With God on her side

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 26, 2013

A woman, practically a child, with so much power? Not likely to survive. When she is captured in battle by the Burgundians, the Earl of Warwick (Ed Shea, taking over for Tom O’Donnell, who was ill) contrives to have his young enemy — remember that threat to feudal lords? — defeated off the battlefield. The clergy are all too willing. The most hotheaded is the military chaplain John de Stogumber (Chris Conte), who called for her immediate execution.

When Joan’s trial for heresy begins, the most fair-minded, ironically, is the Inquisitor (Kevin Broccoli), who all but begs her to recant. But when God speaks through the voices of His saints, even if only in the echo of church bells, as she explains, who is she to not listen? With the prospect of flames, she does hesitate at the end, but finally the stake it is.

By being as irrational as an Ayatollah, Joan was not all good. By being as compassionate as their role model, some of the clergy were not all bad. Saint Joan is a good case study in the honesty of moral ambiguity.
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