Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Balancing Politics and Life: Don Camillo's Dilemma

Don Camillo's Dilemma by Giovanni Guareschi, translated by Frances Frenaye

This is the third Don Camillo book I've read (after The Little World of Don Camillo and Don Camillo and His Flock). Each is full of short stories of a hot-headed parish priest, Don Camillo. In this book, the stories focus on Don Camillo's relations with those of the opposite party, the Communists, who drive him to sin (literally) and yet soothe and inspire him.

As always, Don Camillo shares his frustrations with the statue of the crucified Christ at his parish, who speaks back.
"Lord," he asked, "who can possibly understand these people?"
 "I can," the Crucified Christ answered, smiling.
Though he tries to stand firm in what he thinks is his party's stance, Don Camillo is frequently reminded that people are, well, people first. Sometimes, politics must stand aside.
"Theory's one thing and practice is another," said Tofini. "A man's got to live."
"What matters more is that he's got to die. And our accounts with God are more important than those with any shopkeeper."
"God can wait," laughed Tofini, "the shopkeeper won't give me anything to eat until I play."
The struggle between political parties is as prevalent today as in Don Camillo's time. It's good to find laughter in the struggle.

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