Vatican Breaks Nearly a Year of Silence to Review HBO Drama Series
The Vatican finally ended its silence about the HBO drama show The Young Pope. And the reaction is surprising.
A review of the show was printed in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. While the article called the show “frivolous,” “caustic,” and “grotesque” it generally was a positive review. The paper did not comment while the show was airing, almost a year ago. The reason L’Osservatore Romano gave for their silence was not to give the show any publicity by either approving or condemning it.
The show is about the election of Cardinal Lenny Belrado (Jude Law) to become Pope Pius XIII as the first American pope. Pius, a staunch conservative, immediately begins a series of sweeping reforms. “Tolerance doesn’t live here anymore. It’s been evicted. It vacated the house for the new tenant, who has diametrically opposite tastes in decorating.”
The show has received mixed reviews from both critics and Catholics. Criticism has been given to the sexual content, nudity, and profanity, especially since the subject matter is the papacy. Others have praised the accuracy of the depiction of internal power struggles in the Vatican and the increased conservatism of younger priests entering the service. The show was extremely popular in Italy, where it had the best viewings ever of a TV show debut on the Sky Network, three times greater than that of Game of Thrones.
The HBO show The Young Pope was not exactly subtle. One scene showed a kangaroo bouncing around the Vatican, while another showed the Pope getting dressed in a montage set to a song by party-rap duo LMFAO. The show was not known for its complete accuracy, but rather its beautiful cinematography, acting, and wild imagery.
The review states the design of the show was not intended to be offensive to Catholics. Rather it was about the caricatures over exaggerated for an American audience. The show was not nominated for any Emmy Awards, however it has been picked up for a second season.