A new novel tells how neo-paganism came to infect parts of religious life
IN THIS VALE OF TEARS
by Gerard Charles Wilson
(Steele Wilson Books, Greensborough, 2006, 530pp, $27.95 including postage. Available from the author at PO Box 372, Greensborough 3088, (03) 9434-5484, email@example.com)
For other resellers see: www.castleofheavenlybliss.com.au
Those readers who recall my earlier review (March 2005) of Gerard Wilson's The Castle of Heavenly Bliss and subsequently read and enjoyed that book will need no urging from me to purchase the second volume of the Winterbine trilogy, In This Vale of Tears.
If anything this book is an even more gripping read than its predecessor while its characters are more subtly drawn, with some shades of grey amid the blacks and whites of the "bad guys" and "good guys".
Gerard Wilson has undoubted skills as a novel writer in the manner he sets up a credible, interesting story line, varied dramatic situations and lively dialogue. His own devout Catholicism, which permeates his writings, would not impress the politically correct powers that be of book publishing who prefer anti- Christian concoctions like The Da Vinci Code. Hence Wilson has had to self-publish and his books don't sell in the millions.
However, for those who disover them, Wilson's writings provide a solid antidote to the gross inaccuracies and religious prejudices of authors like Dan Brown.
The present book is especially topical in light of growing concerns about neo-pagan influences in some of the major religious orders, as already reported on in AD2000. This disturbing trend has been documented in recent years in such books as Margaret Mills' Woman Why Are You Weeping? and Donna Steichen's Ungodly Rage.
In this Vale of Tears provides a dramatic outline of how these influences insinuated themselves into religious life before and after the Second Vatican Council. It shows how seemingly devout, sensible religious women could be gradually attracted to un-Christian ideas.
What is depicted in the book is by no means exaggerated as can be verified on a number of Internet websites today. The activities occurring at Brisbane's Womenspace are just one example, with their mix of pre- Christian paganism, nature worship and radical feminism.
The following lines from the finale to In this Vale of Tears, reflect what is unfortunately all too true in parts of today's Church.
"When all seemed prepared, the large black robe raised a hand. 'Sisters, we are here in this outstanding location for the first time, feeling the very force and energy of nature's might, to celebrate that great mother's generous abundance. Let us proceed in joy, happiness, and love. Sister Jannie will now dance a recently created dance honouring the fruits of the earth, and harnessing the energy that pours out of the depths into our souls, lighting that divine spark of omnipotence in each of us'."