Monday, February 16, 2009

Censure by the Vatican of Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory

I just came across this interesting 2001 Atlantic article, Graham Green's Vatican Dossier, which is an account of the censure of Greene's The Power and The Glory by the Vatican. The article gives unexpected insights into two popes' intellectual qualities: Pope Paul VI and currently-reigning Pope Benedict XVI.

The Atlantic article's author, Peter Godman, was intrigued by a brief mention in Greene's Ways of Escape of a meeting with Pope Paul VI, in which the Greene told the pope that the book had been censured and the pope said not to pay attention to the censure. Pope Paul VI did not tell Greene that he knew far more about the topic than he was letting on at the time.

In 2000, Godman obtained consent from Cardinal Ratzinger to investigate the censure in the archives for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Atlantic article is the result of Godman's investigations. Cardinal Ratzinger's involvement is interesting in itself, but an opinion written by Pope Paul VI about the book from when he was Cardinal Giovanni Bautista Montini is the zinger in this piece.

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