The Power and the Glory (Penguin Classics)
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"Graham Greene's masterpiece" —John Updike)
In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, the Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly “whiskey priest” is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.
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you any cards? No. He sighed. Then that's no good, and giggled-she could smell the beer on his breath- I shall just have to pray for you. She said: You don't sound afraid. A little drink, he said, will work wonders in a cowardly  man. With a little brandy, why, I'd defy-the devil. He stumbled in the doorway. Good-bye, she said. I hope you'll escape. A faint sigh came out of the darkness: she said gently: If they kill you I shan't forgive them-ever. She was ready to accept any
shapes the woman cried again-that finished cry of protest and abandonment and pleasure. It's the priests who've done it, the old man said. The priests? The priests. Why the priests? The priests. A low voice near his knees said: The old man's crazy. What's the use of asking him questions? Is that you, Catarina? He added: I don't really believe it, you know. It's just a question. Now I've got something to complain about, the voice went on. A mans got to defend his honour. You'll admit that,
couldn't catch what she said, but it was something about the Good Thief. He said: My child, the thief repented. I haven't repented. He remembered her coming into the hut, the dark malicious knowing look with the sunlight at her back. He said: I don't know how to repent. That was true: he had lost the faculty. He couldn't say to himself that he wished his sin had never existed, because the sin seemed to him now so unimportant- and he loved the fruit of it. He needed a confessor to draw his mind
always begin to feel pity ... that was a quality God's image carried with it ... when you saw the lines at the corners of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate. Hate was just a failure of imagination. He began again to feel an enormous responsibility for this pious woman. You and Padre José, she said. It's people like you who make people mock-at real religion. She had, after all, as many excuses as the half-caste. He saw the kind of salon in  which
pointed to the door of the excusado beyond the tap. Report to me when you've finished that, he said, and went bellowing orders back into the yard. The priest bent down and took the pail: it was full and very heavy: he went bowed with the weight across the yard: sweat got into his eyes. He wiped them free and saw one behind another in the washing queue faces he knew-the hostages. There was Miguel, whom he had seen taken away: he remembered the mother screaming out and the lieutenant's tired anger