For Fans of Father Brown

I always enjoyed the PBS series “Father Brown” (Chesterton’s character)—when I could catch it. Scheduling seemed erratic. For other F.B. fans, I’m happy to tell you that Netflix is now showing all five seasons, 60 episodes in all.

Dena Hunt
Dena Hunt is the author of the award-winning historical novel Treason (Sophia Institute Press), and The Lion’s Heart (Full Quiver Press), as well as several short stories and reviews, online and in print, at Dappled Things, StAR, and The Pilgrim Journal. She also writes for FaithCatholic, a liturgical publication company. She is currently working on her third novel. She is the book review editor of St. Austin Review.

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  1. Dear Dena,

    I would like your take on the Father Brown episode “The Eve of St. John” dealing with paganism.

    Some SPOILER ALERTS below if you haven’t seen it yet.

    I have several misgivings on this episode.

    First, I take it that the BBC is using our esteemed G.K. Chesterton against us. When Father Brown talks to the pagans and says “for us to embrace our similarities and put our differences aside”. This sounds like what Pope Emeritus Benedict called “the dictatorship of relativism”.

    Second, I found it somewhat weak hearted on the take of the Anglican priest when the pagan “warlock” stated that Christianity “stole” pagan festivities by trying to say that Easter was taken from one of these festivities. The Anglican priest’s stance on saying “This is not the appropriate time” is a tail between the legs sort of attitude. I was hoping Father Brown would of come in and smashed that idea to the ground.

    Thirdly, the Anglican priest who killed his own daughter while quoting scripture. I can only respond back that this shows the error of the Protestant Reformation and the incorrect interpretation of scripture. The whole scene reminds me of the specific Puritan response during the “Witch hunt” days not to mention the Protestant response in Europe also. Funny, how no one talks about the thousands of people killed during this hysteria but the “Spanish Inquisition” is readily quoted by Protestants.

    It did seem that paganism showed it true colors in the end when the “warlock’s” wife left him because he was going after other women and thusly provided a reason why paganism’s beliefs are false. In one regard, paganism’s stance is like the hippie movement with all of the hallucinogenic drugs.

    God bless and looking forward to your thoughts.

    • Dear Darren,
      Thanks for the Father Brown comments. I did watch every episode, and I admit I watched for simple entertainment pleasure, and not at all for Chesterton connections or theological relevancies. It was BBC, so I kept expecting to be offended, but I never was, though the “paganism” episode came close. Honestly, what I enjoyed most was being able to watch five seasons of a very entertaining show about a Catholic priest and never once hearing an anti-Catholic slur. Remarkable.

      • Dear Dena,
        My wife and I have been watching one Father Brown episode per night on Netflix, and while I love Mark Wilson’s portrayal, the anti-Catholicism in the show is rather like a whisper in the back of the room. The church which stands in as Father’s Brown’s parish is actually an Anglican church which dates back to Norman times. It’s absolutely painful to see the empty niches where Catholic artwork used to be. The lack of a crucifix almost anywhere is jarring, as well as any visual reference to the Blessed Mother. In other words, Father Brown inhabits a world in which the smell of Catholicism remains, but Catholicism itself has been shown the door. The plots of the stories contain a kind of bitter anti-Catholicism as well. The husband who commits murder in order to hide a previous marriage so he can continue to be seen as a good Catholic. The people in same sex relationships who go off the rails and do horrendous things because they are not accepted by the Church (and, by extension, 1950’s polite society). The mothers punished for becoming pregnant out of wedlock because Catholicism (and, by extension, 1950’s society) did not allow abortions. “Presentism” (judging the past by our enlightened present) is rampant in the series, and it gets rather preachy at times. However, in spite of all of that, there are some things about the show that I find truly interesting. The show presents a fair number of evil killer lesbians – something one would never find on American television, where that segment of our population is protected and often promoted. Also, my wife and I often laugh about the fact that the little village of Kembleford must be decimated after having well over sixty murders in it over the past five years! Kembleford must be much larger than we think, though, since it also contained a “gentleman’s club” and a library van which sold porn all around town. Sorry. I’m sitting here laughing at that last sentence. Well, if you watched the entire run, you know they actually had that as the plot of an episode. Lastly … why must Flambeau be so SHORT??? Why??? Thank you, Dena. It’s good finding you here.