DEARLY BELOVED by Harry Sylvaster


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A difficult book to place, bitter, though not inflammatory, not a pretty picture of the Roman Catholic Church and its position in human affairs. A Jesuit priest brings the idea of fisherman's cooperatives to the Southern Shore of Maryland, where colored and white alike have difficulty in disposing of their catch. After a tragic beginning, young Cosgrave, a layman, in imported to carry on the education for the cooperative and administer it. He finds his values, both personal and objective, his ideas and his religion challenged by the situations he encounters. The anti- Negro feeling, his encounters with a wealthy ymphomaniac, his futile attempt to save a Negro innocent of a crime folsted upon him, all combine to force Cosgrave to leave the community, with doubts raised in his mind about his Church and the part played in the affairs of which he'd been a witness. The Catholic angle is argued both ways, the decision left to the reader, with the implication that the Church is not facing issues squarely. The priests are human, understanding, but not of martyr stuff; the community is harsh-lighted for its intolerance. Weigh with care in buying and placing with readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 1941
Publisher: Duell, Sloan & Pearce