what he had to do--nothing. He had Wilf where he wanted him. As long as the situation remained unchanged, each passing moment would redound to one man's credit and to the other's shame." I love this sentiment. Frequently, I tell my children that I can't wait until the moment that one of them responds to the pestering of the other with "whatever" rather than getting upset and engaging in the fight.

I also loved "only great saints and little children lived each moment for all it was worth." because I am always striving to just enjoy each moment as it comes.

Overall it has a few funny moments and it was certainly enlightening because I didn't know a whole lot about the structure of the internal workings of the Catholic church.