Fr Paul Bateman’s ‘The Wheel will Turn’
In expressing the Archdiocese’s gratitude for the role played by its retired priests, Vicar General Fr Richard Thomspon said he understood why our so-called “retired” clergy are uncomfortable with the term.
They never retire in the normal sense of retirement, he said, remaining active in prayer, parish life, and connections with their former parishioners.
Fr Paul Bateman is a good case in point. At an age when most writers have long put down their quills, the archdiocesan priest and published author has just released his latest book, “The Wheel Will Turn”.
In the preface, he describes it as a “whimsical tale” set in no particular time or place and in a country that is not named.
The story centres on the memoirs of two fictitious sisters, Eva and Mary and their relationship, curiously, with a man called Adam. The latter is an air force officer who recently returned from overseas service. Eva (note, not “Eve”) is a nurse.
Eva narrates the story’s first half and she tells how she meets Adam at a dance. He then meets her family, they all adore him, and there’s a sense of a ‘boy meets girl, boy marries a girl, and the boy and girl live happily ever after story is about to emerge.
But there’s twists to the tale. Adam, we learn, is a man of deep Christian faith and for Eva, the future does not work out as she might have hoped.
Among other things, events from the world’s stage intervene. Eva’s and Adam’s country is occupied by a hostile – unnamed – neighbouring country. Despite the calamity befallen their nation, Eva’s and Adam’s prime minister declares, “Have confidence; the wheel will turn.”
It’s in the midst of the occupation, too, that tragedy strikes. We won’t reveal what happened but will simply say it’s Eva’s sister, Mary, who takes up the remainder of the story from that point.
She explains Adam’s role in bringing the occupation to an end, along with more twists and turns, acts of subterfuge and redemption and, for Mary herself, poignant moments of change and conversion.
Fr Bateman’s “whimsical tale” is one rich in symbolism with its great dramas and spiritual encounters. It will appeal to readers who like short, easy-to-follow books that leave space for reflection on the importance of faith in life’s bigger questions.
They’ll have much to ponder about the characters and their names, especially that of Adam, the cog of integrity at the centre of so many “wheels that turn” in the story.
Fr Paul Bateman’s “The Wheel Will Turn”, will shortly be on sale at the Canberra Catholic Bookshop. Limited stocks will be available at a moderate price.
Great to hear about Fr Bateman’s new book! Congratulations!! And I agree that the word ‘retired’ can have connotations of sitting round not doing anything very much. However the retired people I know, myself included, are often very busy with volunteering, family and other caring activities, participating in community events, supporting friends, actively looking after our own health and wellbeing to maintain our self sufficiency, and a myriad of other worthwhile activities. Hopefully we also take some time to ‘be’ a thoughtful and reflective presence in the world. Maybe we can either reclaim the word ‘retired’ or come up with a new one??
Congratulations Father Paul I am looking forward to getting a copy of your new book. God Bless and thank you. Max Spencer.