The Criticism of Roman Catholicism in "Chronicle of a Death Foretold".

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Period 1A

September 28, 2012

Criticism of Roman Catholicism in the Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Throughout the course of life, people immerse themselves in faiths that set a lifestyle. Such a religion is present in the Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez in the form of Roman Catholicism. This chronicle is an account of the series of events that lead up to the murder of Santiago Nasar. Marquez successfully interweaves negative Catholic elements with the plot of the novel. He extensively criticizes Roman Catholicism by exposing the pious believers’ hypocrisy within the religion, their lack of adherence to core religious values, and the critical Catholic figures’ incompetency.

Marquez highlights the people of the community as hypocrites due to their uncommitted lifestyles. Instead of condemning the Vicario brothers for their murder of Santiago Nasar, the priest “recall[s] the surrender as an act of dignity” after the twin had been captured by the police (49). Vicario brothers-followers-act against the Church when they murder Nasar although the Ten Commandments state that ‘thou shalt not kill.’ Ironically, Catholic values are used to rationalize the crime that was committed against the words of key Catholic code of action. A true believer should leave all judgments and punishments to the divine adjudication of God. Despite the priest being someone who conveys the words of God, he justifies a crime explicitly prohibited in the bible. Through this, the readers are able to perceive that God is actually condoning actions that contradict biblical statements. Therefore, the value of Catholic religion’s divinity is diminished. In another instance, Father Amador reflects on the reason behind his failure to warn Santiago Nasar as he, “didn’t know what to do…[His] first thought was that it wasn’t any business of [his] but something for the civil authorities...” (80). When the priest realizes that his followers are about to commit a severe crime that violates the ideals of Catholicism, he should intervene and chastise the followers instead of passively standing by. On the other hand, Father Amador simply puts such a responsibility off on to the laps of the civil authorities. Marquez is able to accentuate the failure of Church to uphold their high moral standards that are inscribed in the Bible. The authorities of the Church are unable to guide the local community into a mindset with high morality; instead the representatives themselves act in ways opposite to the words inscribed. Although the judicial system should be put to have the final say on disputes, the church should also have an obligation to curb its followers to act with integrity to the words in the Bible. The hypocrisy of the priest undermines the validity and credibility of the ideals in the Bible and in other sacred texts. Thus, others are able to grasp that Catholicism is a religion more of words than real exemplary actions.

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The absence of religious values is another important point brought up by Marquez to criticize the Roman Catholic Church. Nasar’s town as a whole had dressed in its best clothes with jubilations for the arrival of the bishop, and yet Plácida Linero mentions that, “...the bishop didn’t get off his boat...the boat didn’t stop...the bishop began to make the sign of the cross in the air opposite the crowd on the pier, and he kept on doing it mechanically afterwards…until the boat was lost from view...” (16). Although the people had anticipated the bishop’s visit, he does not even take ...

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