The clowns of God: a novel

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Morrow, 1981 - Fiction - 370 pages
2 Reviews
In a futuristic setting of nuclear holocaust threats and big-power standoffs, the Pope, Gregory XVII, abdicates under duress. The Curia, the governing body of cardinals, convinced of Gregory's insanity when he proclaims his knowledge, through personal relation, of the Second Coming of Christ, relegate him to the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino.

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The Clowns of God

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Welcome to West's two vastly different pontifical portraits. Clowns (1981) finds the pope under fire for declaring to his intimates that the four horsemen of the apocalypse are in full gallop. In the ... Read full review

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I was introduced to the Clowns of God in a Theology class. A few days later I was having a drink with two theologians who were the basis for one of the main characters.
The most authentic Christian
belief is encapsulated in the statement which is often made at the Eucharist "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again" But what happens if the Servant of the Servants of God receives a revelation that indeed the end of the world is at hand, that Christ is coming again, that there is going to be the end of time?
So it is that the Pope Gregory having had a vision and is about to publish an encyclical that the Parousia is at hand is driven from office by the Curia.
His Kung/Mackey colleague is told of what has happened. There is death and international tension and action and the gathering together of the poor and the dispossessed as a community of the faithful.
It is one of my Advent books every year.
Here we split. For those without the faith, it is a rattling good yarn. read it for that.
For those wishing the cutalige of the community of the faithful in whatever way, read it as prophecy. A Pope has retired who had an uneasy relationship with Kung. We have new threats. Read the book and remember that at the end Christ is there, but not is a simple form.


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About the author (1981)

Morris West was born in 1916 in St Kilda, Melbourne. At the age of thirteen, he left home to study with the Christian Brothers Order in Sydney, but left in 1939 after 12 years, before taking his final vows. He was fluent in Italian and French, and taught modern languages and mathematics in New South Wales and Tasmania in his twenties. He spent four years code-breaking as a cipher officer in the AIF, and then for a decade he concentrated on producing and writing radio plays. West's first novel was published in 1945 and he began writing full time in the 1950s. He went to Italy were he went undercover with Father Mario Borelli, who was working with street urchins, and wrote The Children of the Sun, published in 1957. In 1959, following six months as Vatican correspondent for The Daily Mail, he published The Devil's Advocate, which won the William Heinemann Award of the Royal Society, the National Brotherhood Award of the National Council of Christians and Jews as well as the James Tait Black Memorial Award. Shoes of a Fisherman, the first of The Papal Series, which included The Clowns of God, Lazarus and Eminence, won the Best-Sellers Paperback of the Year Award in 1965. West helped to found the Australian Society of Authors, was chairman of the National Book Council, chairman of the National Library of Australia and a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. He was made member of the order of Australia (MBE) in 1985 and officer of the order of Australia (AO) in 1997. Apart from writing novels, West also wrote screenplays, radio dramas, plays and was also an artist. Translated into twenty-seven languages, his works have sold more that sixty million copies. He also wrote an account on his spiritual journey, A View From the Ridge, published at the end of 1996. Morris West died while working at his desk on 9th October 1999.

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