Posts Tagged ‘movie recommendations’

If you have time on your hands …

Imagine Sir Thomas Wyatt – a protestant – negotiating the deadly waters of Catholic England. (How many protestants did Thomas More burn at the stake?)

Imagine Henry VIII sucking up to Rome for years while trying to divorce Catherine of Aragon (whose parents initiated a particularly vicious version of the Inquisition in Spain.)

Imagine the role of the popes in the Inquisition, which was alive and well in Spain while our Sir Thomas Wyatt acted as go-between for Henry VIII and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

I read the Six Wives of Henry VIII years before I knew about my family’s descent through Sir Thomas Wyatt the Poet. I skimmed information on the popes. Zzzzzz. “Boring” I thought. Maybe you feel the same. I was christened Catholic before my mom convinced the whole family to become Jehovah’s Witnesses* – but many of my friends were Catholic and they continue to be some of my favorite people on the planet. I assumed “their” popes must have been – must be – good guys.

On a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, I was too busy absorbing the beauty of Michelangelo’s Pieta to pay attention to centuries of obscene wealth.

Since starting my research on our medieval Wyatts, I started paying more attention to Rome. I began to see why some “heretic” monks attempted to bring Christ’s word back to a purer form; they began to gather in groups (like the Lollards) who lived simply and “cared for the flock” as Jesus had. Of course the popes were outraged; their public could see the shocking difference between true faith and what they were selling. And they did SELL EVERYTHING, from permission for a prince to divorce a good wife or marry a cousin to a violent knight’s guarantee of heaven after death.

I spent time immersing myself in medieval popes and rented Borgia; Faith and Fear from Netflix. (This was a happy accident, as I thought I was getting the glossy Showtime version, The Borgias:

Borgia; Faith and Fear was OUTSTANDING. Produced in Europe, it contains a surprising level of sex and violence; but it’s spellbinding and the director’s choice of actors is outstanding.

You can watch it on demand, or get the DVDs. (Keep the kids out of the room!) This link has a plot summary –

Enjoy. Who knew history could be so interesting?

*I left Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1974.

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