EppsNet Archive: Graham Greene

He thought: I didn’t say the right words. Why do I never find the right words? The man needed help and I recited a formula. God forgive me. Will someone only give me a formula too when I come to die? — Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote


He prayed in his silence: O God, make me human, let me feel temptation. Save me from my indifference. — Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote


We Aren’t in Business as Shopkeepers

28 Jul 2011 /

[The Mayor, a Communist, has asked what penance Father Quixote would give him for fornication. Ellipses are in the original.]

“You know–of course you don’t know–I don’t like the taste of tomatoes at all. But suppose Father Heribert Jone had written that it was a mortal sin to eat tomatoes and the old lady who lives next door to me came to me in the church to confess she had eaten a tomato. What penance would I give her? As I don’t eat tomatoes myself I wouldn’t even be able to imagine how deep her depravity might be. Of course a rule would have been broken . . . a rule . . . one can’t avoid knowing that.”

“You are avoiding my question, father, what penance . . . ?”

“Perhaps one Our Father and one Hail Mary.”

“Only one?”

“One said properly must surely be the equal of a hundred run off without thought. I don’t see the point of numbers. We aren’t in business as shopkeepers.”

— Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

Belief and Vodka Both Wear Off

27 Jul 2011 /

“I want to believe. And I want others to believe.”

“Why?”

“I want them to be happy.”

“Let them drink a little vodka then. That’s better than a make-believe.”

“The vodka wears off. It’s wearing off even now.”

“So does belief.”

— Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

Be Disloyal

5 Apr 2009 /

”Be disloyal. It’s your duty to the human race. The human race needs to survive and it’s the loyal man who dies first from anxiety or a bullet or overwork. If you have to earn a living, boy, and the price they make you pay is loyalty, be a double agent — and never let either of the two sides know your real name. The same applies to women and God. They both respect a man they don’t own, and they’ll go on raising the price they are willing to offer.”

— Graham Greene, “Under the Garden”