The Grand Inquisitor

The Grand Inquisitor

by John Zmirak, Carla Millar


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This updating of Dostoevsky’s fable will challenge believers of every hue, and fascinate students of religion, philosophy and literature. The first graphic novel written in Miltonic blank verse, is exquisitely illustrated and promises to change the genre forever.

The pope is dead. The Church is split. A rump conclave elects the first Black African pope in history, a hero who saved his people from persecution in Sudan. But a hostile cardinal kidnaps the new pope at the airport and holds him in secret at a mental hospital. To the captive, uncrowned pope "the Grand Inquisitor" lays out a dark conspiracy he has nurtured for 50 years to offer mankind salvation without the Cross. Will the new pope sign on to this "improved" version of Christianity? Will he end up dead? What obsessions join him to his enemy, and make his new vision so very tempting?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780824524357
Publisher: Crossroad Publishing Company
Publication date: 05/15/2008
Series: Crossroad Book Series
Pages: 76
Sales rank: 1,132,670
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 12.60(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

John Zmirak is an editor, a journalist, a college teacher, and a political commentator. He is the author of The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins and the coauthor of The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Good Living; The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, and Song; and The Grand Inquisitor. He has contributed to Investor's Business Daily and the National Catholic Register. He lives in New York City.

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Grand Inquisitor 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
dmcolon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read a few graphic novelizations of literary classics -- Kafka's Metamorphosis prominent among them. When I picked up John Zmirak and Carla Millar's The Grand Inquisitor, I expected something similar. That's not what I got. Instead, I got a traditionalist Catholic retelling of Dostoyevsky's tale from The Brothers Karamazov. And what a retelling. Dostoyevsky told the story of a Christ reborn in Spain who is interrogated by a Spanish Inquisitor. The Inquisitor informs Christ that humans cannot ever hope to live up to his ideas so instead, the Church has established a system of fear, punishments, and control to make their journey to heaven easier. Zmirak and Millar's retelling casts an African priest from Darfur as the Christ-like figure who finds himself in Rome in the midst of a contentious papal election. The Inquisitor is a liberal cardinal who argues that the liberalization of the Church has been done so that people cannot see the difference between sin and salvation. This would make them innocent of sin and allow them entrance into heaven. The cardinal imprisons the African priest in a mental hospital and uses therapeutic techniques to show the priest the error of his ways. In evaluating this, I'm of two minds here. As a piece of theology, this book is stunning in its audacity. It is unabashedly traditionalist in its Catholicism. As a one-time traditionalist who still has a soft-spot for this sort of thing, I find the piece refreshing. Ten years ago I would have been floored by how amazing this is. And for traditionalists, this undoubtedly will be. Zmirak and Millar are unrepentant papalists and exclusivists -- for them "extra ecclesiam nulla salus". Islam has nothing to offer but oppression and falsity. Liberals are degenerates at worst and misguided paternalists at best. There's little room for subtlety here. As I've matured as a Catholic, I find this world view stunning in its reductionism and intolerance.But as a piece of art, this book really is an achievement. The illustrations are beautiful and disturbing, reminding me of Bosch and Bruegel's work with wonderfully out of place portraits of Stalin and Malcolm X thrown in. The writing is poetic and truly lyrical. In the end, this is truly a great book in service of a questionable cause.