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A fictionalized account of the martial law years in Manila from the point of view of those in the religious community, with Rome's involvement in the decisionmaking struggle of protagonists in Manila who must decide in favor of open opposition or opting for the lesser evil of silently endorsing a corrupt government to further an institution's altruistic agenda.

This book may just as well be a documentary film with the familiar cautionary endnote: "the names of the characters have been changed to protect the innocent...." Denis Murphy's scenes are richly textured in the monochromatic prism of daily life. He juxtaposes the political and religious arenas from Malacañang Palace to the Vatican; and carries his readers through the stench and rat-infested areas where the marginal poor make their shanties. Then, there is Xavier House, the Jesuit residence in Sta. Ana where companionship is neither familial and yet imposed, where discussions are blunt and sometimes brutal, where confrontations occur and decisions once arrived at can haunt with each returning day. And always the examination of conscience at the end of the day that marks the life of the religious—a reflection on one's personal motives that is startling as it is revealing.

Murphy's narrative provides a remembrance as well as a wake up call on the danger of adaptaton to and acceptance of evil. Evil in the guise of being "manageable" in that one can co-exist and detach, even isolate oneself from the fray. (rag)



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