Bozell & Graham Column: HBO's Super-Villainous 'Young Pope'

In a conversation about homosexuality a few years ago, a Catholic priest made a powerful observation. "Do you realize Heaven is full of gay saints?" His point: The homosexual condition exists; the exercise is sinful. Those honoring God's law carry an especially heavy cross through life, and for that they are rewarded with Paradise. 

The atheist cannot separate the sinner from the sin because he doesn't acknowledge the existence of sin. What to do about those who do -- condemning the sin, but also demanding the sinner be loved? The atheist hates Christianity, and Christianity-haters have no problem purposely distorting the Church's teachings while slandering her leaders if it will advance their agenda. 

Enter HBO and The Young Pope. In the fourth episode of a ten-episode series, the implausible American pontiff Lenny Belardo (Pope Pius XIII) proposes to Cardinal Voiello – a “reformist” prelate who wants to manipulate the eponymous young pope – that all the gay priests be drummed out of the priesthood. 

The script reads like a mudslinging advertisement against the Vatican. 

The cardinal protests: “It would be a war that would leave the ground littered with corpses, Holy Father. Do you want to know how many corpses would litter the ground?” The pontiff replies “Two-thirds of the clergy.” Since even recent gay-activist surveys plot the LGBT segment of the population at 3.5 percent, that number is ludicrous. Slander is never having to say you’re honest. 

But the conversation continues to smear the Catholic hierarchy. The cardinal protests: “ Then what becomes of Mother Church's capacity for forgiveness?” Pope Lenny shoots back: “With our abuse of forgiveness, we've become a laughingstock, Your Eminence, as unreliable as some miserable little Third World country.” That insult isn’t good enough for the script writer, since the cardinal replies in kind: “With your methods, on the other hand, we are likely to become as reliable as, say, North Korea.”

So take your pick. In HBO’s opinion, the world’s largest church is either a “miserable little Third World country” or “North Korea,” which is pretty much the same thing, the latter one with a heavy layer of Marxist totalitarianism. 

This malignant “Holy Father” doesn’t recognize any rules. There’s really nothing Catholic about him. When he goes ostensibly to confess his sins to a priest, the pope demands the priest tell him the sins of other confessors – a confidence, or “seal” priests are not supposed to violate. Then Pope Lenny drops the tidbit he doesn’t even believe in God. “I do not believe in you. I don’t believe you’re capable of saving me from myself,” the Pope asserts to God during the confession scene. When the priest expresses grave concern, he clarifies, “I’m saying I don’t believe in God.” Then he insists “I was joking.” 

New York magazine's Vulture blog raved that comic-book makers should see this “Young Pope” as a model supervillain, like “a sadistically illiberal Batman.” Even liberal critics see this pope as a “borderline Antichrist.” He’s a powerful threat to everything Christ-like in the Church. 

The timing for this Vatican drone-attack seems a little bizarre, considering how Pope Francis has been persistently pleasing to the Left on environmental and economic issues. All this is such an outlandish caricature that HBO might as well just dress Bill Maher in papal vestments and be done with it. It couldn’t be any more venomous than this claptrap. 

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