The Black Robe

[The Black Robe]
Year: 
1881
Type: 
Moral Assessment: 
Type: Literature
Nothing inappropriate.
Some morally inappropriate content.
Contains significant sections contrary to faith or morals.
Contains some lurid passages, or presents a general ideological framework that could confuse those without much Christian formation.
Contains several lurid passages, or presents an ideological framework that is contrary or foreign to Christian values.
Explicitly contradicts Catholic faith or morals, or is directed against the Church and its institutions.

A prominent Jesuit tries to convert to the Roman Catholic faith the owner of an important property that Henry VIII has ordered expropriated by the crown. His intention is that once converted, it will be easier for him to renounce his inheritance in favor of the Jesuits. Naturally, the young wife of the owner opposes these plans, but the Jesuit finds out about certain details of her past that could possibly make her marriage invalid… Although Collins moves the plot along, following his usual methods, the rhythm of the story gets bogged down by the many anti-Roman elements so typical of Victorian England. The religious, the Church, and the Papacy are portrayed in a devious, tortuous way, the objects of ridicule and an atrocious criticism based on conspiratorial clichés. Certainly, his way of doing this is not especially original, since the same accusations sound ridiculous today: but just because they are hackneyed calumnies doesn’t make them any less bearable. J.C.E. – D.L. – P.C. (2010)