Showing posts with label Benedict XVI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Benedict XVI. Show all posts

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stendhal revisited

The title of the major work of Grenoble's great novelist Stendhal [1783-1842] was Le Rouge et le noir [Red and Black]. We saw today a fabulous cover-image:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On God's wavelength

The man in white often gets things wrong. Talk about less than perfect infallibility, the descendant of Saint Peter screws up, in one way or another, whenever he tries to step into the modern here-and-now world of ordinary folk like you and me and a few billion other specimens of the animal named Homo sapiens... created incidentally, not by God (as Benny believes), but by Darwinian evolution.

While preparing for his forthcoming excursion to Africa, I imagine that the pope has been able to take advantage of scores of wise experts who know everything that could possibly be known about this continent, its inhabitants, their problems and their challenges. Among other things, Benedict XVI must have surely listened to terrible tales concerning the ravages of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), culminating in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Concerning this hellish affliction, rampant in Africa, what does the Holy Father conclude? In the plane heading to Cameroon, Benny told journalists today that he considers that the distribution of condoms is not a feasible problem-solving approach. "On the contrary, it aggravates the problem."

Maybe, in the depths of his saintly soul, the pope feels that, if this pandemic finally wipes out hordes of sinful fornicators, that will automatically increase the percentage of good God-fearing spouse-respecting Catholics left alive on Earth. Is that Christian logic?

BREAKING NEWS: People from every walk of life in France are unanimous in condemning the pope's silly words about condoms. With a rare exception...

The bishop of Gap, Jean-Michel Di Falco, has had a busy day. I have the impression that he's one of the rare churchmen in France who's prepared to stand up and say something nice about the pope's astounding assertion. For a decade, the telegenic prelate was the official spokesman for French bishops (a heartthrob for pious middle-aged Catholic women, in the style of Father Ralph de Bricassart of the Thornbirds movie) before becoming a bishop himself. Today, he has been swept up by the French media. On TV, he made a feeble attempt to defend Benny Bonkers by a far-fetched argument. Di Falco claims that, in Africa, many men have the habit of sharing the same condom. So, the pope was perfectly right in saying that condoms spread the Aids pandemic. For dreaming up this ingenious explanation of the sense of the pope's declaration, Di Falco deserves to receive some kind of prize for imaginative thinking in the service of his chief, maybe a cardinal's job...

TRIVIA: I was amused to learn that Di Falco studied for the priesthood just up the road from Choranche, in the neighboring village of Rencurel. The seminary for so-called "tardy vocations" no longer exists, but the old building itself changed its vocation tardily, being transformed into a guest house.

This guest house was used a few years ago as the headquarters in the Vercors for the making of the film The Girl from Paris, with Michel Serrault and Mathilde Seigner.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


When Barack Obama realized that Tom Daschle, the man he had nominated for the job of health secretary, was in a delicate and finally unacceptable taxation situation, the president made a frank mea culpa: "I screwed up." It would be nice if other world leaders could be equally candid about their faulty choices.

Incidentally, I'm curious to know the etymology of the verb "to screw up", meaning to botch something. Am I right in thinking that this verb might be a colloquial metaphor with sexual connotations? I seem to recall that it was common, in Australia, to tell a fellow to "go and get screwed", evoking Woody Allen's delightful: "I told him to be fruitful and multiply, but not in those words." In that case, Obama's language might not be papally correct. Before making a judgment on that Byzantine question, we would need to hear it in Latin.