Religion in Pedro Paramo and the President

In The President and Pedro Paramo, Catholicism is represented through character struggles. This paper aims to compare these struggles related to religion, specifically in the cases of Father Renteria and Nina Fedina and determine the purpose of these concentrated religious references by both authors.
The first mention of Father Renteria describes that he “tossed and turned in his bed, unable to sleep” (Rulfo, 30); already from the onset, Rulfo portrays him as troubled by something, and, because he is named as “Father Renteria” rather than his full name or anything else, it discreetly attributes this uneasiness to Catholicism.   Before having written anything else about this priest, Rulfo creates a quick association of uneasiness to priest to Catholicism. As he is questioning himself, he asks “and why purify their souls anyway, when at the last moment...” (Rulfo, 30).   The ellipses suggest a thought that Renteria left out, leaving the reader to guess what he does at the last moment. Further reading supports that Renteria may be revoking his saving of the people; the people of Comala are referred to as souls lost in purgatory and the city itself embodies a mysterious coldness that sends the souls in Hell back for a blanket, as if Comala were more inhabited than Hell.   Referring back to the quote, Renteria has a tone of resignation.   This initial influx of negative connotations with a major religious figure set the mood for the conflicts with the church later on in the novel.

In his conversation with Maria Dyada who wishes for him to save her sister Eduviges, Renteria refuses to absolve her because of her suicide.   Maria laments “So many good acts stored up for her salvation and then to lose them like that, all at once!”(Rulfo, 31). She describes this process as if her only goal in life was salvation.   It seems like a critique of both the unnecessary strict and fatalistic nature of Catholicism and also the way of life for the people of Comala who want to die...