A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

Father Gonzaga Character Analysis

Father Gonzaga is the hapless priest who is brought in to examine the angel. The priest, as a religious figure, should be charitable and empathetic towards the wretched angel, but he instead warns the townspeople against recognizing the old man as angel. Through the character of Father Gonzaga, Márquez satirizes of the Catholic church, suggesting that the church is more occupied with bureaucracy and internal wrangling than with the work of charity and spreading empathy: “They spent their time finding out if the prisoner had a navel,” Márquez writes of church officials, “if his dialect had any connection with Aramaic, how many times he could fit on the head of a pin, or whether he wasn’t just a Norwegian with wings.” Instead of doing his duty towards the angel, Father Gonzaga is relieved when the attention dies down and he no longer has to think about the angel at all.

Father Gonzaga Quotes in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

The A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings quotes below are all either spoken by Father Gonzaga or refer to Father Gonzaga. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings published in 1984.
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Quotes

Father Gonzaga went into the chicken coop and said good morning to him in Latin. The parish priest had his first suspicion of an imposter when he saw that he did not understand the language of God or know how to greet His ministers. Then he noticed that seen close up he was much too human: he had an unbearable smell of the outdoors, the back side of his wings was strewn with parasites and his main feathers had been mistreated by terrestrial winds, and nothing about him measured up to the proud dignity of angels.

Related Symbols: Wings
Page Number: 219
Explanation and Analysis:
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Father Gonzaga Character Timeline in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

The timeline below shows where the character Father Gonzaga appears in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Faith, Religion, and Morality Theme Icon
By 7pm that evening, the local priest, Father Gonzaga , arrives. By now, all kinds of wild theories about the angel are being put... (full context)
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Faith, Religion, and Morality Theme Icon
Father Gonzaga ’s warnings fall on deaf ears. People flock in such numbers to see the strange... (full context)
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Faith, Religion, and Morality Theme Icon
...the spider-woman, they stop paying much attention to the winged old man. At long last, Father Gonzaga can get a proper night’s sleep again without worrying about whether the old man is... (full context)