January 13, 2020

"... Benedict has largely remained silent on issues of faith, but differences in the two popes' approaches have emerged..."

"... with Francis' image as a reformer contrasting with more traditionalist elements within the Church. The first major change came when Pope Benedict wrote a letter last year blaming the Church's sexual abuse scandal on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, in a direct contrast to Francis' public stance. On a smaller scale, Francis has rejected a number of traditions, including his predecessor's famed red shoes. Public interest in the relationship between the two men has peaked recently with Netflix's release of The Two Popes, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, in December."

From "Retired Pope Benedict warns Francis against relaxing priestly celibacy rules" (BBC).

Here's the trailer for "The Two Popes," which I'm interested in because it sounds like my all-time favorite movie — just 2 men talking to each other about an important subject:



UPDATE: The Oscar nominations came out this morning, and both "Popes" are nominated — Jonathan Pryce (Francis) for Best Actor and Anthony Hopkins (Benedict) for Best Supporting Actor.

60 comments:

Michael K said...

I have wondered for some time if Benedict was the subject of a "coup" by left wing cardinals who wanted the Church to turn hard left.

rehajm said...

A little hint: Most of them have red faces.

- From Find the Pope’s in the Pizza Contest

rhhardin said...

You need three popes to get things settled.

David Begley said...

Pope Francis has been a huge disappointment. He has failed to tackle the Church’s existential issue: Church membership in Europe. Islam will rule Europe by the end of the century. Way bigger problem than climate change. St. Peter’s will be a mosque.

rastajenk said...

"Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line"

Oh, sorry...wrong movie reference.

tim maguire said...

I've been watching The Two Popes in batches. So far, yes, like My Dinner With Andre, it is two men talking. I'm am enjoying it, but have concerns that it is too favorable to Pope Francis--so far, it is making him out to be a saint and Benedict to be a tired old fool who is too in love with the perks of office.

In the 40 minutes I've seen, there has been only one quick nod to the dangers of reform as an end in itself ("those who marry this age will be left widowed in the next age"). IMO, careless "reform" is a serious flaw in Francis' Papacy. In more competent hands, this issue would be explored more fully to bring balance to the two sides of the debate.

Maybe in the second half, which I will watch despite my misgivings.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

I've been waiting for the right frame of mind to watch this movie. I'm hopeful the movie will be a revelation. "You say you want a revelation, well you know, we all want to change the world..."

Bob Boyd said...


— just 2 men talking to each other about an important subject:

Shouting Thomas said...

Reform is always a mistake when applied to Catholicism.

Vatican II was a suicidal mistake. Being hip and relevant has zilch to do with being Catholic. I'm Catholic for the Magisterium, ritual, and 2,000 years of art, music and literature.

The Church should never have abandoned the Latin Mass. I travel two hours to Jersey City when I can to attend Latin Mass at a Polish/Ukranian parish in Jersey City. It's beautiful and mysterious and serene. It's not that difficult to learn the minimal Latin necessary for Mass.

Although the Church has suffered declining populations in every parish, that decline is moderate in comparison to the mainline Protestants desperately trying to be hip and relevant.

CWJ said...

Does anyone get slapped?

ndspinelli said...

It is a quality movie. But, there is more dialogue than just the 2 men talking. It's not a cult flick.

tim maguire said...

Shouting Thomas said...I travel two hours to Jersey City when I can to attend Latin Mass at a Polish/Ukranian parish in Jersey City.

On Monmouth Street?

Shouting Thomas said...

On Monmouth Street?

Yes.

Rory said...

"Look, it doesn't take a genius to know that every organization thrives when it has two leaders. Go ahead, name a country that doesn't have two presidents. A boat that sets sail without two captains. Where would Catholicism be without the popes?"

--Oscar Hernandez

Phidippus said...

"...with Francis' image as a reformer..."

Deformer would be closer to the truth. Shouting Thomas is precisely correct. The fact is that the "reformers" in the Church have abandoned the faithful, corrupting it into a lame simulacrum of what it once aspired to be. There is no reason to go there any more. It is the same now as every other church, but with a better art collection. The lights are still on, but the Light is out.

Speaking as a non-believing conservative, I grieve this outcome and what it portends for our civilization.

Phidippus said...

BTW, for the benefit of the BBC, it's not about the shoes.

AMDG said...

Pope Emeritus and Cardinal Robert Sarah have come out with a book defending the concept of Priestly celibacy. I find it hard to imagine that the book would be published without the tacit approval of Pope Francis.

