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Publication Date

Fall 2009

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Foreign Languages


Eleanor Marsh

Subject Areas

Literature, Modern; Literature, Romance


This creative thesis presents the novel Todas Las Criaturas, which explores a fictional philosophical dilemma in the realm of the Catholic Church: "truth or souls." With a series of modern narrative techniques and a plot that is part thriller and part science fiction, it invites readers to reflect on such themes as the nature of being human, the representation of God, and the significance of renewal. In the not-too-distant future, a Spaniard, Cardinal Domingo Varela, is elected Pope during the Third Vatican Council He faces an unprecedented schism in the Church if he continues supporting his predecessor's proposed reforms: the revocation of priestly celibacy and the ordination of women priests. At the same time, in the unexplored depths of the Brazilian rain forest, Jesuit missionary Juan de Dios meets two indigenous tribesmen who preach a Christian-like message. Through them, Juan de Dios finds Pai Luis, a priest who had disappeared in the Amazon twenty-five years before. Pai Luis, now known as Uis, has become the shaman of a stone-age tribe. He has grasped the ineffable truth and can perform miracles. He agrees to meet with the Pope to reveal a secret to him: In the heart of the rain forest there exists another intelligent humanoid species. Pai Luis fears for their survival if they are not considered human. The meeting with Pai Luis leads Pope Domingo to promulgate a new encyclical embracing the previously unknown beings as part of the human race. He calls the sacred document, "All the Creatures."