Tuesday, April 05, 2005

RIP JPII

Many of the obituaries and eulogies of Pope John Paul II mention his background as an actor and playwright. I hadn’t realized that he was also a screenwriter at one remove, having written a play, “The Jeweller’s Shop, a reflection on married love, that became a Burt Lancaster film.

He certainly knew the power of drama and story, and was a living exemplar of the right use of culture to address power. A couple of articles worth reading are from Richard Rodriguez at Pacific News Service and my favorite, George Weigel at Ethics and Public Policy Center/Wall Street Journal (Also see his Scripps-Howard column on understanding the pope from the inside, which goes a long way toward explaining the effectiveness and consistency of JPIIs performance in various roles, not to mention his actions overall).

Further evidence, perhaps, of cinema as the new cathedral, or in this case, of an individual who makes the reverse route once he realizes what the true cathedral is. I am not a Catholic, but I am inclined to agree with film interpreter Thomas Hibbs that “John Paul presented to youth an attractive possibility, that maturity need not mean boredom, that fidelity and responsibility might be wedded to adventure and risk, and that heroic suffering need not quench joy or hope.” Rest in peace.

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