Monday, May 29, 2006

A divided Europe

Krakow, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Looks like a pretty Italian church facade, but it happens to be in Poland, in Krakow, to be more precise. And one thing which Italy had and Poland has is fanatical Catholicism. Fortunately, Italian people are finding their own way in the world without the excessive influence of their Roman Church.

This seems not to be the case with Poland, where all of life seems to be more and more influenced by Catholic 'family values'. Indeed, the new Pope, Sister Bernadette made Poland his first port of call for an official pope-mobile visit.. and there they all were yesterday. Hundreds of them , thousands of them, in a large field outside of Krakow, to welcome the new pope, successor to their Karel Wojtyla, Sister Bernadette. Not so far away, maybe from the Auschwitz camp.

Sister Bernadette has looked at the map of Europe and all he could se were falling church attendances, until he stumbled on Poland. Lots of Catholics there and glad to be rid of communism. And they had just voted some parties into government which are inspired by Catholic family values. Indeed, they just appointed a new minister of education whose main objective seems to rid Poland's schools of the influence of homsexualists, who might not condemn homosexuality at every possible stage.

The plan seems to be to build on the church's strengths in a nice big country like Poland, and who knows, maybe Europe's spiritual revival may spread out from there?

And, yet on the day, the Poles shed tears in the presence of their new spiritual leader, the rest of Europe was getting on with life, many going to the cinema to see The Da Vinci Code.

The churches and the snobby film critics would not have us go to the film, but to the film we are all going, where it has had a very successful introduction in most markets outside the US (and Poland). We went yesterday afternoon and very much enjoyed the expereince. It might not be the best film ever made, but it certainly wasn't as bad as many of the snobby critics would have us believe.

The film used music a lot to create the atmosphere required, and was in this way a typical blockbuster. I found Tom Hanks a bit too much like Forrest Gump, but he annoyed me much less than the character in the book. Silas could have bene a bit creepier, but he had a couple of great scenes. Ian McKellen was great, playing a role which fitted him perfectly. I enjoyed very much the flashbacks, especially the one of the militant Catholics pulling down the pagan statues in Rome.

And I can see why the Catholic Church, in particular, might not really appreciate the film as it portrays the Church as a malevolent organisation, not stopping at any cost to protect itself, its memebrs and interests (like almost any large multi-national organisation) but combined with some strange and exotic practices, such as eating the flesh and drinking the blood of The Saviour.

I also read that the film has been banned in Nagaland, India, where some American evangelicals encouraged them to abandon their traditional beliefs and become Protestants. So, it seems like my brother Richard will not be able to see it. A pity for him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nagaland is also a place for insurgents demanding a separate nation because they converted. Well done guys.

29 May, 2006 18:10  

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