Burgess speaks out for Catholic Europe

Burgess writes (in Little Wilson and Big God, Being the First Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess) that he had thought he had freed himself from ‘the nets of Catholicism’. However, provoked by Major Meldrum, he found himself speaking out for Catholic Europe.

I was in Catholic Europe, despite the insistence of the Gibraltarians that they were, though mostly Genoese, really a kind of brown Englishmen. They were Catholic, when they were not Jews, and held baroque processions on feast days. The women went to Mass in mantillas. They were a kind of Iberians who feared Iberia. They preferred brown bobbies to Franco’s policía. But they were of my own kind. They made the sign of the cross and heard the bell of the Angelus. I was drawn to the women with crosses hanging from their delectable necks. The Protestant Lynne was sick and far. I was in warm garlicky unreformed Christendom. As for God, there was God towering high overhead, the mists of the Levant on his brow.

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