ACCORDING TO ARISTOTLE'S Poetics, art is supposed to imitate life. However, Oscar Wilde claimed that life more often imitates art. In the case of the recent Netflix movie The Two Popes and warring camps within the Catholic Church, it may be hard to tell which is which.
The Two Popes —which depicts an imagined relationship between Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his successor, Pope Francis—was bound to inflame tensions between those who believe that Francis wants to toss out historic church teachings on marriage and sexuality and those who suspect that anyone with a soft spot for the Latin Mass wants to bring back the Inquisition. Then, within weeks of the movie’s release, we had the spectacle of Benedict appearing as co-author on a book about priestly celibacy that seemed like a timed rebuke to the limited openness to ordaining married men expressed at the Amazon Synod that was called by Francis. Benedict later asked that his name be removed from the book.