The Pope Mocked at the Venice Festival

September 16, 2016
Source: District of the USA

A criticism of the TV series The Young Pope presented at the Venice Festival.

On September 7, 2016, Cristina Siccardi published in Corrispondenza Romana a criticism of the first two episodes (out of ten) of the TV series The Young Pope presented at the Venice Festival, directed by award-winning Paolo Sorrentino and produced by Sky, HBO and Canal+.

Here are some extracts of the article.

The Church is portrayed solely as a ‘container’ of vanity, power, phobias and megalomania; genuine squalor for the squalid times we live in, where there are no more limits... 

Sorrentino’s Pope is an American called Lenny Belardo, interpreted by Jude Law – and once elected takes the name of Pius XIII. He is a compulsive smoker, wears flip-flops and Louboutin shoes.

The figure of the Head of the Church is being mocked and ridiculed with such arrogance, so much so, they make the pope say: “I don’t believe in God” and afterwards sneering satanically: “I’m only joking”.  However, this film is no joke at all, nor is it a farce. It is, on the contrary, extremely serious in its mirroring of an age where the earthly [organisation] of the Church has lost its orientation; in a word, it has lost its ad orientem altar towards God.


How do I expect the Vatican to react? It’s their problem, not mine; they will understand that it’s an honest work, with no sterile provocations and prejudices on the contradictions and difficulties of that world, and of the special priest the Pope is” said [Sorrentino] to the Corriere della Sera last September 3rd.

The astute Sorrentino doesn’t want to give the impression that the Church has changed, since, in doing so, he would cause alarm, so he investigates


how power is managed and manipulated in a State which has for its dogma and moral imperative, the renunciation of power and disinterested love for one’s neighbor”.

The film has a first-class cast: besides the above-mentioned star in the protagonist role, we have Diane Keaton, special secretary to the pope, who wears a t-shirt with the title of a song by Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, Like a Virgin; Silvio Orlando instead, interprets, Pius XIII’s adversarial Secretary of State, a sort of Iago, who tries to study the pontiff’s weak points, “because men are like God: they never change”. Orlando thinks mostly about Neapolitan football-players, money and power while Cécile de France is in charge of marketing for the Vatican.

Sorrentino speaks


of the evident signs of the existence and absence of God, of  how the faith is sought for and lost, of the greatness of Holiness, so great that it is thought to be intolerable.”

His is an unpredictable, bad-tempered pontiff (“I learned at a young age how to confuse the thoughts of my fellowmen.”), solitary, contradictory, a traditionalist, who postpones his first homily from the balcony of St. Peter, because he wants to be unreachable like a rock star, “invisible like Salinger or 1” . There are many strong scenes, especially those about the freedom imagined by this antipope, who exhorts people to sin and not feel guilty about it anymore...

How much longer does the Truth have to be subtracted, brought by the Son of God to this poor, present-day humanity, drunk on Kant, Freud, Rahner, Teilhard de Chardin, Pasolini, Panella, Scalfari and Sorrentino?  For how much longer, after lavishing pearls upon the unworthy, will this being proud before the Holy Trinity continue, this  grovelling before men, to see the pearls of great price trampled upon and smashed to pieces by the godless?

Source: Corrispondenza Romana - Translation: Rorate Caeli  

  • 1. Mina – popular Italian singer during ‘60s and ‘70s who now lives in reclusion.