| Quote #1
Most of those who took part in the Week of Prayer would have echoed a remark made by one of the churchgoers in Dr. Rieux’s hearing: "Anyhow, it can’t do any harm." (2.3.3)
Mmm…religion doesn’t really work that way in The Plague. As Father Paneloux will later declare, his church is an all-or-nothing deal. The fact that the citizens of Oran treat it so dispassionately is yet another testament to their growing apathy.
| Quote #2
"Calamity has come to you, my brethren, and, my brethren, you deserved it." (2.3.5)
Father Paneloux serves to remind us of one of the purposes religion serves: explaining senseless tragedy. We’re not sure this particular explanation goes over so well, but still.
| Quote #3
"My brothers," he cries, "that fatal hunt is up, and harrying our streets today. See him there, that angel of the pestilence, comely as Lucifer, shining like Evil’s very self! He is hovering above your roofs with his great spear in his right hand, poised to strike, while his left hand is stretched toward one or other of your houses. Maybe at this very moment his finger is pointing to your door, the red spear crashing on its panels, and even now the plague is entering your home." (2.3.12)
Speaking of finger pointing…But really; Paneloux is using a lot of "you" and not a single "we," which flies in the face of the revelation that others have arrived at: everyone is in the same boat.