Archive for vatican

Angels & Demons

Posted in G 0 with tags , , , , on June 15, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero

As many will know, Angels & Demons is a rather appalling, if highly successful, book by Dan Brown.

Director Ron Howard is presently working on the movie version of the novel, following up on his previous rendition of another bestseller by Brown, The Da Vinci Code. Tom Hanks will be starring in the movie, in the role of professor Robert Langdon, which he had covered in the previous one as well.

I learned today that the Vatican had denied access to its premises for the shooting, as it had previously done for the Da Vinci Code, on account that the movie “offends common religious feelings”.

As you may know, the novel start with a murder of a physicist taking place at CERN and the theft of an absurd amount of anti-matter in order to set-up an unlikely anti-matter bomb. The process of anti-matter production, the physics involved and the laboratory itself are also described in a rather ludicrous manner. Such that CERN felt obliged to rectify a few questions in one of its public web pages.

I was wondering if the movie plan was requiring some shooting at the CERN site, so I had a look and discovered that it was indeed so. And, guess what, not only CERN management apparently had already granted access to the site, but CERN physicists had helped to get some physics issues straight in the script.

I have still some reserve about the likely result, but this is not the main point. What is worth noticing is the different behavior of CERN and the catholic church administrators.

It could well be that in the novel the church has been treated in a worse way than science or CERN had been. Or they are more easily offended. Or less tolerant. Or again, could be that science is less vulnerable than religion to what adds up to a fair amount of essentially innocuous bullshit wrapped around a cleverly devised plot.

And could be that this has something to do with science being based on facts and logic rather than faith. Up to you to decide.

For me, I’m rather happy to be on the side of Angels, this time. Or are we the Demons?

Well, whatever.



Posted in G 1 with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero


On June 1st, the Pope received in the Vatican the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon.

Addressing the new ambassador in English, among other considerations, the Holy Father expressed his appreciation for:

“…the efforts of so many of your fellow citizens and government leaders to ensure legal protection for God’s gift of life from conception to natural death, …”

I wonder what would be the appreciation of such efforts by the people of Iraq or Afghanistan, or by US soldiers stationed in these countries, for that matter. But maybe the concept of “natural death” has a deep theological meaning that baffles my ignorant self.

The Business

Posted in G 0 with tags , , , on February 15, 2008 by Roberto Gravitazero


From yesterday’s newspapers. After the critics from the Vatican to the movie “Caos Calmo”, triggered by the explicit scenes featuring Nanni Moretti and Isabella Ferrari, the director Steven Frears has declared:

“Why don’t you Italians get rid of the Vatican ? You can try to sell it to Berlusconi.”

Fascinating idea. And not too unrealistic, either. Synergies, common strategies, complementary market segments … the old tycoon could indeed be interested, even if Vatican’s audience must have taken quite a hit since the times of the former CEO, John Paul II.

Only, I have the impression the deal had already been concluded. Since quite some time, actually.