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POPE & OSCAR/ The body cannot be separated from the spirit

From the world of the Oscar awards seems to come a spirituality where the spirit is detached from the body. But, says LORENZO ALBACETE, Incarnation is at the centre of the Catholic faith

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The news of the week can be summarized by the name of a fictional character called Pope Oscar. (I am certainly not speaking about Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras. My Pope Oscar is entirely fictional.)

Pope Oscar's name comes first from the world of the Oscar awards in Hollywood, which certainly dominated the popular news this past week. It was celebrity week in the USA last week and they certainly made sure that we noticed them.

My problem is that I can't recognize 99% of these people and in any case they all look more or less the same. And as for the nominated movies, a friend from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences gave me advance copies of the ten candidates for best pictures but I didn't have to see them all, and of the few I did see the action moved so fast that I could not follow it well.

Still, I noticed something that struck me as interesting, namely, in spite of the emphasis on celebrity, money, and style, the movies themselves seemed serious raising of difficult moral questions left unanswered. The questions were about homosexuality, euthanasia, torture, revolution and poverty, etc.

Even more interesting, in his acceptance speech as best director, the director of The Life of Pi , Ang Lin, said that his movie offered as solution a world beyond politics, without wars, without or beyond religion. The audience applauded enthusiastically.

Such would be, one imagines, the preferred spirituality of the celebrities, one that doesn't offer any resistance to our manipulation of our bodies...until the first little tumor appears.

In any case, this human spirit without bodily interference is the result of that separation of God whom Christ which Don Giussani identifies as the main steps on the path of that secularism which trains us to be content with the impossibility of even asking certain questions. (the other steps are: Christ without church, church without man -here is today's spirituality without Christ, man without God, world without persons). Which is where the Pope part comes in.

As we watched on news TV the stories, true or false, of increasing scandals at the Vatican, we could see the suffering bodily figure of Pope Benedict XVI, we can see how the human body cannot be separated from the human spirit. We need a Pope that we can touch, see, hear.

That Incarnation is at the center of our faith and must take place within the human body, lest it just becomes some day the decaying body of a celebrity. Viva il Papa !

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