Friday, July 29, 2011

Fellini's view of the Roman Catholic Church

I think it has always been this way.  Worse in one era than another probably - although the filth seems to have overflowed in our day - the sewage has backed up into the sanctuary.
Photo: Fellini's Roma, Ecclesiastic Fashion Show.


  1. Anonymous3:40 PM

    One of my favorite scenes of all time:

    In this film fellini reveals his exaggerated memories of growing up in Rome. This is what it must have felt like on the streets as a child seeing various vestments and pomp within the Church. It is not meant as an indictment.

  2. Anonymous4:06 PM

    I hear you! I'm a little disgusted at the moment. Stay strong everyone.

  3. Actually - strike my last comment. Fellini's fashion show is more than a childhood fantasy. His Catholicism wasn't blind to certain abuses amongst worldly and ambitious clerics. Italians have always been sensitive to corruption within the hierarchy, something anti-clerical factions have exploited to their advantage.

  4. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Yes and I had forgotten about his nod to aristocratic Italian's obsession with Pope Pius XII. However, within the context of the film in its entirety, I remember it being more of a childhood memory of the bigger-than-life nature of the Church. In watching it again, I do see him pointing to the fat, corrupt, bureaucratic nature of the Church.

    Fellini was complex, but I guess that is also the way I feel about the Church as well. I love it, but I am sickened by the human corruption. That has been the situation for Catholics for centuries. There is nothing new under the sun.

  5. Anonymous8:49 PM

    I just watched this clip again and now I'm wondering if it's blasphemous.

    Mocking our sacred traditions, customs, vestments and devotion to the Holy Father? I don't know...

  6. Anonymous8:52 PM

    "aristocratic Italian's obsession with Pope Pius XII"

    I am curious what this is about. Do you mean the nobility of the time?

  7. Definitely blasphemous. Fellini was using this scene to poke fun at Holy Mother Church. Definitely blasphemous.

  8. Replies
    1. Its the internet and not the faith that offends you here I think.

  9. I think Fellini was from Rimini, not Rome. He was not a practicing Catholic, or not consistently one. Nevertheless, he identified himself as Catholic and though it can be irritating when someone who is really detached from the Church does this in his case I don't know what else he could have said. He was fascinated and compelled by Catholicism on so many levels, and the faith informs everything he tried to say. "Satyricon" is offensive and hard to watch if you love the Church, but can it be denied that Fellini in on to something there? Finally, "La Dolce Vita" was condemned when it came out after an initially mixed reaction from the Church. It has since been re-evaluated and with good reason. The alienation, promiscuity and despair it depicts is clearly shown to be that of those who no longer have faith. How profoundly concerned with the things that matter it now appears to me compared to films of this day. Upon his death Fellini was reclaimed by the Church, and many who dislike the Church point out that he never gave consent. His wife of more than 50 years, Guilieta Masini surely did as she was present throughout, rosary in her hands. It is very hard to make any statement about a man who avoided any declaration of faith himself obviously. I do not find his films destructive of Catholic faith because they are critical of it, but there are many who disagree on this.


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