Humiliating Christ continues

Discussion in 'News of/from Rome' started by Admin, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member

    From "Street Art" To "Street Theology." The Two Faces of the Superhero Pope


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    For a few weeks the souvenir kiosks in and around Saint Peter’s Square have been selling T-shirts with Francis dressed as “Superpope.”

    The effigy is not new. It appeared in 2014 on a wall on Via Plauto, a short walk from the Vatican, and was removed a few hours later. But it brought fame to its creator, Mauro Pallotta, 45, who goes by the name Maupal. And since then it has gone viral:

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    Last October, Maupal once again depicted the pope on a new mural, on Vicolo del Campanile, this time playing tic-tac-toe and drawing peace symbols instead of O’s, with a Swiss Guard acting as his lookout. This new drawing was also erased in a matter of hours, but it too has gone down in history:

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    So when an apparel company got the idea to reproduce the first of the two drawings on a T-shirt, no one at the Vatican made any objection. On the contrary, Monsignor Dario Viganò, prefect of the newly created secretariat for communication and one of the pope’s closest confidants, expressed his full approval. Which, wonder of wonders, coincided with that of the artist, according to whom Pope Francis is “a man who with his simplicity and great openness toward the real needs of the people instills hope on a par with a Superhero.”

    After getting the copyright from Maupal, the company successfully completed the steps for the necessary Vatican authorizations, with a formal contract and the approval of the secretariat of state.

    In exchange for the license to commercialize the image of Francis as “Superpope,” the Holy See has had 9 percent of the sales price of each T-shirt set aside for Peter’s Pence, the fund of offerings made directly to the pope from all over the world.

    No surprise so far with a pope like Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in perfect symbiosis with the mechanisms of the media and publicity.

    But there is a book published last year that right from its cover, it too polemically inspired by street art, raises serious questions about the appropriateness of this happy-go-lucky adherence of the reigning pope to the current canons of communication:

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    The author, Enrico Maria Radaelli, a disciple of the Swiss philosopher Romano Amerio, is one of the most sophisticated voices of theological criticism of the tendencies of the Catholic Church from Vatican Council II until today. And he has a field day showing how with Pope Francis this tendency is not only one of image, but above all one of doctrine.

    For him, the “street theology” personified by Bergoglio and by his magisterium is to classical theology as the “street art” of a Kendridge or a Basquiat – or why not, of a Maupal – is to the immortal art of a Giotto or a Michelangelo.

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