Is Frank Perretti's "The Visitation" anti-Catholic?

I like religious fiction. Some of my favorites are “The Lucifer Covenant” (can’t remember author)“Into the Way of Peace”(by K Boyce), and “Shadowmancer” by G.P.Taylor. Some of them are not a high reading level, but relaxing reading. Someone gave me a copy of “The Visitation” by Frank Perretti. Some of the reviews I read gave me the impression that he might not put a positive light on Catholocism. Any information? Thanks PrazHisBlesngs

I loved that book, and I don’t remember any anti-Catholic elements in it. It was about the disappointment of a pastor with church life and his grief for his late wife in the midst of a controversy over a visitor to his little town who can do unexplainable things. But the things the new neighbor does turn bad quickly. The pastor has to sort out what his problem with church is and move on in time to keep his faith so he can get the chaos in his town under some kind of control and use the experience to bring people back to church instead of letting it discredit the faith for many people. It’s exciting and sad and scary. It raises a lot of questions about the difference between being a good Christian and fiting in with the lifestyle or curch style of a megachurch or a country church e.g. I read it just as these topics were getting to be hard to grapple with for me. It’s from an evangelical viewpoint.

His work is from an evangelical perspective so he isn’t always in line with Catholic teaching. I did enjoy his novel The Oath and Monster(I think that was the name). I haven’t read the Visitation yet.

I paged through the book after I posted and feel that he has some places where he doesn’t understand Catholics, as when the man is climbing the ladder to the cross and repeating the Hail Mary. I am supposing that is a reference to believing “vain repetition” refers to the rosary. Thanks to those who responded. PrazHisBlesngs

I read this book many years ago. I feel this book is very anti-Catholic. It makes a mockery of the healing someone may receive from a weeping statue basically saying it is satan fooling us. I ran accross this book a few weeks ago on my bookshelf and buried it in the bottom of my trash can.:mad:

I didn’t have the impression he was saying all healings involving statues are false, just that it is possible to be tricked by a fake healer. It seemed to me the false healer was a parallel to the pastor’s memories of feeling betrayed by Evangelical church leadership in many ways, and the imposter himself was that way because his own judgmental Protestant family was so hard on him and turned him against religion as a teenager. The theme seemed to me to have to do with the need for more love in the churches.:shrug:

I think that’s highly unfair. As I see it, Peretti goes out of his way to portray Catholics as Christians and to be fair to them–of course his description is going to ring a little false to Catholics, since he’s a conservative evangelical who probably doesn’t have a deep understanding of Catholicism (and that is likely to be true even if, as his name implies, he comes from a historically Catholic ethnic background or even was brought up Catholic). Note that everybody is deceived for a while, not just the Catholics. Peretti reserves his harshest satire for his own Pentecostal tradition–he skewers both the glossy megachurch and the wacko rural pastor and indicts both of them as having played a role in the development of a false prophet. I was blown away by this–self-criticism of this sort is sadly rare among evangelicals. That book raised my opinion of Peretti immensely. It’s an antidote to the vicious dualism and smugness of This Present Darkness.


Sounds like Mel gibson character in signs.

You don’t think satan could fool us in that way?

Sure it could happen that way. However,in the Church, we have a mechanism in place already to examine things like healings after a weeping statue, alleged visitations, locutions, and whatnot. (I don’t know if the Church in his book ever went through that process–if anyone’s read enough to know?) And the default position is skepticism, not belief that the event (whatever it is) is of divine origin.

I haven’t read the book, but I did read the first chapter on the ‘look inside’ and it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t really understand Catholicism:

[quote=The Visitation excerpt]He’d been a devout member of Our Lady of the Fields for some forty years now. He never missed Sunday morning mass if he could help it. He never failed to make it to confession, though now at seventy-two the confessions were getting shorter and the penance easier.

That’s not to say he’s anti-Catholic (I’d have to read more of his stuff to determine that), but he’s definitely coming at his ‘spiritual warfare’ from a non-Catholic perspective.

just as a note hes also showing people for how quick we can all be to jump on band wagons and not check out things, not question.

Sort of a everyone learning a lesson in judgement story. It was made into a movie I saw the last bit of.

It’s been a little while since I read it. I recall it being not so much anti-Catholic, as having the normal misunderstandings of Catholic spirituality (which, perhaps, is more anti-Catholic than I want to admit to myself…)

What struck me more about the novel is that I didn’t think it was up to Perretti’s usual quality of writing. The first-person point of view really didn’t work for me at all. In the couple of places where he slipped out of it to omniscient, it was pretty jarring.

But WOW… what a shock ending. I really didn’t see that coming!

Could you explain what he misunderstands? I’m curious now.

Well, for one thing, the notion that just because one has aged, the individual has fewer sins to confess (it’d sure be nice, but honestly, there is no correlation between advanced age and fewer sins), nor is there a guarantee that penance will get any easier (due to the aforementioned lack of correlation between advanced age and fewer sins).

Being a devout member for 40-some years (when the character’s age is given as 72) seems like an odd way to introduce him. I’d expect something like ‘devout member since he moved to [location] forty-some years ago’ or else a reference back to his baptism.

And then Mass (which Peretti didn’t capitalize)–‘couldn’t help it’ w/ respect to missing it on Sunday just seems kind of … weak. And if he really wanted to underscore the character’s piety/devout nature, he’d have made him a daily communicant, as that is far more devout than the minimum of weekly Sunday Mass.

Thank you.

Originally Posted by The Visitation excerpt
He’d been a devout member of Our Lady of the Fields for some forty years now. He never missed Sunday morning mass if he could help it. He never failed to make it to confession, though now at seventy-two the confessions were getting shorter and the penance easier.

Its been awhile since I read it and actually the first person thing and long flashbacks made it a slow pace. It was good but I dont know if Id read it again.

I understand that perhaps he wasnt acutate about things but this above bit, I would have just taken it as a older man of faith. The confessions shorter could mean his life simply wasnt as eventful as it may have been. I wouldnt take that anti anything. Everyone in the town had different things happening to them.

As for making him a daily attender, it could be confusing, I notice churches when I drive around and notice very few open throughout the week. Not saying they are not but mostly sit empty at least thats the impression so saying going daily just may not make sense to readers.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit