A Farewell to Arms Chapter 11
At dark, the priest comes and Fred is feeling juvenile because he is in bed before dark. The priest, looking tired, bears packages: mosquito netting, vermouth, and English papers. He seems embarrassed and says he cannot stay long but he misses Fred. Fred thanks him and offers him a glass of vermouth. They drink to each other's health. Fred asks the priest what is wrong and he says it is the war: "Still even wounded you do not see it. I can tell. I do not see it myself but I feel it a little." Chapter 11, pg. 70--the priest alludes to the evils of war. He is cynical and his tone is indignant. He says he feels like Passini and that the difference in sentiment about war does not come from education or money. He tells Fred that he can't understand it because he is a foreigner, a patriot. According to the priest, the ones who do not want war cannot stop it because their leaders sell them out. Every part of the conflict is useless. The priest tells Fred that sometimes he loses all hope and just wants to return to Arbuzzi. He says about Arbuzzi: "I would be too happy. If I could live there and love God and serve him." Chapter 11, pg. 71. He tries to explain to Fred that it is not a dirty joke to love God. Fred doesn't understand God, and is very skeptical about the priest's sentiments. Fred admits that he fears God but does not love him. Fred says that he does not love much.
"Yes. . .You do. What you tell me about in the nights. That is not love. That is only passion and lust. When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve." Chapter 11, pg. 72
The priest doesn't know if it is possible to love a woman the same way he loves God. He asks Fred if he wants anything else, meaning religiously, but Fred doesn't, and the priest leaves. After he goes, Fred recounts his stories of Arbuzzi, the forest, the peasants, and the flute playing as he falls asleep. Fred wants a little more from his relationship with the priest, but he can't get it without first subscribing to religion.