Pope Frank About Preferences in the Arts

This interview has been getting some attention, of course, and in some cases completely misunderstood, of course. And maybe this isn’t such a great subject to light upon either, but I particularly enjoyed reading about what he likes most in the Arts. In literature there is Dostoevsky, Hölderlin, Hopkins, Manzoni, in painting he mentions Caravaggio and Chagall, and in opera the list seemed to go on and on.

But I especially liked this:

“We should also talk about the cinema. ‘La Strada,’ by Fellini, is the movie that perhaps I loved the most. I identify with this movie, in which there is an implicit reference to St. Francis. I also believe that I watched all of the Italian movies with Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi when I was between 10 and 12 years old. Another film that I loved is ‘Rome, Open City.’ I owe my film culture especially to my parents who used to take us to the movies quite often.”

Makes me feel just a little less guilty about my indulgence in the movies. But what I liked most was his response to his time spent teaching literature to secondary school students:

Then I also started to get them to write. In the end I decided to send Borges two stories written by my boys. I knew his secretary, who had been my piano teacher. And Borges liked those stories very much. And then he set out to write the introduction to a collection of these writings.”

When the white smoke last appeared, the first question on my mind was “I wonder what he makes of Borges?” (not proud of that, but we all look for what we want to see). And I remember reading that the pope was a fan, but I hadn’t heard that he’d had much contact with blind bard of Buenos Aires. Makes a certain sense, actually, and I was happy to learn of it.


  1. I agree. He was quite frank.

  2. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    This —

    When the white smoke last appeared, the first question on my mind was “I wonder what he makes of Borges?” (not proud of that, but we all look for what we want to see).

    — brought to mind this —

    ‘For His sake who did not reject your curious gifts, pray always for the learned, the oblique, the delicate. Let them not be quite forgotten at the Throne of God when the simple come into their kingdom.’

    (Waugh, Helena)

    — and also this —

    ‘I want a priest,’ [Asbury] announced.

    ‘A priest?’ his mother said in an uncomprehending voice.

    ‘Preferably a Jesuit,’ he said, brightening more and more. ‘Yes, by all means a Jesuit. […] Most of them are very well-educated […] but Jesuits are foolproof. A Jesuit would be able to discuss something besides the weather.’ Already, remembering Ignatius Vogle, S.J. [whom Asbury had met in New York City], he could picture the priest. This one would be a trifle more worldly perhaps, a trifle more cynical. Protected by their ancient institution, priests could afford to be cynical, to play both ends against the middle. He would talk to a man of culture before he died — even in this desert!


    ‘It’s so nice to have you come,’ Asbury said. ‘This place is incredibly dreary. There’s no one here an intelligent person can talk to. I wonder what you think of Joyce, Father?’ […]

    ‘Joyce? Joyce who?’ asked the priest.

    ‘James Joyce,’ Asbury said and laughed.

    The priest brushed his huge hand in the air as if he were bothered by gnats. ‘I haven’t met him,’ he said. ‘Now. Do you say your morning and night prayers?’

    Asbury appeared confused. ‘Joyce was a great writer,’ he murmured […].

    ‘You don’t eh?’ said the priest. ‘Well you will never learn to be good unless you pray regularly. You cannot love Jesus unless you speak to Him.’

    (O’Connor, ‘The Enduring Chill’)

  3. I do not support the current Pope. He does not at all fit my concept of a good, authoritarian Pope. Actually, I am opposed to the relativism of modern Catholicism quite violently.


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