| Quote #16
Moreover, most people […] had replaced normal religious practice by more or less extravagant superstitions. Thus they were readier to wear prophylactic medals of St. Roch than go to Mass. (4.4.3)
Superstition in this case seems to be a strings-free form of a religion.
| Quote #17
He spoke in a gentler, more thoughtful tone than on previous occasion, and several time was noticed to be stumbling over his words. A yet more noteworthy change was that instead of saying "you" he now said "we." (4.4.6)
Indeed, Father Paneloux has been changed by his experiences with the plague. He, like Rambert, seems to have realized that the plague is the problem of everyone in Oran.
| Quote #18
All trials, however cruel, worked together for good to the Christian. And, indeed, what a Christian should always seek in his hour of trial was to discern that good, in what it consisted and how best he could turn it to account. (4.4.7)
Paneloux pulls the old "all is for the best" technique. The Plague seems to present this as irrational.