My sense has always been that in matters of faith and doctrine the differences between Francis and Benedict are more style than substance.

tim maguire said...

Shouting Thomas said...
On Monmouth Street?

Yes.


I was briefly a member of that church. About 15 years ago, when I lived above the bodega a block north.

tim maguire said...

When it comes to reform in the church, I often bring up A Canticle for Leibowitz. It really hits hard on the danger of a church trying to keep itself in the spirit of the times.

If a business goes under, the employees suffer. If a commune fails, only its members lose out. We can all benefit from successes, but very few suffer from the failure, so go ahead and take risks.

Churches, on the other hand, have a responsibility no other institution or organisation has--the church has the responsibility to still be here in a 1,000 years. Reformers may seem nice in the short run, but they are a poison pill containing the seeds of ultimate destruction.

etbass said...

Can any good Catholic tell me what the mission of nuns is today? They used to teach school, nurse in hospitals, but as far as I can tell they have no mission today.

I have a niece who spent years in a nun novitiate and was eventually rejected for permanent vows. We suspect it was because she is not that submissive, but she was just told she doesn't fit. Someday when she has recovered from the rejection, we plan to ask her what nuns do anymore.

rcocean said...

Compared to the Church of England, the Catholic church is doing fine. The C-of-E is a walking corpse. Dead man walking. Maybe the Catholic Church should get rid of the prohibition against married priests, and confine celibacy to the higher Church ranks. IRC, that's what the Orthodox churches do.

etbass said...

I think there are pious sounding arguments for priests' celibacy. But it seems to me to have been the death of churches when it became a cover for homosexuality, and a magnet for perverts.

Mr Wibble said...

The Church should never have abandoned the Latin Mass. I travel two hours to Jersey City when I can to attend Latin Mass at a Polish/Ukranian parish in Jersey City. It's beautiful and mysterious and serene. It's not that difficult to learn the minimal Latin necessary for Mass.

Although the Church has suffered declining populations in every parish, that decline is moderate in comparison to the mainline Protestants desperately trying to be hip and relevant.


The Latin Mass in my town is full of young Catholics, many of the women wearing the chapel veil. The regular masses are mostly older, upper-middle class white folks, and a lot of times they can't be bothered to wear a jacket or clothing other than yoga pants.

rcocean said...

Pope Francis is a globalist and an open borders freak and Archbishops are always spouting off on some political matter. One reason for not being Catholic.

Iman said...

I'm not Catholic, but for what it's worth, Pope Francis has not impressed me much at all, with one exception: his admonition to put down the smart phones.

Fernandistein said...

2 men talking to each other about an important subject

"Which way to the woods?"

rcocean said...

Where else can you get, Popes, C.S. Lewis, and a Rock n' Roll Drummer. Its Althouse Monday.

Mark said...

The Two Popes -

For people who have/want/like a fraudulent, twisted, hateful view of the Catholic Church.

Mark said...

"Francis' image"

And that's a problem too. There is the image and then there is the reality.

Mark said...

My sense has always been that in matters of faith and doctrine the differences between Francis and Benedict are more style than substance.

Your sense is off.

Unknown said...

How to "Riff" on an idea..

Char Char Binks said...

They could have come up with a better title -- My Two Popes, The Pontiff Trap, Pope and a Half, Planet of the Primates...

Mark said...

Can any good Catholic tell me what the mission of nuns is today?

Mary is the model for us all, but consecrated religious view her in a special light. “The consecrated life has always been seen primarily in terms of Mary – Virgin and Bride,” wrote Saint John Paul, and the “spousal dimension, which is part of all consecrated life, has a particular meaning for women, who find therein their feminine identity and as it were discover the special genius of their relationship with the Lord” (Vita Consecreta, 34).

Each religious sister is reminded, in the language of spousal love, how complete and total is their self-giving to Christ in a love that focuses totally on him. As a sign of their union with Christ, many women religious wear a habit, and some wear a ring to explicitly identify themselves as a “spouse of Christ” and a “mother of souls.”

Through their lives consecrated to the Lord, in their religious communities and out in the world, in a blessed and particular way, each religious sister becomes fruitful, fostering the spiritual “birth and growth of divine life in people’s hearts” and contributing to the growth of a new humanity (Vita Consecreta, 34).

Mark said...

I know quite a few religious sisters (technically a "nun" is cloistered in an enclosure separated from society). They are largely young, intelligent, well-educated, fun and attractive. And they rejoice in wearing their habits.

