Fictitious Priests

by Jim Manney

If you like to read novels about priests, Doris Donnelly of John Carroll University has six suggestions.

My book group has read four of the six in recent years.  I’d say (and I think my fellow readers in the group  would agree) that three of them get an A+: The Power and the Glory, The Diary of a Country Priest, and Death Comes for the ArchbishopThe Sparrow, the only one about a Jesuit, is an interesting but uneven science fiction tale.   The Innocence of Father Brown is a good suggestion for our group. As for The Thorn Birds — nah, I don’t think so.

Image by cdrummbks under Creative Commons license.

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Jim Manney

Senior Editor at Loyola Press
Jim Manney is a popular writer on Ignatian topics (God Finds Us, A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer) as well as the editor of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including What Is Ignatian Spirituality? He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Latest posts by Jim Manney (see all)

February 6, 2012

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela February 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

I’d add Giovanni Guareschi’s Don Camillo stories for a bit of light relief


Bob February 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

“The Keys of the Kingdom” should be on that list, for sure. “The Thorn Birds” wasn’t about a priest, per se, so I agree shouldn’t be on the list. What about “The Cardinal?”


Jim Manney February 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Three other novels about priests come to mind. “Black Robe” by Brian Moore, “Silence” by Shusaku Endo, and “North of Hope” by Jon Hassler. The first two are about Jesuits in seventeenth century mission lands: Canada and Japan. They are brilliant reflections on the meaning of faith. “North of Hope” is about a priest’s complicated life in in contemporary northern Minnesota.


Tim Muldoon February 7, 2012 at 5:32 am

Don’t forget a couple of books in the Loyola Classics series: “The Devil’s Advocate” and (one of my favorites) “Cosmas, Or the Love of God.” (The latter is a would-be monk. Close enough.)


Jim Manney February 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Thanks Tim — and how could I forget “The Edge of Sadness” by Edwin O’Connor? Another Loyola Classic, a wonderful story of a priest who recovers his sobriety and his vocation.


Gina Long May 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm

“The Kapillan of Malta” is out of print but can still be purchased at Amazon Marketplace. It is a wonderful story of a WWII -era priest who leads his flock to safety in caves during the ongoing bombardment of the tiny island by Germany and Italy.


Josh Gaudreau July 23, 2013 at 7:18 am

I’ll second Silence, by Shusaku Endo. One of the best novels I’ve read ever, and great fodder for book club discussion.


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