Friday, August 31, 2007

The Three Musketeers

Is The Three Musketeers an anti-Catholic book? At first blush, some might think so.

Its most famous villain is a man of the Church, Cardinal Richelieu; Alexandre Dumas, the book’s author, had a rather irregular private life; and the idea of cavaliers having mistresses is taken for granted.

But for a Catholic to deny himself The Three Musketeers would be an enormous mistake, for it is one of the greatest adventure yarns ever written, one that hasn’t dated a bit. That’s almost recommendation enough, for Catholics should remember their heritage. Catholics are not Puritan bluenoses, inherently suspicious of art or narrow-minded in intellect. While one might never find books with such titles as A Treasury of Presbyterian Art or Great Baptist Intellectuals on library bookshelves, replace Presbyterian and Baptist with Catholic, and such titles seem perfectly reasonable, necessary even. The Catholic faith affirms everything that is good, and in the great Catholic theologian Karl Adam’s words, "Art is native to Catholicism."

The Three Musketeers is a fine example of popular literary art, and if one approaches it without puritanical fear, one will be rewarded not only with excitement and joy but also with a few theological surprises. Link

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