By lashing out against others and saying they see evil in them, they are able to transfer their guilt. Evil people are also unable to assume the viewpoint of their victims, and so they lack empathy for the hurt they have caused with their cruel words and deeds. They cannot bear the pain of introspection. Their own will trumps all others, and they take no responsibility for the damage they do. So far Trump has paid little price for defying norms and breaking laws. Even our best-intentioned leaders lack effective means to contain the raging fires of fascism, tribal hatred, and climate suicide.
We need an exorcism. Immediately he sucks down the crime into himself, makes it one with his own horrible substance, digests without once rousing from his terrifying eternal lethargy. None of us is exempt from its gravitational pull. Even as we resist its malignancy, we risk being tainted by it, feeding it with our own fascinated loathing.
Gaze at it too long and your own heart turns to stone. He who condemns sin becomes part of it, espouses it. Who cares for your quarrels? Mere empty gestures, meaningless cries——spent breath. Come what may, death will soon have struck you both to silence, to rigid quiet. Who cares, if from now on you are linked together in evil, trapped all three in the same snare of vice, the same bond of evil flesh, companions——yes, companions for all eternity.
His only remedy is the downward path into the depths of the human shadow, facing the condition of our fallenness with honesty and humility. Aided by a wise companion Virgil and protected by the powers of heaven, he makes his harrowing descent into the underworld. Along the way, various monsters and demons try to hinder his pilgrimage. His body is that of a serpent the archetypal deceiver and his tail wields the poisonous sting of a scorpion. Facing his fear of the beast and accepting the dangers of the downward passage enable Dante to continue. As Helen Luke insists in her Jungian interpretation of the Inferno , the journey toward wholeness requires us to embrace our shadow and hold on tight.
He finds Lucifer, or what is left of him, forever stuck in ice of his own making the bitter wind generated by his flapping batwings freezes the outflow of infernal rivers. His single head has three faces, each with a different sickly hue. The mouth of each face chews without swallowing the body of a notorious traitor. Everything about him is a wretched parody of the Divine.
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The three faces parody the Trinity, the freezing wind parodies the life-giving breath of the Holy Spirit, the eternal chewing parodies the eucharist. Dante scholars Charles H. Dis stands frozen at the nadir of Hell as the emblem of lovelessness, the coldheartedness at the core of our deepest failures to be human. In Perelandra , C. Ages ago it had been a Person; but the ruins of personality now survived in it only as weapons at the disposal of a furious self-exiled negation. What does all this add up to?
Although these various literary and psychological descriptions of evil seem chillingly on the mark with respect to our current political situation, the point is not to demonize Trump. He is doing a fine job of that without our help, and he is a symptom more than a cause. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know.
The job of politics is to summon the good and beat back the evil. Good and evil are not usual subjects for political discourse, but we live in apocalyptic times. Souls are at stake, the human future is at stake, and to ignore the spiritual dimension of our current crisis only gives the advantage to the malignant shadow trying to consume the world.
This book at first seemed like a disjointed work. It was not until I was almost through the novel that the pieces came together and clicked and a realised cohesion in the novel.
I will be honest at times this was not an east story to read. His ability to capture spiritual anguish and anxiety is penetrating. His representation of a trial with the devil is dark and disturbing. The story at first appeared disjointed. But once the different arcs of the story come together it culminates in a very powerful way. This book is not for the faint of heart. It was a hard read but, in the end, well worth it. I cannot say I loved this story.
I did appreciate it. But I can categorically state that these new editions by Cluny are excellent. Both in their quality, and for the fact that they are bringing back in print classics such as this story. I look forward to reading many more books from Cluny as they are continuously expanding their offerings. Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More. Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: Catholic Reading Plan! Mar 03, James rated it really liked it. I won't normally put books read for dissertation purposes up here, but this one deserves a review Bernanos was one of the most important French Catholic novelists of the 20th century.
This book is intense, mostly in a good way. Essentially it's an attempt to imagine what it would be like if a modern saint were born in the twentieth century, written by someone who truly hates the twentieth century and does not think a saint could find a place in it. There are some very creepy exorcist-style sce I won't normally put books read for dissertation purposes up here, but this one deserves a review Bernanos was one of the most important French Catholic novelists of the 20th century.
There are some very creepy exorcist-style scenes with the devil, but neither the putative saint nor the reader is clear how real any of this is. Anyway, it's the only book I've read since my sunday school days that has made me feel truly wretched about myself. That's part of the problem with this book, though: it has absolutely no sense of humor or irony, which maybe made sense in '26 but doesn't now.
Nothing for Bernanos is in quotation marks. Maybe now we need a postmodern saint Obama? View 1 comment. Sep 15, Thomas rated it really liked it. In early 20th century France, a simple-minded country priest fights a hopeless battle against the sins of his parishioners and at times, he believes, even Satan himself, incarnate and appearing before him to mock his efforts.
