THE ANGUISH OF FATHER RAFTI by Ben Friedman

THE ANGUISH OF FATHER RAFTI

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Anguished indeed is this exhaustively meticulous investigation of the smoldering vestiges of anti-Semitism which Friedman has found in some of the formal teachings, prayers, and scriptures of the Roman Catholic Church. The fictional framework for this seminar seems ill-considered and strained: a trial has come about because a saintly young priest in a small Texas town has befriended a saintly Jewish shoemaker, a holocaust survivor with a saintly young son. The son is killed by youngsters fired by the conviction that the Jews killed Jesus, and the priest is brought to trial by a Catholic-hating Baptist as the instigator of the murder. The gospels are rigorously examined for congruence and conflicts, and priest and shoemaker, along with other clerics, poke through the theological maze together. The arguments themselves are often serious, responsible, and healthily controversial, and Friedman demonstrates a careful respect for the basic tenets of both religions. However, while a series of declamations, with characters and dialogue equally inert, may generate a debate of middling reach and pitch, it generates disastrously limp fiction.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1978
Publisher: Two Continents