Final Word from Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Father Paneloux, a stockily built man of medium height, had a powerful, rather emotional delivery which carried to a great distance. In clear, emphatic tones, he launched forth at the congregation: "Calamity has come on you, my brethren, and, my brethren, you deserved it." There was a flutter that extended to the crowd massed in the rain outside. "If today the plague is in your midst," he continued, "it is because the hour has struck for taking thought. The just man need have no fear, but the evildoer has good cause to tremble." Unlike Father Paneloux, who is the moral authority of Albert Camus's The Plague, Col. Roman Prymula doesn't blame the congregation for the calamity. He does, though, blame it for the need for the vise-like cure. You aren't doing what we didn't ordain you to do, he tells his brethren, and the evildoers among you are causing everyone to suffer. As Father Paneloux himself died of the pestilence, he clutched the crucifix that protected him from the flail of God. [ Czech Republic coronavirus covid-19 health minister Catholic church scourge ]

Glossary of difficult words

brethren - fellow Christians; people belonging to a particular group;

stocky - broad and sturdily built;

congregation - a group of people assembled for religious worship;

flutter - movement with a light irregular or trembling motion;

vise - a metal tool with movable jaws which are used to hold an object firmly in place while work is done on it;

to ordain - to order something officially;

pestilence - a fatal epidemic disease, esp. bubonic plague;

to clutch - to grasp (something) tightly;

flail - a threshing tool consisting of a wooden staff with a short heavy stick swinging from it.

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