The sixth episode of HBO’s The Young Pope made another blanket, heretical statement about Catholic priests. Additionally, the episode, which aired January 30, contains two power-hungry speeches given by the Pope (Jude Law) aimed at destroying the Italian Prime Minister and an order of monks.
At the start of the episode, Cardinal Andrew Dussolier, the Pope’s childhood friend and newly appointed Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, is shown in an incredibly graphic, drawn-out sex scene with another man and a woman. (Recall that the prevous Prefect was fired for being homosexual.)
Later in the episode, the Pope lays out his orders for how Dussolier should handle candidates for the priesthood, including luring aspiring priests into “compromising sexual situations” and invasively investigating their pasts. The Pope argues, “Every candidate for priesthood takes a vow of chastity and none of them respect it, that’s the truth.” Obviously, Cardinal Dussolier, previously seen in the raunchy threesome, protests (not to the statement that all priests defy the vow of chastity, but that priest backgrounds should be checked thoroughly).
In one scene, the Pope gives a list of demands to the Italian Prime Minister, which, among banning abortions and gay marriages, includes “restriction on the religious freedom of Muslims and Hindus.” When the Prime Minister touts his 41 percent election win as a threat to not only disobey the Pope’s demand, but instead work against the Church, the Pope responds, “I, as the vicar of Christ, would be happy to help God eradicate that 41 percent.”
The Pope continues his tirade, proclaiming, “God and I are simply dripping with imagination.” He muses how the Prime Minister could defeat “a Pope as handsome and reassuring as Christ.” At the end of his rant, he ties all of his over-the-top menaces together by threatening to use his papal supremacy to re-decree the Non Expedit, which states that “it is unacceptable for Catholics to vote in the Italian elections.”
Not too long after, the Pope makes similar threats to an order of monks asking the Pope to resign. “I’ll strip you of all you have,” he avows.
Pope Pius XIII- Just try it. I'll strip you of all you have. Everything. Your beds, your tunics, your underpants, all those wonderful monasteries you have in the most wonderful, loveliest places on Earth, because all that belongs to me. Are you ready to live on the streets like Saint Francis of Assisi? Are you ready to sleep on the ground, kicked and spat upon by junkies and homeless people and drunks? I'm ready to wage a war without end against you. Are you ready to wage that war, armed with nothing but bottomless poverty? I didn't think so. In that case, stop talking bullshit and get yourselves some shoes, because the air in here is un-breathable.
Also similar to the previous episode, the show manages to get in a few more absurd jabs at the Catholic Church. In one scene where a Cardinal dies and someone asks how, another Cardinal gives the classic liberal answer: “The same thing the Church is going to die of. Old age.” Additionally, in response to the Catholic Church’s decline in popularity due to the new pope, Cardinal Voiello informs him, “Small but dangerous enclaves of Catholic fundamentalism are starting to spring up, just like Islam.”
So is the Catholic Church on the verge of militant conservatism or is it full of sex-crazed priests? Even HBO doesn’t know.
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