Graham Greene and The Power and the Glory
In gaining an understanding of Graham Greene, there was much to be discovered about this man and author. Greene had the inherent ability to take his many life experiences and apply them to thought provoking novels that, at times, seem to challenge mainstream religion or government politics. The Power and the Glory, published in 1940, is one of Greene's more popular novels. It is a story that depicts a catholic priest who struggles with life's problems associated with faith, inner conflict, love, and addiction, perhaps revealing a parallel with this fictional character, the Whisky Priest, and his own personal experiences.
The Power and the Glory portrays fictional characters living under religious persecution in Mexico after the Mexican Revolution of 1910. During this period, there were clashes between the state and the church. Under the presidency of Plutarco Elias Calles (1924-28), anti-clerical measures were adopted and organized religion was banned.
Calles believed that the Catholic Church was responsible for spreading superstition and that priests were corrupt, greedy, and responsible for the poverty in Mexico. Calles formed the National Revolution Party, a coalition of military, labor, and peasant organizations that totally excluded the church from the party.
During this time, churches were closed, and religious persecution was the policy of the government. Many priests were shot as traitors, and people possessing Bibles were heavily fined or imprisoned. As a result, the Catholic Church suspended all religious ceremonies and sponsored the Cristeros rebellion in Western Mexico The majority of priests fled the country or left the church (McCreary 80-94). It is against this backdrop that the action of The Power and the Glory takes place (Allot 4).
In the novel, there is religious persecution in some provinces of Mexico, whereas in others, priests are...