Summary: Bezu Fache visits Bishop Aringarosa in St. Mary’s Hospital. Aringarosa offers the Vatican’s money to Fache to distribute to the families of Silas’ murder victims. Fache returns the bishops’ ring that Aringarosa gave to his pilot as a bribe to change course.
Analysis: This chapter serves the important function of helping readers re-evaluate Bezu Fache’s actions during much of the novel. His determined pursuit of Langdon and Sophie now emerges, in its latter stages, as a sincere effort to protect them from Teabing. Of course, Fache is still presented as a dogged police officer: “The information coming from Collet out of Château Villette suggested that Teabing’s cunning ran so deep that Fache himself might even learn from it” (p. 460)—the implication being that Fache will grow from this experience as an investigator and law enforcer (even as he tells Aringarosa he expects he will be retiring early). He remains, therefore, a consistent character throughout the novel. It is only readers’ perceptions of him that change. (Additionally, Collet’s innovative defense of Fache’s actions suggests that he, too, is going to learn from the chase!)
Bishop Aringarosa, on the other hand, does seem to undergo some repentance for his actions. Brown’s use of light and dark imagery leads readers to expect a transformation: “The sunlight felt welcome and warm on his face. Last night had been the darkest of his life” (p. 461). And his “virtuous gesture” (p. 462) of offering the Vatican notes as restitution to the families of the murdered Priory members give weight to the idea that Aringarosa may emerge from his ordeal a changed, better person. (Religious audiences who protested the novel upon its publication—and the film upon its release—seemed to overlook the fact that, by the story’s end, both the Church and Opus Dei have been cleared of any wrongdoing, and that the power-grabbing scheme of Aringarosa and the murders Silas committed are clearly cast as the work of misguided individuals acting without ecclesiastical approbation: as this chapter explicitly states, Teabing “had exploited both the Vatican and Opus Dei, two groups that turned out to be completely innocent,” p. 460).