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The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson
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The Cardinal (1950)

by Henry Morton Robinson

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Hefty novel that traces the rise of a young man in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. We first meet Stephen Fermoyle on the deck of an ocean liner in 1915 and the book's epilogue closes with him on the deck of a different ocean liner in 1937, just prior to the Second World War. As one might anticipate, the book is dominated by men and their friendships and networks within the Church; women are allotted the roles of wife, mother, nurse and nun. That said, Stephen Fermoyle is supposed to introduce us to the wide ranging talents of the men in charge of the bureaucratic, administrative entity that is the Catholic Church and most particularly, the Vatican. The book stresses the differences between the American and the European Church(es) in terms of expectations and stress points. The Catholic issues that dominate are those pertaining to the sanctity of life; modern sensibilities may be offended by the editorial stance expressed late in the book regarding the use of birth control. This was an international bestseller in 1950 and to be fair, the novel is well-structured and characterization is fairly robust.. Morton touches as well on the political, cultural, and diplomatic influence of the Vatican, but primarily focuses on the positive work done by the individuals who make up the Catholic Church. ( )
1 vote jillmwo | Jan 2, 2010 |
The title reminded me of the Monty Python skit "The Bishop" and it does have some of those qualities. It was written during the time when pulp fiction ruled and some of its sensibilities are the same (last minute rescues, amazing coincidences). It was interesting to me because it gives a view of the Catholic church from the point of view of a young priest moving up through the hierarchy. I have friends who were raised Catholic so it gave me some insight into that religious world. Certainly it's a picture of an *ideal* Catholic so don't expect scandal or reform in this one. ( )
  andersonden | Dec 22, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Henry Morton Robinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Galli de' Furlani, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oldenburg Ermke, F. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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