He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Vatican Waltz, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Vatican Waltz is almost perfectly representative of the rest of the book. It shows part of a conversation between an open-minded Catholic priest and the novel’s main character, Cynthia Piantedosi. Cynthia has series of intense visions which seem to be telling her she is destined to become a priest—obviously impossible, given the Church’s current rules. But Father Welch recognizes something in her, some special sacredness, and so, despite those rules, he offers to help push her up the ladder of the Catholic hierarchy.Learn more about the book and author at Roland Merullo's website.
This is really a novel about the tension between the man-made rules of the faith, and the essence of the faith itself. It seems to me that this tension exists in all faiths and it also seems to me, as someone who has read widely across the religious spectrum, that the mystical branches of every faith move beyond the rules and toward a more universal, less exclusive emphasis on kindness and compassion. Cynthia embodies a challenge to the rules—something true of every great spiritual figure in history. I think Pope Francis, with his refreshing emphasis on compassion and love as opposed to doctrine and rigidity, would understand immediately what a special soul she is. My own belief—pretty obvious here—is that the world would be a better place if the leaders of every religion focused less on regulations and more on promoting an all-inclusive kindness.
Writers Read: Roland Merullo.