Philistines And Renaissance Princes

For the entire afternoon, Francis did not leave his room at [Domus] Sanctae Marthae and simply told his associates: “I am not a Renaissance Prince who listens to music instead of working.”

One must truly wonder at the kind of people walking along the corridors of the Vatican.

The statement above was – Rorate reports – initially fed to a relevant Internet site, and only after more than little surprise was expressed at the alleged Pontiff’s words it was taken away and substituted for a more neutral comment about the Pope’s general lifestyle and preferences, and the fact he was so busy.

Concerning the words himself, either the Pope is their author, or he is not. If he is, we are clearly in front of a philistine of the most worrying sort, and one taking a very cheap shot at Pope Benedict to boot. If he hasn’t, he should stop having people near him putting words in his mouth that he has not said. To send out an official denial that he has said the words would also be useful.

Others will comment about the empty chair, and the general duties of a Head of State who is also the Successor of Peter. I would, in this blog post, limit myself to remark that in all probability, those who sent out the statement, directly attributed to him, about the “Renaissance Prince” – which, between you and I, sounds so much like Pope Bergoglio it’s even scary – thought they would make him a service, and increase his popularity.

Not very smart, I know; but thinking of it, if it worked with the bus-riding Pope, the home-cooking Pope, the black-shoes-wearing Pope, the Mozzetta-hating Pope, the bishop-of-Rome Pope and the newsagent-telephoning Pope one can see how some people might think it will work with the oh-so-hard-working, down-to-earth, Beethoven-shunning, “no time for luxuries”, “one-of-us” Pope.

In a way, it makes sense. Most people’s concept of musical achievement stops at the likes of Lady Gaga, and if one is so thick that he thinks riding the bus makes for a better Pope he might well think a Pope who fails to show up at a Beethoven concert is very much in tune with “the people”.

Alas, this time it has backfired. Apparently, to shun the Mozzetta is good, but to shun Beethoven is bad; to disparage pomp is good, but to disparage a classical music concert is bad; the Pope is praised when he breaks liturgical rules, but he is criticised when he breaks rules of etiquette.

Now, if you are one of the simpler kind you may well believe that the Pope did have urgent work to do, like the all-busy CEO of a troubled multinational company running from one emergency to the next; but I truly hope few of my readers think like this. What I think most of them will believe is that the Pontiff just doesn’t have much in common with Beethoven, considers beauty a kind of luxury, doesn’t really care much for rules and when he has no fancy to show up at a concert he just avoids it; not out of wilful discourtesy, mind, but of a semi-socialist, philistine mentality according to which a classical music concert is a pastime for the bourgeoisie, and his attendance to it more or less inappropriate whilst the favelas suffer poverty.

Remember, this is a man staging Pinocchio masses. Beauty must be a rather foreign concept to him. He doesn’t see beauty, he sees luxury and pomp.

My impression is that the time of the easy popularity is rapidly going to an end. Three months ago, most mainstream bloggers would have fawned about the Pope, the new buddy of the poor, shunning the luxury of a Beethoven concert because he is so far away from all these unnecessary frills, and so hard working for peace ‘n justice; now that people start to think clearly, all the limits of this quest for popular gestures – certainly fed by a lack of cultural depth – start to show up, and it hurts.

If you ask me, this Pope must still learn his job, in the sense that he seems not to have grasped – another sign of mediocre intelligence, or humble arrogance – what the job entails. On the contrary, he seems to think that he can behave as he pleases, rules aren’t so important, people fuss too much about immaterial things, and provided he is concerned for the poor he will be fine.

I am afraid he will learn the lesson the hard way.


Posted on June 24, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I found his behaviour in not going to the concert to be the most awful bad manners. It would be unacceptable for anyone to do this let alone the leader of Christ’s Church on earth. Think what the musicians must have thought. Hours of rehearsal for the honour of playing for the Holy Father wasted. I don’t see humility here, just arrogance.

  2. vermontcrank1

    Somebody should have been wise enough to drop a hint of two that the Pope could not make it to the concert because he was busy servicing the breaks on the Popemobile that he rides that around in on St Peter’s Square and many people, including, I suppose, minority cripples, are in St Peter’s Square to greet him and if anyone thinks a concert of music composed by some dead old white guy is more important than the safety of minority cripples clearly has their priorities wrong.

  3. If he said that, he sounds more like an ayatollah than a pope.

  4. Dear Mundabor, what a great post and I agree thoroughly with your analysis of what is motivating this populist circus now being unleashed. Like a house built on sand I can see this collapsing into ruins and what a fall it will have.

  5. My (perhaps flawed) memories of seeing pictures of Pope Benedict at concerts had him sitting in the front row of the audience, not separated from them. So I’d question why the papal chair was placed as it was and, when Pope Francis declined to attend, why it was not quietly removed. Are there two messages here: one from Pope Francis and one from those wishing to make a point? If so, neither side comes out of this particularly well.

    • Apparently the announcement was given full three minutes before start. If this is so, the removal would have been even worse, methinks.


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