THE PARISH OF ST. GREGORY by

THE PARISH OF ST. GREGORY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a series of stories set in a nothern, middle-class, suburban parish and centering on the parish priests, the nuns in the parish school and their various auxiliaries. The tone of the book is sentimental and simple to the point of distortion: the parish Vincent McCorry describes is surely like no parish or place on earth; its closest counterpart is that improbable world which something like Going My Way represents. The priests in this celluloid world are sturdy, likable, regular fellows who can be rascals, and the nuns, if they are not beautiful ex-Prom Queens, are lively sprites whose exuberant spirits can be only partly subdued by the habit. The events precisely described here deal with everyday, likely situations in the life of a parish along with some exceptional, but believable, incidents- the case of an alleged possession by the devil; a fund raising which depended on the results of the Kentucky Derby; and the exposure of a confidence man impersonating a priest. It is the author's style and attitude which one finds distressingly sticky. His habit of constantly referring to the hero as the ""good Monsignor"" does nothing to enhance the character or the stories. Nor does goodness always win in the end and it does not always manifest itself in simplicity and childlike obedience. A mawkish bit of trivia for those who like their clerics presented in pastel.

Publisher: Dodd, Mead