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Novelette: Trouble at the Vatican

The novel can be described as a futuristic satire and so could appear in the science fiction department of a library if it were to be published.

Description ‘Trouble at the Vatican’

I originally began this novel when I was working in East Germany a year after the Wall came down. Conditions had changed little from GDR at that time. At the horticultural workers’ hostel where I was staying at the time, the black and white television was on its last legs and the local library had very few books which caught my interest. There were, of course, a few of the classics of German literature available at the library, but at university I had read enough German literature for several lifetimes and so I wrote a section or chapter of the novel every evening for my own amusement. The novel seemed to write itself. However, the initial idyllic period of having too little to do was soon replaced by a twenty-year stretch of having too much to do. It is only now in my semi-retirement that I have come round to finishing the novel. Many of the events anticipated in the novel have already taken place and so, they are now ancient history. The present book is now set in the future during the fictitious reign of Pope Francis III. Fortunately, however, changes take place slowly at the Vatican and so the contemporary struggles between conservatives and reformers will continue well into the future.

A closely accurate description of the personae working at the Vatican could well lead to a flood of libel cases, so that is why the characters in the novel are based on types rather than on any particular individuals. As the great psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl observed, almost any institution whether it be a monastery or a prison usually has a wide range of types from generous, saintly people to malicious miscreants. The Vatican is no exception. There should, theoretically, be a greater proportion of saintly types at the Vatican, but both recent and historical scandals have shown that the Vatican has its fair share of the latter mentioned types. However, most of us belong to the varying shades of grey in between.

The novel is by no means meant as an attack on the Vatican, but has been written in the same spirit as the Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn’s BBC television series ‘Yes, Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ in which the British Civil Service is somewhat pilloried, but in a humorous way. The chief rogue in this series is the Machiavellian Prime Minister’s Secretary Sir Humphrey as played by Nigel Hawthorn; however, he is what may be described as a ’lovable rogue’. The novel can be described as a futuristic satire and so could appear in the science fiction department of a library if it were to be published. However, this novel is not intended for publication except for its appearance on the website.

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Trouble at the Vatican: 108 pages
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Zusammenfassung ‘Trouble at the Vatican’

Der Roman ist eine humoristische, leichte Satire über die vatikanische Glaubenskongregation (Congregatio pro doctrina fidei). Es geht um Rivalen, deren Zorn im Golf ausgespielt wird, um Konflikte zwischen Modernisten und Traditionalisten und um die modernen Methoden der Inquisition, die Latein und mathematische Logik für ihre Zwecke benutzen. Dazwischen steht ein Franziskaner Pater Dubois, der fortschrittliche Bücher geschrieben hat, der aber in Verwirrung schwebt. Die moderne Folter der früheren Inquisition ist viel subtiler als Streckbank und Daumenschrauben.

Über den Vatikan zu schreiben ist ein heikles Gebiet. Deswegen ist der Kontext des Romans auf die Zukunft gestellt. Die Charaktere beziehen sich auf keine bestimmten Personen, sondern sie beinhalten ein Amalgam von verschiedenen geistlichen Typen, die auf jahrelange Erfahrungen des Autors über die katholische Kirche basiert sind. Der Roman ist überhaupt kein Angriff auf die Kirche, sondern er umfasst eine bunte Palette von Typen, die von Heiligen über weltliche Geistliche bis zu höchst dubiosen Prälaten reichen.

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Umfang: 108 Seiten
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