The Smoke of Satan

Before Vatican II, the Roman Catholic Church appeared to be a fortress against the raging tide of modernity, a supremely self-confident institution that attracted converts of the caliber of Evelyn Waugh, G.K. Chesterton, Ronald Knox, and Christopher Dawson.  After Vatican II, the Church’s attitude toward modernity changed, vocations dried up, and entire countries came close to losing the Faith.  Clearly, something had gone wrong.  In the famous words of Pope Paul VI, the smoke of Satan had entered the sanctuary of the Church.  How this happened is the subject of John Zmirak’s graphic novel The Grand Inquisitor, which tells its tale through Zmirak’s blank verse and the arresting illustrations of Canadian artist Carla Millar.

Zmirak’s novel—well written, inventive, at times even profound—deals with an issue of importance to non-Catholics, as well as Catholics.  Despite the efforts of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, many established Catholic institutions in the West now seem to believe in nothing more than liberalism; the resulting loss of faith in Europe has had serious spiritual and secular consequences.  I doubt, for example, that men filled with the faith of Charles Martel, Jan Sobieski, or Don John of Austria would have allowed Europe to be overrun by a quiet Islamic invasion such as the one we have witnessed in the past few decades.

The heroes of Zmirak’s novel...

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