The Power and the Glory Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

Graham Greene

Part 3, Chapter 4 Summary

After putting the priest in jail, the lieutenant waits until after dark to go to the home of Padre Jose. He knows that his involvement in providing a priest for a condemned criminal is against the law.

Padre Jose arrives at the door half dressed. The children across the street taunt him. The lieutenant tells him that he is to come with him to the police station.

Padre Jose objects, saying that he has done nothing against the law. He officiated at a funeral, but he refused to pray. The lieutenant tells him that a condemned priest wants him to hear his confession.

Padre Jose’s wife shows up at the door, demanding to know what is going on. The lieutenant tells her that her husband is wanted at the station. Padre Jose tries to explain, but his wife tells him to be quiet and leave the talking to her.

Padre Jose knows that what the lieutenant is asking is against the law, and his wife thinks it is a trap, despite the lieutenant’s reassurances that there is nothing for them to be afraid of. He says that a priest is to be executed the following day and would like a confessor. Padre Jose’s wife says that she knows that priest and that he is nothing but a drunkard.

Padre Jose feels sorry for him. He tells his wife that it is his duty as a priest to go see this man, but his wife mocks him. Padre Jose tells the lieutenant that it is impossible for him to go. As the lieutenant turns to go, he joins the children’s laughter at the Padre Jose. 

The lieutenant tells the priest that Padre Jose will not come. He also tells him that the court has found him guilty of treason (without his being there at the trial) and has condemned him to death. He gives the priest a bottle of brandy (which is also against the law) to ease his fear.

The lieutenant goes to bed and dreams that he is in a long passage without a door.

The priest wonders if it is too late to take Padre Jose’s route of escape, but he decides against it. He dreams that he is at a banquet before the altar in a cathedral. He eats from many dishes, but he ignores the Host as it is presented.

When he awakens, it is the morning of his execution. He tries to remember the prayers of the Act of Contrition. He feels disappointed that he is going to God empty handed.