I was a couple of days behind on my reading, and dog-tired from the two concert nights, so I woke up rather late this morning to find the following text message on my mobile phone, from my friend cafedave, who has been reading along faithfully with us (albeit silently as far as the blogosphere is concerned).

The text read simply:

No way! Helene is converting to Catholicism to get an annulment!

It’s something about first thing in the morning that this message didn’t make a lot of sense.  I was lying there thinking, “I don’t know any Helene.  Do I know a Helene?  Maybe Dave meant to send this message to his wife talking about someone they knew and he accidentally sent it to me.”

So I was about halfway through the response text when it suddenly dawned on me what it was all about . . .

Yes, indeed, we do have a convert to Catholicism in the amazing Helene.  Maybe it’s because we’ve been in dark battle mode for so long, but there’s something subtly amusing about this whole chapter.  The way she plays the two lovers off against each other, the Jesuits who hope to get a donation, and the priest who knows exactly what she’s after but doesn’t want to admit that the system can be corrupted so well.

Oh dear . . .

5 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 11.6 – Conversion

  1. I, too, saw this chapter as a bit of humorous relief – and, I suspect, a fairly caustic attack on the Catholic Church at the same time, where, it seems, almost anything is able to be justified if you try hard enough (or pay enough). And I can’t help but seeing a dark irony in the fact that it is to Catholicism that Helene turns to get her marriage annulled – Catholicism, the religion that has the reputation of being the most uncompromising of all on these sorts of issues. I can only assume that the Catholic Church of the day (and maybe even of today) would, despite the humour that we can see here, have not been the least bit amused!!

  2. Well, you can probably guess I wasn’t amused with that . . . I thought it was disgusting – her converting to Catholicism.

    So she can marry again – what kinda’ hypocrisy is that?

  3. Interesting question, Carly – and I suspect the answer would depend upon to whom or to what Pierre is prepared to offer the most money.

  4. I was curious to know what was meant by ‘Columbus’ Egg’ . . . so I googled to find this:


    The expression refers to a popular story of how Columbus, having been told that discovering the Americas was no great accomplishment, challenged his critics to make an egg stand on its tip; and, after they gave up, he did it himself by tapping the egg on the table so as to flatten its tip.

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