The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0824 Monday, 18 March 2002
Date: Saturday, 16 Mar 2002 15:51:58 -0600
Subject: Papal Legates, etc.
In re: SHK 13.0811
King John seems to some to be pro
Catholic because the sources that make John a hero for standing up
the pope were blatant Protestant propaganda while Shakespeare
villainizes John. But the Church doesn't come off any better.
than a defense of Catholicism, it seems to me more a statement
good and evil motives, a good Reformation vs a bad Reformation.
Someone (I forget whom) once suggested (unconvincingly) that Sh. went
through a lapse of faith in the period when he was writing *Jn.* and
then revived his fervor by time he was working on the friar plays
(*Rom*., *Ado*, *MM*). Rather than good Reformation and bad Reformation,
the ambivalence may be a matter of revering the office and distrusting
the man. As a friend of mine once said "I like Christianity, but I just
can't stand Christians."
A note of levity may be permitted. The Chairman of the Theology
Department at Boston College, who seems to be defending the Vatican's
stance on celibacy in the Roman clergy, is named "Stephen Pope".
*Austin American Statesman* Sat. Mar. 16, p. A8.
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