New Dramedy On Papal Succession Released While Petrus Romanu
New Dramedy On Papal Succession Released While Petrus Romanus Waits In The Wings
by Steve Eastman, Raiders News Network
Did Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti produce We Have a Pope in response to mounting expectations that Benedict XVI would soon step down, or is it only coincidence that his “dramedy” was just released weeks before the pontiff’s 85th birthday? Whatever the case, it comes at a good time while Petrus Romanus, the final Pope, stands in the wings.
Filmmaker Moretti has been compared to Woody Allen, and his latest movie to The King’s Speech. We Have a Pope takes us inside a papal conclave where each cardinal is quietly hoping he won’t be given the job of “Saint Peter’s successor.” The honor goes to little known Cardinal Melville, who feels so unready for the responsibility that he runs away from his first appearance as Pope and submits to psychoanalysis. We know this won’t happen with Petrus Romanus, but the film does point to the high pressure, controlled world of the Vatican.
Turning to the mixed messages of the last week or so, the Catholic News Service reports that Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, sent a message to the world’s Buddhists for the Vesakh holiday, which celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of Buddha. He said, "As Buddhists you pass on to young people the wisdom regarding the need to refrain from harming others and to live lives of generosity and compassion." The Cardinal called this part of Buddhist education “a precious gift to society.” While some may see this as evidence the next Pope (or if you’re Catholic, Anti-Pope) will head up a one-world religion, it is equally interesting to look at it as part of a mixed message on toleration.
Continuing in this vein, a few days ago, the Associated Press released a picture of Benedict XVI washing the feet of a layman, recalling Jesus’ humility in doing the same for his disciples on the night before He was crucified. But on the same day, Benedict’s humility was apparently taking a break when he responded to a group of Austrian priests promoting the ordination of woman and married clergy. Depending on what account you read, the Pope denounced, slammed, and/or ripped into those holding this alternative view. An Irish priest, Father Tony Flanner, is also under investigation for similar views. For some reason, their counterparts in saffron robes who follow Buddha were given greater respect.
Another mixed message has to do with openness. Rightly or wrongly, the Catholic Church has been accused of being in bed with the Mafia. Recently the Vatican sponsored a two day event in Sicily to highlight the Church’s role in fighting organized crime. It was called “Courtyard of the Gentile,” a reference to the outer court of the ancient Jewish Temple. Bishop Antonino Raspanti, the event organizer, admitted the church did not condemn the Mafia enough in the past, but said, “Things have changed.” He called the Mafia “anti-human and anti-religious.” That’s a good, positive step.
On the flip side, prosecutors in Rome are accusing the Vatican of hiding the truth about the disappearance of a 15 year-old girl in June 1983. According to one theory, Emanuela Orlandi’s father had stumbled onto evidence linking the Vatican bank with organized crime. The teenager was supposedly abducted to keep him quiet. The alleged mastermind of the crime was Enrico ”Renatino” De Pedis. After being shot by a rival gang in 1990, his body was placed in a crypt at Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare, where some Popes and cardinals were also laid to rest. One theory says Emanuela’s body was placed alongside the gangster. Her brother, Pietro Orlandi, is calling on investigators to open the tomb. “The Holy See now has a moral duty to give a response after refusing for years to collaborate with the magistracy. Their silence is becoming embarrassing.” Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who was a high-ranking Vatican official at the time, says, “We were all interested in clarifying the matter, but unfortunately we were not able to find out anything about it.”
On a related subject, the National Catholic Reporter ran an article a few days ago telling how fellow investigative reporters honored Jason Berry for his book on Vatican finances. Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, is based on trial transcripts, leaked parish records, and interviews. It tells of influential bishops who diverted philanthropic donations to cover legal expenses of priests accused of pedophilia. Where is Bishop Raspanti and his approach to openness when you need him?
Finally, we consider whether Benedict will stay in office beyond his 85th birthday on April 16th. There’s a rumor circulating in the Vatican that Benedict XVI is planning a consistory to appoint cardinals. Vatican Insider speculates it would happen toward the end of the Pope’s Year of Faith, which he has proclaimed as starting in October 2012. But the newspaper reports some believe it could happen the end of this year. In light of the evidence uncovered in Petrus Romanus, the earlier date sounds more credible. However, with the Pope planning so far in advance, it is likely he at least intends to stay on the job after his birthday this month.
© 2012 Raiders News Network
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