Thursday, September 11, 2014

Father Ralph's Religious Struggle

I watched The Thorn Birds last week.  The Thorn Birds was a 1983 miniseries about a priest, Ralph de Bricassart, who was in love with a woman named Meggie.  It was based on a 1977 novel by Colleen McCullough.

It was quite a miniseries, let me tell you that!  Overall, I liked the characters and the actors and actresses playing them.  My main problem, however, is that I do not entirely understand Father Ralph’s religious struggle.

Throughout the miniseries, Father Ralph believes that he must choose between God and Meggie.  I can understand his conceptualization of the “Meggie” choice: part of him wants to be with the woman he loves and to have a family with her.  What is unclear to me is how he was conceptualizing the “God” choice.  Did that entail serving others?  In the first episode, Father Ralph tells Frank about his desire to be a conduit for God.  The thing is, though, Father Ralph would leave Australia, the place of his service, so that he could become a Cardinal and later an Archbishop.  Maybe he was even hoping to become pope!

Father Ralph did have ambition.  He did not just want to be a lowly priest serving people in Australia.  He wanted more than that.  But how is that serving God?  I think part of my problem is my lack of knowledge of what a Cardinal or Archbishop actually does.  To me, Father Ralph was serving God most when he was being a loving presence in Australia.  What was his service to God like when he was a Cardinal and Archbishop?

Anyway, my Mom has read the book, and she says it goes into more detail about Father Ralph’s religious struggle.  I may read it.

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