Notebook

Thus Have I Made It

I first watched Roland Joffré’s The Mission as an undergraduate, mesmerised. After a quarter-century it has lost none of its force. ‘We must work in the world, the world is thus’, says the Portuguese governor toward the end. The Roman envoy retorts, ‘No, Signor Hontar, thus have we made the world. Thus have I made it.’ Rarely has it been more epically shown that there are some alliances the Church simply cannot enter. I think of something Fabrice Hadjadj has written of another Jesuit mission: ‘Even as a stain is darker on a first communicant’s dress than on a builder’s trousers, so sin is graver in the soul of a Christian, who commits it within greater light, and defaces the face of the Church.’