Essay The Struggle For Sister Aloysius

1795 Words Nov 8th, 2014 8 Pages
In John Patrick Shanley’s play, the struggle for Sister Aloysius to prove—and for Sister James to believe—that Father Flynn molested Donald Muller serves as the central conflict. Father Flynn is progressive, hoping to reform the church which causes the more conservative Sister Aloysius to appear intolerant and suspicious of him simply for his radical ideas. This conflict addresses other concerns beyond abuse, such as that of the subjugation of gender in the Catholic church, which affects Sister Aloysius’s pursuit of justice and still resonates throughout contemporary pursuits of justice, as well. Shanley’s 2004 play convolutes Sisters Aloysius and James’s firm belief in the church’s patriarchal hierarchy by stymying them as they pursue justice and obfuscating the truth under the issues of gender subjugation and religious authority.
The chosen setting of the play as well as the contemporary milieu in which Shanley wrote the play helped to characterize the issues that muddle the beliefs of Sisters Aloysius and James. The play was set in 1964, one of the years encompassing the Second Vatican Council, a period of time where the Catholic Church attempted to update and liberalize some of the practices of the faith. The church was under question and evaluation and Father Flynn embodied this pioneering spirit, typifying it when he tells Sister Aloysius that the church needed to reach out to its constituents more, explaining, “I think a message of the Second Ecumenical Council was…

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