Phidippus said...

rcocean: "Where else can you get, Popes, C.S. Lewis, and a Rock n' Roll Drummer. Its Althouse Monday."

Yes, all that and yet, so far, no RIP for Roger Scruton.

So let me say it: RIP.

A brief appreciation here: https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2020/01/roger-scruton-a-man-who-seemed-bigger-than-the-age/

Harsh Pencil said...

"Can any good Catholic tell me what the mission of nuns is today? They used to teach school, nurse in hospitals, but as far as I can tell they have no mission today."

They pray.

Mattman26 said...

The word "reform" should come with scare quotes pre-installed.

J said...

The movie is a fantasy conversation passing itself off as true. It smears Benedict in favor of Francis, and the “based on true events” intro is dishonest and misleading. Good acting and an interesting subject—it didn’t need to be botched by made up controversy.

Andrew said...

The two popes need to find a room and duke it out like Gandalf and Saruman.

"You have elected the way of pain!"

wild chicken said...

From Find the Pope’s in the Pizza Contest


Wait, the Pope's what?

Char Char Binks said...

The Vatican ain't big enough for the both us.

cacimbo said...

A nun I knew who retired about 15 years ago worked as a psychologist. She wore normal street clothes and was required to donate the majority of her earnings to the church (poverty vow). She gave me the impression that most nuns hold regular jobs now.

In NYC the church is bleeding members. Some of the spanish speaking immigrants (legal & illegal) attend masses, but they don't donate enough to keep the lights on, never mind the roof repaired. Lots of Catholic churches in NYC have closed and/or merged with other parishes. The church wanted to sell the convent near me to muslims for a mosque, but the locals rebelled. The archdiocese backed down and it became a senior day care. Now as a final f.u. to their former members for moving to other locales or other christian churches the NYC archdiocese announced last week they are working with Mayor DeBlasio to turn some of the shuttered churches into homeless shelters. Just what the members who donated for years want - a massive homeless shelter to destroy their property values and quality of life.

I used to donate to the local church even though I didn't attend mass. No more. Today's Catholic church is just another lefty organization that does not value their members.

Marc said...

The movie is a fantasy conversation passing itself off as true. It smears Benedict in favor of Francis, and the “based on true events” intro is dishonest and misleading.

Exactly.

I don't look to the BBC for information about the Church, no, and were I in some doubt as to their honesty and impartiality, I'd look about no further than their use of Messers Faggioli and McElwee as sources. And, lest there be any doubt about my disdain for their coverage of Catholic questions, Martin Bashir is something of an ass.

MountainJohn said...

I have wondered for some time if Benedict was the subject of a "coup" by left wing cardinals who wanted the Church to turn hard left.

He was. Read Windswept House. They tried with JPII, and finally succeeded with Benedict.

MountainJohn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

Jonathan Pryce is best known for his role as a religious charlatan in Game of Thrones. I'm sure that played a role in his casting in this movie ....Hollywood took particular delight in casting the actor who played Christ in Gibson's movie as a psycho killer. They were the only roles he was offered......

Jim at said...

If I hadn't already left the Catholic church, Frank would've cinched it for me.

I go back to John XXIII, and this guy is the worst Pope I've ever seen.

grimson said...

which I'm interested in because it sounds like my all-time favorite movie — just 2 men talking to each other about an important subject

Yes, but now what is most important is the writing, not the acting (which with Pryce and Hopkins, I'm sure it is fine).

I find I enjoy many more movies that win the Oscar for Best Writing than Best Picture. "The Two Popes" is a nominee for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) as well as for both actors, so maybe it's worth checking out.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Mr. Wibble: The Latin Mass in my town is full of young Catholics, many of the women wearing the chapel veil. The regular masses are mostly older, upper-middle class white folks, and a lot of times they can't be bothered to wear a jacket or clothing other than yoga pants.

Hip, relevant services = bunch of old people. (Usually UMC whites, as you point out.) When I've been able to attend a Tridentine Mass, the joint's rockin' (reverently, of course) with young families. (Alas, can only attend when traveling, as the nearest parish offering a Latin Mass is hundreds of miles away from where I live.)

I consider it a bad sign when I go to a service and I'm the youngest one there. (I'm 61.)

Mark said...

She gave me the impression that most nuns hold regular jobs now.

She gave you the wrong impression.

TJM said...

Pope Francis aka Pope Libtard the First is a nasty piece of work and an intellectual lightweight compared to John Paul II or Benedict. He is finishing the job started by Vatican Disaster II.

