In the News: Protests, Polemics, and Pastries

A round-up of recent religion news.
 

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In the News: Heaven, Human Rights, His Holiness, and more!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

In the News – Heathens, Hymns, and Holy Men

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

In the News: Emanuel A.M.E., Encyclicals, Etsy, and more!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

In the News: Satanism, Sacred Music, Shasta Seekers, and more!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

In the News: Pamela Gellar, Prophesy, PEN, and more!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

Consumption of The Borgias: A Viewer's Guide

by Meghan Maguire Dahn and Abby Ohlheiser

“You are so beautiful, Giulia Farnese, I would have you painted,” declares Jeremy Irons’s Pope Alexander VI in Showtime’s new series The Borgias.  It’s not surprising.  The lighting in The Borgias is sumptuous and if there’s one thing they light particularly well, it’s the desirable flesh.  It’s all positively luminous, like pigment suspended in oil.

And, really, what else would you expect?  The viewer-attracting meat of this show is its meticulously constructed tension between our understanding of Catholic virtue and our expectations for scintillating cable entertainment. Showtime is marketing The Borgias as some sort of historical Sopranos – a crime family with pretty costumes, big meals, and the juxtaposition of religion and naughty bits.  But The Borgias is a bit more complicated than that: the series is about getting and keeping absolute power, in the name of God.

Let’s be clear about God’s role here. The Borgia family – and their enemies and friends – talk about God like a Brit might talk about the Queen. God is real, but mostly ceremonial. The important action happens in the City of Man. This is not Augustine’s Catholic Church. Instead of withdrawing from worldly delights, the cardinals turn up their nose at gruel and scoff at the suggestion of fasting, carnal sacrifice be damned. Continue Reading →