Page 405. April 10, 1946. “Characters Needed”
The Philosopher. A kind of Ortega y Gasset – vaguely. A kind of Aristotle if he came back to life today. Or even Thomas Aquinas.
The Priest. Father (medieval name) who is the last of the strikers. He withdraws his moral sanction from the world of parasites. (He represents the last stand for pity.)
Page 430 April 23, 1946. “Outline: The Strike. Part I: The End”
“Plant the stories of the philosopher who quit, the missing millionaire who vanished, and Ragnar Danneskjöld the smuggler. Also the “replacers” of the composer and the philosopher. Here – the influence of philosophy on people like Mrs. Rearden and her son, etc. – and on “the man of pity.”
Dagny and the girl writer
Dagny and the talented engineer who quits.
“The scene of Galt and the priest meeting in a dinky restaurant at night – with the world collapsing around them.”
“James Taggart – his hysteria at the realization of his complete evil. His scene with the priest. “I have nothing to say, James. I am on strike.”
“James Taggart makes use of the idea of charity – on the receiving end.
On the giving end, it is the priest. But the priest cannot go to the depths of depravity which this idea demands. If there is room for it, I might have to add another character to exemplify that…”
Page 538. July 18, 1947. “The Beginning: Atlantis.” VI
Taggart and Mrs. Rearden. Taggart confesses to the priest. The priest forgives him.
Page 540-541 XVII
“Taggart and the priest. The confession of total evil. “I have nothing to say, James. I’m on strike.: The rescue of Galt …
“[The above outline contains AR’s last reference to the priest. Years after completing the novel, she explained the meaning of the character and why she decided to eliminate him.
“I wanted to illustrate the morality of forgiveness. Also, I wanted to illustrate that the power of religion consists of the power of morality, the power of setting values and ideals, and that is what hold people to religion – that this is what belongs to philosophy, not to religion. As a type I wanted [the priest] to be my most glamorized projection of the Thomist philosopher, of a man who thought that he could combine reason with religion. Through his relationship with James Taggart I wanted to show the way in which he realized that he was sanctioning evil. And the drama of him refusing to sanction Taggart at the end appealed to me very much.
“But it did not take me long to realize that it would be an impossible confusion. Since all the other strikers in the story can be taken literally, [since] they are all representative of rational, valuable professions, to include a priest among them would be to sanction religion.]”