TJM said...

cacimbo,

And unfortunately for New York, Cardinal Dolan is a buffoon, seen yucking it up with Abortion King Obama at the Al Smith Annual Dinner.

TJM said...

Mark,

I saw a news story that a so-called Carmelite nun who is supposed to be cloistered was running around the Iowa caucus worrying about which Dem could be President Trump. Isn't that nice? A catholic nun voting for the Abortion Party. I sent the story to her bishop and said he needs to investigate this left-wing loon. I doubt he will do anything because he's probably a left-wing loon.

I was trained in the Faith before Vatican Disaster II. I remember when the Catholic Church was a great universal Church. That Church is no more. I basically only attend the Latin Mass and I am generally the oldest person there. Lots of young families. Our bishops simply do not get it.

Mark said...

I was trained in the Faith before Vatican Disaster II.

That would be the same faith that, immediately after the Vatican Council, led to a stampede of people running for the exits. Where to? Certainly not for something traditional, but instead for something more worldly.

Face it, the pre-Council Church was not the glory days that some would have it be. There were a lot of skin-deep Catholics, most of whom might be able to spit back some rote memorized answer to some catechism question, but could not tell you what it meant.

But don't take my word for it. Joseph Ratzinger thought/thinks the same thing -- including matters of liturgy.

Mark said...

And need I point out that the overwhelming majority of clergy abusers were formed/ordained in the pre-Council Church?

I too used to believe that the Council was the cause of all the Church's woes. Then I learned the historical facts.

TJM said...

Mark,

My experience would not support your assessment. The European Church was not in good shape and some felt the Council was called because of the state of the Church in Europe. Remember, the Europeans were recovering from the disastrous affects of two world wars which we in the US did not experience. In sharp contrast to Europe, the US Catholic Church was vibrant, dynamic, and growing. Even Hollywood respected and feared the Church’s power. Celebrities and political leaders were being converted by the likes of Bishop Fulton Sheen who beat secular programming with his program. Pope Benedict did not experience the vibrant US Church of the 1940s, 1950s or early 1960s. Maybe he thought we were slugs like the Europeans.

Unfortunately, the left-wing loons and communist infiltrators in the Church (read Bella Dodd) worked in overdrive to push for change, change that was not asked for nor needed. The bishops were overwhelmed by the onslaught and most just caved to the zeitgeist of the times. I never caved and I am seeing in the younger clergy the seeds of true reform which will recover what was lost. I agree that we may never achieve the number of adherents we once had, but the Church will revive.

The sex scandals were caused by an insular minority of the clergy, many of whom were left to themselves to commit sin because rectories and religious houses no longer had the numbers to police its members

TJM said...

Mark,

A friend of mine, who like me was properly trained in the Faith prior to the Council, saw the Two Popes and thought it was laughable, a left-wing loon info-commercial.

readering said...

I saw an unfinished preview a year and a half ago. For a while I wondered if it would actually be released. There were a lot of things to like about the film, including the two leads, both portrayed sympathetically, but I found the theological and church discussions irritatingly unrealistic. Was shocked when it started getting nominations and awards. Netflix does get stuff made that wouldn't otherwise.

Unknown said...

Hi everybody. I recently saw a testimony about chief dr lucky in a blog I visit for relationship and dating counseling problems because i had been having serious issues with my boyfriend and we had been dating for six months, he just suddenly changed, he wasn't returning my calls,he started cheating,he was hurting me in many ways i never thought possible and I just thought I should try it*maybe out of desperation of some sort*..and I contacted chief dr lucky ..At first everything felt dreamy and unbelievable, his consultations and solution was a little bit easy and strange and I was scared a little cause I heard read and heard lots of stories to of fake spell casters,scams and i never really believed in magic..I played along with a little hope and and faith and I sent some few stuffs after everything and it worked like a miracle,everything went to a while new direction,it was and is amazing...I guess it was all good faith that made me read That particular post that faithful day..I hope he could help other people too like he did me...I did a little and I got everything I wanted and wished for*my husband,my family and my life back. E-mail: Cheifdrlucky@gmail.com or contact him on whats App him +2348132777335 Website :http://chiefdrluckysolutionhome.website2.me/  

Bob said...

Pryce is one of my favorite actors, based mainly on his portrayal of Dr. W.H.R. Rivers, a psychiatrist who treated shell-shocked soldiers in WWI in the film version of Pat Barker's outstanding novel Regeneration. Here is a fine clip from the movie.