Monday, June 21, 2010

This Gorgeous Game

Donna Freitas' This Gorgeous Game opens with a provocative quote from Thomas Merton: I simply have no business being [in] love and playing around with a girl, however innocently ... After all I am supposed to be a monk with a vow of chastity and though I have kept my vow -- I wonder if I can keep it indefinitely and still play this gorgeous game!
At first I thought, oh no, a sex-abuse-by-clergy story. I've read about the scandals in the newspapers. It makes my heart hurt because the deepest trust is violated.
But from the very beginning I was drawn to what Olivia had to say. This wonderful writer-priest, her idol, is giving her attention, telling her she has a gift from God. The story unfolds and I was reminded of my college days, how smart and pretty young things were given lavish attention by professors, but they didn't know how to stop it without hurting the professor, the very person who is supposedly helping them. This happens in every spectrum of the teaching world, be it religious or secular.
I loved the chapter headings, the division of the book into three parts with quotes from Merton, and most of all the gorgeous writing. Kudos to Ms. Freitas for writing about this sensitive subject without condemning the Catholic Church. The priest is flawed. People forget that priests are human. Just like some mothers are terrible and abuse their children does not make motherhood an evil institution. Likewise with the Catholic church. A few bad priests cannot change what the Catholic Church is -- the Bride of Christ.
I will leave you with Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


Marcia said...

Sounds like a fantastic book, Vijaya. Adding it to my list.

Vijaya said...

Marcia, I wonder whether your book pile is growing like mine ... into almost toppling stacks.

WordWrangler said...

Sounds like ain interesting book, V. I have a list of "wanna read these books" that keeps growing, too. When will I have the time? :)

Vijaya said...

It's always a problem, Donna, no? Too many books, ideas, never enough time.

Mary Witzl said...

I've heard of this book and I really want to read it. I can't imagine it was an easy book to write. I am glad that the author treated this subject with sensitivity. And I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever work my way through my 'to be read' pile!

Having worked in a lot of schools, I've been dismayed to see how teachers (both male and female) sometimes abuse their position of authority over the students -- and get away with it.

Vijaya said...

Mary, the author mentions how difficult this book was to write. I suspect some books have to be written to tell the truth about a situation.

And yes, I think this problem is rife on college campuses. There are so many innocents out there who are vulnerable. It takes a lot of courage to tell on a person who is respected in the community.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi there, Vijaya. Love to read your thought. I will try and give this a read.

Vijaya said...

You won't be disappointed Molly.