Just one year late, the Vatican’s official newspaper has finally come out and let the world know their official stance on HBO’s The Young Pope, the English-language Italian drama television series created and directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
L’Osservatore Romano dedicated a full two-page spread to series on Sunday, which aired a generally well-received ten-episode season last year. During the show’s original run, the Vatican remained conspicuously silent about anything and everything concerning the show, which was especially notable since many other Catholic outlets didn’t hold back in their criticism of the Jude Law-starring drama. Also: notably, they mostly wrote their pieces while the show was airing.
In the article, which was penned by Spanish intellectual Juan Manuel de Prada, the show gets about as positive a review as you can get, while still calling The Young Pope out for the “frivolous” and “grotesque” way it depicts church politics. In his review, de Prada opines that with Sorrentino’s anti-clerical rants there was also a “docile admiration for the church.” So…3.5 stars?
“L’Osservatore Romano editor-in-chief Gian Maria Vian partially explained why the review was so long in coming: “They wanted us to either bless it or excommunicate it, and I didn’t want to play that game,” Vian said. “But we intervened now because it’s an important television series, an important cultural phenomenon.”