Study Guide

A Canticle for Leibowitz Chapter 11

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Chapter 11

  • Francis watches the canonization ceremony in awe. It's filled with litanies and hymns spoken in Latin. We recommend having Google Translate at the ready.
  • After the ceremony, Francis is shuffled into a room with other important guests.
  • The Pope speaks with the guests one at a time, eventually making his way to Francis.
  • The Pope thanks Francis for his contribution to the Memorabilia and assures Francis that he did not waste his fifteen years working on the lost illuminated copy.
  • After all, had the illuminated copy not been present, the original might have been lost in its place.
  • There is a moment when Brother Francis notices the holes in the Pope's cassock and the spotted, worn carpet.
  • This clarity about the fallibility of the Church lasts only for a moment before its holy perfection is restored in his eyes.
  • After the meeting, Monsignor Aguerra meets with Francis and gives him two heklos of gold to buy back the illuminated copy. It's the Church's way of thanking him for his service.
  • Francis travels back to the spot of the robbery but the robber is not there.
  • We're not sure why he's surprised about this. Aren't you supposed to leave the scene of the crime after you rob someone?
  • Anyway, he waits. And as he's waiting, he spies a figure coming up the road.
  • The figure looks familiar to Francis, but before he can figure out who it is, the monk takes an arrow between the eyes.
  • The robber's mutant companions can be heard chanting, "Eat! Eat! Eat!" Creepy.
  • The old wanderer comes up the road and notices the buzzards circling.
  • He waits until he deems it safe and then proceeds. He finds the remains of Francis and buries the poor monk before continuing on.
  • The years pass. Generations of buzzards live, breed, and die.
  • Then, in the Year of Our Lord 3174, war comes to the land.

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