Sunday, 26 June 2011

With 200 hundred priests like this man we could bring Europe back to the Faith!

Let me first do a little scene setting for those of you unfamiliar with this Italian priest. First of all he is fictional (sadly). Secondly, he lived (if a character in a book can be said to have 'lived') in post war Italy and never ever set foot in Great Britain. Thirdly, he has characteristics that, perhaps are part of all of us. He is a passionate defender of the faith, he gets things wrong occasionally, he converses with the crucified Christ, he is a shade hot tempered and liable to bash his opponents about the ears and, deep down he loves his enemies. But, above all else, he loves the crucified Christ.

He battles daily with the devil (mainly in the stylised form of Communist Mayor Peppone) who is really someone whom he loves as one of Christ's own (Peppone that is, not the devil). This is post war Italy, still a country split by violent factions, ex Partisans, Reds, Christian Politicos and even a few fascists still lying around all contribute to a volatile existence for a country parish priest.

But Don Camillo, aided by the Lord on the cross, bashes his way to keeping the faith uppermost in people's minds. In this clip he is about to lead a procession for the annual blessing of the River Po when he learns that the communist mob, led by Peppone, is out to wreak havoc on his parishioners and his plans.
What does he do? He does not cancel the procession, he sends the altar servers and his parishioners home to safety. He is a good shepherd.

And then he realises that he has to undertake the procession alone, except for the crucified Christ. The symbolism is heavy here. He picks up the cross and commences the slow march to the river......the rest you may see for yourself!

This form of action is what we lack today. But then, of course, one could argue that we in the western world at least, are not called to fight our corner in the way that Don Camillo had to except.......maybe we are; not with flailing fists but with reasoned logic and a fearless approach to standing up to an authority that wishes to destroy life in the womb, dispose of the homeless, aged and incapacitated and fragment the family unit.
I find strong comparisons between Don Camillo and our blogging priests who, metaphorically, at least, are not afraid to knock a few heads together!

* The Don Camillo series is written by Giovanni Guareschi. Several films were made in the 1950s starring Fernandel as Don Camillo, an inspired choice.


  1. I love him! A strong and brave man, his way reminds me a little of you Richard. I talk to Jesus through the day more and more lately about simple and intricate issues. My son stopped with me last week after his op and kept noticing I was talking to the air.......

  2. Beautiful contribution. As an Italian, I can assure you that Don Camillo's popularity survived the Fifties and is very high to this day.

    I fully agree with you that we live in times where Christianity is no less threatened than it was in Don Camillo's time. Not from commies anymore, but from anti-Christian, PC thinking trying to obliterate Christian values from common morality and reduce them to a private hobby of a few.

    We need priests like Don Camillo more than ever.


  3. Grazie Mundabor much appreciated coming from you.
    You are too kind Shadowlands.

  4. My Dad used to read the books ,happy memory we used to go to the Library every Saturday to change books.

  5. Thanks Diddleymaz, I now feel totally ancient :)