…anyone wishing to understand the complexity of post-war Western European politics and culture has to start with The Little World of Don Camillo. (The nuns made me read the books…).
These books contain excellent theology…. :-).
For example, in the following passage, Don Camillo, the parish priest, has given absolution and penance to Beppone, the Communist Mayor of the village and his sworn enemy, who has confessed to beating him up. Whilst Beppone is praying, Don Camillo turns to the Lord, with whom he has many conversations….
“Lord, if I have been a worthy servant to you, grant me one small favour. Let me at least hit him with this candle. After all, Lord, what is a candle?”
“No”, replied Christ, “Your hands were made for blessing.”
Don Camillo sighed wearily. He genuflected and left the altar.
As he turned to make a final sign of the cross, he found himself behind Peppone who still knelt at the communion rails and appeared absorbed in prayer.
“Lord”, groaned Don Camillo, clasping his hands and looking up at the crucifix, “My hands were made for blessing, but not my feet”.
“There’s something in that” replied Christ, “but, I warn you, just one”.
The kick landed like a thunderbolt. Peppone didn’t bat an eye.
After a minute he got up and sighed.
“I’ve been expecting that for the past ten minutes,” he remarked casually, “I feel better now.”
“So do I” exclaimed Don Camillo whose heart was now as light and serene as a May morning.
Christ said nothing at all but it was easy to see that He too was pleased.
I took this passage from the excellent blog Linen on the Hedgerow.
Recently on BBC Radio 4 as well.