His desperate zealotry leads him to extreme measures, from asceticism to self-flagellation to even rejecting his own salvation. This novel is gets pretty intense after a slow start, so stick with it. Regarding the main character: I doubt author Georges Bernanos meant for Fa In early 20th century France, a simple-minded country priest fights a hopeless battle against the sins of his parishioners and at times, he believes, even Satan himself, incarnate and appearing before him to mock his efforts. Regarding the main character: I doubt author Georges Bernanos meant for Father Donissan to be viewed as a madman, but he comes across that way at times.
He's just got more motivation than sense, and his not particularly agile mind is ill prepared to handle the stress of the many, many confessions he receives. That's how I read him, anyway. A very interesting character unlike any other. Curiosity killed the cat. An abject young priest encounters the Evil One in provincial France. Sounds interesting enough, but Bernanos takes it in an unexpected direction.
This novel is not a supernatural thriller, rather it is an exploration on the banality of evil, spiritual agony, despair, misunderstandings. Bernanos' Saint of Lumbres is not a joyful saint; his way is the via Dolorosa, most especially the mystery of the scourging. But spiritual agony is not an easy subject for an author to convey, and often I felt mys An abject young priest encounters the Evil One in provincial France. But spiritual agony is not an easy subject for an author to convey, and often I felt myself lost in the oscillating emotional and spiritual states that Bernanos and his Enlgish translator was trying to describe.
A large chunk of this novel covers a single night, but felt like an eternity; perhaps that was the intended effect. If you're a sanguine person, I wouldn't recommend this novel. Przegadana, przeegzaltowana, mocno chaotyczna i potwornie nudna ramota. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Soare al lui Satan! Sfantul din Lumbres nu mai are forta decat sa cheme inspaimantatoarea odihna; gratia divina pune un voal in fata acestor ochi mai devreme inca plini de misterup sublim Apr 08, Paul rated it it was ok.
It is special in a very spiritual way, for from the opening scene to the heartbreaking finale, the viewer watches the main character's idealistic outlook dashed by circumstances he couldn't possibly be prepared for. The fact that Bresson is known for coaxing flat and unexpressive performances from his actors makes the overwhelming effect of this character study all the more impressive. His work is evidence that great special effects or Oscar worthy performances are not always necessary ingredients for a captivating, powerful movie.
I have now watched three Bresson films with 'A Man Escaped' and 'Pickpocket' being the ones that I watched prior to this one. Each film has a male protagonist going through intense inner struggle but each of these three men have different sensibilities and worldly outlook. The priest in 'Diary of a Country Priest' is a physically petite and a psychologically broken character. He is burdened with doubt and is troubled by the hostility in his surroundings. Unfortunately just like the case was with the other two films, I found myself appreciating the film a whole lot more than finding it lovable.
Just like 'A Man Escaped' I found myself frustrated with the overtly expository nature of the voice-over narration in the film. I find Bresson's exploration of faith and the priest's pursuit of the meaning of life and existence interesting, but I find Bresson's distant style with the coldness of movement both in terms of acting and storytelling very jarring considering the intimate nature of the subject itself.
Bresson remains a director that I respect and whose importance in the history of French cinema, I acknowledge. However he also still remains for the time being, a filmmaker whose works I find frustrating. Purity that clings to self chaos-rampant 28 February This is adapted from a book apparently but seems to be very much a personal diary.
A pious young priest, I take this to be Bresson himself, arrives at a remote village during the war. He's idealistic and wants to be of help, is eager to knock on doors and upset normalcy. The very first line on his diary, he writes on it throughout, delineates a whole worldview here; absolute frankness, the most insignificant secrets of life, life without a trace of mystery, laid bare.
His intense sincerity is curious to those around him, a local churchman wonders with disapproval if he's not better off becoming a monk, this is a peoples job he says implying people just want to go on as they do with the small of life, not be upset in how they rationalize what they do.
And this is all so we can find ahead of us a life that retains its confounding mystery, a mystery that conceals hurt. A mother who has been so numbed by the loss of a child she turns a blind eye to suffering in her home. Two girls, both in unhappy homes, one smitten by him, the other comes to revile him because he preaches resignation and she's burning up with a desire to run off from an unhappy life.
There are several good things here. But I hit a stumbling block as a viewer in the philosophy behind it, I take this to be Bresson's; anguish as deep truth, obstinacy as spiritual fortitude, renounciation of life but his kind only imparts gloom and dejection. This is all crude to me. For example the priest has a letter that would exonerate him from a certain wrongdoing being rumored but says nothing about it, the silence gives him strength. But, if we're here to take care of life and lead a way out of suffering, that means taking care of our own selves as well and doing everything we can to dispel illusion.
This is just needless ego as purity; how is anyone better off not knowing that she really died in peace? It's all essentially coming from Christian notions of grace where the body has to be mortified, the soul atone for sin by dejection, and the resulting anguish as proof of being close to the truth and price paid for it. This is all baggage for me, a romanticism of suffering in place of clear seeing. I know of a more eloquent "resignation" which he preaches in Buddhist non-attachment; a cessation of ego that doesn't demand self-mortification.
