- "If all you ever look for is evil, it's all you're ever going to see."
- — Father James
Ballard has served at Saint Jerome's Catholic Church in New Bordeaux from 1958 until his retirement in 2002. He also served in WWII as a medic in the Third Platoon, Company C, of the 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
How Things Really Work
Father James can't believe the things he's reading and hearing on the radio about what Lincoln is doing. Lincoln tells him that he had sat right there in his house and told him what he planned to do. However, the Father says there's a difference between hearing about something in the abstract and seeing it splashed across the front page of the newspaper.
When Lincoln asks if he thought he wouldn't go through with it, the Father replies that he knew as soon as he regained consciousness, he could see it in his eyes, but when he looks at Lincoln he sees who he was. A little boy who didn't have much, but also wasn't angry about it. A little boy who shared, who laughed, who just enjoyed being. He wonders what happened to that boy. To which Lincoln replied, "He finally realized how things work."
He asks the Father how many times the orphanage was vandalized by rednecks, how many times they had to drive around, asking restaurants for their leftovers because they didn't have anything to eat. Father James agrees that they had to deal with racists, but whenever they did something folks would come around and help them out. White, black, Baptist, Lutheran, you name it.
He asks if Lincoln remembers how all the boys had new jackets every Christmas, telling him that those came from an old white woman, a Calvinist, who spent all year making them. He states that if all he ever looks for is evil, it's all he'll ever see. After this, Lincoln says he has to go. As Lincoln walks out, the Father says all he ever wanted was for Lincoln to have a good life.
Father James discusses why he became a priest with Lincoln. He says that he lied previously about why, and that he didn't become one because of what he saw in the war, he became one because of what he did there and what it turned him into. He explains that while he was over there, crammed together with all the other "disposable negroes" that all the hurt and rage he'd accumulated over his life came boiling up.
All the men he killed in the war, should have meant something to him, they should have had weight, but it didn't. When he glimpsed that part of himself it was too much. He's worried that Lincoln isn't feeling the weight of what he's doing and it terrifies him.
Watched Him Die
Father James lets Lincoln know he got Alvarez out of the city and asks him if he's ever heard how Sal Marcano wound up running the city. He goes on to explain that he sold out his own father, watched him die. Then he killed every man standing in his way, butchered them, and everyone else who thought was a risk, warranted or not.
When asked how he knows this, Father James admits that the sanctity of the confessional isn't always so absolute. He explains that he accepted that Sammy and him are criminals, but there's a difference between being a criminal and being a Sal Marcano. He's worried what Lincoln will do once Sal is gone and no one is standing in his way. He advises him to not let this change the good man he knows he is.
Any previous conversation mission for Father James will be permanently deleted when a new one is added.
- Lincoln Clay Documentary
- The Home Fires Burn
- How Things Really Work
- Disposable Negroes
- Jesuit in New Mexico
- Watched Him Die
- Blind Eyes of God
Sign of the Times
- Father James owns a Berkley Executive.
- Father James served in Company C of the 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion as a medic.