Friday, May 30, 2008

Pillars of the Earth

My wife told me that I would enjoy this because I rather like the medieval period. The book moves swiftly, and is not weighted towards irreligion. He doesn’t give an anti-clerical slant by having all the priests drunken, greedy, lecherous pigs. Even the villainous priests are described as wanting to do the will of God, but misapprehending that will. Not all the people are people of faith. The builder who actually builds the cathedral is more interested in the building as a way to fulfillment of his artistic ideas than he is in worshipping God. One of the primary female characters, Ellen, is anti-clerical and anti-religion.

One jarring note is that people sometimes receive absolution in advance. I don’t know if this was common, but about 200 years later the practice was condemned by Dante in Canto XXVII of the Inferno. Guido da Montefeltro is the false counselor who was promised absolution in advance of his sin. The rationale for not regarding the absolution of a sin prior to its commission as valid is that the sacrament is premised on sorrow for the sin. This cannot be anticipatory.

Next up some movies, primarily Sinatra, and Manxome Foe, another John Ringo novel.