Bless Me Ultima

My English class is beginning to read this book next week and I am slightly concerned about what I have heard about what it says about the Catholic Church. From what I have been told it is almost flat out anti Catholic, and sets Catholics as Mary worshippers.

I have looked for a Catholic anaylsis online but have been unsucessful. Has what I have heard been correct? Or are my friends over reacting?

This novel misrepresents the Catholic Church, in my opinion. It makes it seem as if the Catholic Church teaches an unforgiving, unmerciful God. The priest in the novel spoke so much about hell, but never did we read about God’s mercy and forgiveness. I felt so hurt when reading the novel.

NEVER ONCE in the entire novel was Jesus Christ, the God of Christianity, presented as merciful and forgiving. The novel presented the Christian God as angry, unmerciful and unforgiving. This is a total misrepresentation.

It has been nearly 2 decades since I read it but NguyenKimPhat seems to be on the mark.

Also, the Eucharist is misrepresented and a fortune teller/witch (the titular Ultima) is presented as being the only person with a sound grasp of religion.

I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve never read this book. However, it was assigned reading by the Spanish language program at my Catholic high school for many, many years. There were a lot of very orthodox teachers at my school, the principal was a priest, and well over 70% of the students took Spanish. And never once did I hear a peep about that book, other that occasional complaints from the students that it was long.

It is entirely possible that it does not portray the Church in the most favorable fashion. That is no reason why it should not be read. It is a classic piece of literature. You did not say how old you are, but my guess is that if you are old enough to be assigned this reading, then you are old enough to listen to opinions about the Church that are different from yours and not have your faith shaken at its roots.

I hope you enjoy the book.

I will certainly read it, I have nothing against the book itself. I was just wondering how far the book goes in talking about the Catholic faith incorrectly. My friend made it sound similar to the Da Vinci Code. I just wanted to know what to expect from other people.

Thanks for the help everyone :thumbsup:

It doesn’t go far at all. It offers just enough “detail” to establish that the protagonist is Catholic. I am sure that all but the weakest Catholics would see through the misstatements easily (and suspend disbelief as necessary for the enjoyment of the story).

I haven’t read The Da Vinci Code at all, but Ultima is generally milder than what I have been heard of Dan Brown’s book.

I have read the book and found it to be of a dubious spirituality and inaccurate (screwed up is better) regarding Catholicism. I deeply regret its inclusion to the Texas curriculum. I can only conclude it is some attempt at political correctness to the Native American and Hispanic culture.

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But isn’t it possible that this is an accurate representation of how the author experienced Catholicism? Just because you got the message that God is loving and forgiving doesn’t mean that everyone from a Catholic cultural background did.

I’ve had too many Catholics and ex-Catholics (generally of an older generation) tell me that they grew up with that picture of God to believe that it was all their fault. Clearly there’s something about the way catechesis was often done in the past that gave that impression.


It certainly is possible. Even when I read the book, I could tell that the portrayal of Catholicism was filled with poor catechesis and abuses. Given the long and varied history of the Church, it did not surprise me at all. Indeed, the sections that discuss Catholicism could well be studied as one example of how not to run a parish or catechize.

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