Another possible reading is too tantalizing to ignore but would go against the grain of why the film is lauded as pure and deep. We see a young man who is well-meaning but a little befuddled in his efforts to be pure; he drives himself to sickness by his ascetic lifestyle and begins gradually to confuse the pain of that sickness with a pious torment of the soul in the course of doing the right thing, a surrogate Christ bearing the sins of mankind.
It's only too late that he comes to recognize that love is all, awakened by how it has been wasted in his old classmate's home a cynical, self- absorbed version of his intellectual self. Maybe this was early for Bresson; I find this to be purism that is still beholden to self and preconceived ideas. Maybe his next films shed some light.
Stunning performance by Laydu gkbazalo 19 July The new village priest Claude Laydu is stymied in every attempt to make contact with the inhabitants of the village. Young and old, rich and poor, male and female reject him. He has one bright moment when a young man, a member of the Foreign Legion, speaks to him as a comrade. The main thing for me in this film was the performance of Laydu. He is not imposing physically, but he gradually makes the character of young priest, who is not even named in the film, one of the most memorable in all films.
I also enjoyed Bresson's Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne and look forward to seeing other of his films. This one is one of the most novelistic films I've ever seen.
The Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos Lesson Plans
I haven't read the source material, yet, but I feel that it's been adapted almost word-by-word. Even the scenery, the landscapes, the interiors, the characters' faces appear to be like pictures, imaginations you have in your mind when you read a novel and experience the story through the subjectivity of the main protagonist - dreamlike, mysterious, vague, greyish, dark, incomprehensible. Every scene in the film shows a moment in the life of the young, idealistic priest as a depiction of his being, his disease, his questions and his silence. These bits and facets slowly come together for the viewer - just as for the protagonist himself.
The last shot of the cross is the summary and the extension of the film: grey, hazy, crooked, almost without contours it is not a sign of victory and redemption, but a remembrance of the endlessness of the grey landscapes, the dark buildings, the incomprehensible gestures, recalling the suffering and immense loneliness of the priest. It recapitulates his pain and is a sign of torment. Now that I've seen one film by Bresson made before this one and several made after this week, Journal is a transition in the filmography and contains seeds of almost every moment in Bressons later works, especially the typical Bressonian techniques of sound editing, and, of course, the unique monotony and brilliant coherence of the images.
Much has been said already in these comments about the religious aspects of this film and I tend to agree with most of what has been said. So I wish to focus on other aspects of this film. I was struggling for a little while with the style but from about a third of the way in I was transfixed and am looking forward to watching it again now.
The only reason I don't give it a higher rating is that I feel that it is perhaps about minutes too long. Although on the whole the proceedings are very understated there is a moment of high drama when the young priest takes on La Comtesse, over the way she is coping with a bereavement, quite a scene! In my view it is important in any film or play that at least one of the characters has our sympathy and Laydu carries you along with him. You genuinely feel a shaft of light has come through the clouds when he meets Oscar and gets a lift to the station.
At last a friend amongst these awful parishioners, but all too late. I've seen many a great film and this is up there with the best. One reviewer has mentioned the importance of the fact that the priest exists mainly on bread and wine. This seems to me to point to the fundamental theme in the movie.
Because the movie doesn't simply portray the isolation of the priest from the community but also their isolation from him. In feeling isolated from him they resent him and treat him with some unkindness. What is the priest's disease? Surely, it is not so much cancer as his own purity. He is too much a priest and too little a human being. He sees his suffering as being godliness. As though it is some necessary part of being a priest.
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He chooses to suffer for the sake of his religion, whereas Christ endured his suffering because he had no choice. The priest hardly ever smiles. He looks out upon sinful humanity from the purity of his little room at the top and there is a great gulf between himself and them. He cannot relate to them nor they to him. In practicing his religion with youthful earnestness he overlooks one important fact. Jesus was above all a human being. He surrounded himself with humans, ate and drank with them, laughed and wept with them.
He certainly knew that they sinned, but he also understood the reasons for it, and saw his role as that of the shepherd who cajoles his flock along the correct path, rather than that of someone who draws lines in the sand and says "This you must not cross". Above all, Jesus had compassion, a quality not so much lacking as suppressed by the young priest.
In doing so he is unable to offer the daughter of the manor the love NOT romantic love which she yearns for.
MartinHafer 10 October This is at times a hard movie to watch. The young priest is so obviously clinically depressed and struggles with both this and a stomach ailment. Despite this AND occasional doubts, he is somehow rather effective as a priest to a community that is not the least bit grateful. In particular, I liked the scene where he confronted the rich grieving mother about her selfishness and lack of faith.
Though tough to watch, it seemed very real and the priest somehow worked through this quite well. Do not be put off by how depressed and screwed up the priest seems--the conclusion, though sad, helps to explain and put everything into perspective. Unlike the selfish jerk of a priest in Bergman's film he helped kill a man due to his indifference when the man came to him for help AND he seemed to not care a whit when the man killed himself , this priest has many problems but ultimately seemed very decent. An error has occured. Please try again.
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