Netflix Original Movie – Nominated for Three Oscars
I am not Catholic, but I have always been pro-pope.
What’s not to like? The pope learns several languages so he can travel the world spreading a message of peace and love to as many people as possible. He’s a powerful man who isn’t too proud to get on his knees and clean another man’s feet. Popes are amazing.
But this pope… Pope Francis. I don’t get the love affair with him. I mean, he’s fine; he’s a great man of faith like all the other popes. But I don’t think he should be treated like a rock star because of his opinions on secular matters.
In the past, popes were actually secular leaders. They were the leaders of the Papal States and not much different from any other monarch of a small Italian or German principality. Somewhere along the line, the Church decided that it would be better and more holy if popes stuck to religion and left politics to the politicians.
Not only is Pope Francis not content to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, there are blatant contradictions in his philosophy.
To me, it feels absurd to rail against poverty and environmental destruction simultaneously. If Earth’s billions of poor people suddenly became middle class consumers like us, the degradation of the planet, the pollution, and the gluttonous waste of resources would skyrocket.
Another contradiction in Pope Francis’s philosophy is that he rails against economic inequality but he also chooses to live as humbly as possible.
So which is it? Are Jesus and Francis of Assisi correct that a faithful man should live a life of poverty since the next life is the one that really matters? Or is poverty on Earth a catastrophe to be remedied at all cost?
Based on the Sermon of the Mount, economic inequality is only a problem for the rich. They are the unfortunate fools who are risking God’s wrath in exchange for a fancy house.
Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles loves Pope Francis and presents him as the hero of the Church. But at least his new movie “The Two Popes” also introduces us to Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins), a character who eloquently expresses Francis’s contradictions.
Benedict tells Francis: “I don’t agree with anything you say,” but he also says that talking to Francis is like hearing a message from God and it inspires him to step down and let the Argentinian Cardinal replace him.
The scenes where Benedict and Francis (Jonathan Pryce) simply chat and debate one another are entertaining and charming. The flashbacks to Francis’s younger years in Argentina are boring and unenlightening.
Strangely, the movie is way too hard on Francis (Father Jorge Bergoglio at the time) for his cooperation with Argentina’s military dictatorship during the late 1970s.
Some of Francis’s friends and fellow priests actively resisted the government and ended up tortured or killed. Young Francis forged a working relationship with the military rulers in order to save as many lives as possible. To this day, many Argentines view Francis as a collaborator and a traitor.
But I am actually with Pope Francis on this one. Just because Jesus and St. Peter allowed themselves to be killed by the Roman government does not mean that every Christian must eagerly race to be martyred. Getting along with a bad government to help make it less murderous is a splendid thing to do. Good for young Bergoglio.
Pope Francis is a good man. I just think he’d be a better pope if he led by example and kept his political opinions to himself.