Friday, October 16, 2009

Letter #34, from Rome, Grace

insidethevatican - Oct 16, 2009

Running from Appearance

A reflection on Princess Grace of Monaco. Also, today is the 31st anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul II to the papal throne, on October 16, 1978

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome


The world of the theater, of acting, of Hollywood, is a world of appearance.

In these worlds, appearance, not substance, is what one strives for, what one embraces, what one treasures.

What counts is what seems to be, not what is.

The surface of things, not their profound depths...

And, in so far as these worlds have been held up as models for all of us, even when we are far from Hollywood, our entire modern society has been tempted by, and succumbed to, an infatuation with the seeming, with the superficial and ultimately false world of appearance.

This is against the perennial teaching of Chirstianity.

In the mystical tradition of Christianity, all appearance is to be distrusted, for even the devil can clothe himself as an "angel of light" so as to deceive, on occasion, even the elect, and one must hold fast the deep things of the faith, even when they are no longer visible to the eyes -- especially when they are no longer visible to the eyes...

And so we have two ways set before us: the way of appearance, and the way of flight from appearance in order to embrace the true and the real beneath the deceptive surface.


I had a meeting inside the Vatican the morning, and as I was walking across the Cortile San Damaso under a perfect October sky, the air cool and fresh, I noticed that a red carpet was being rolled out over the cobblestones.

It wasn't for me.

"Who is coming to see the Pope?" I asked one of ther Swiss Guards.

"The Prince of Monaco, and the Prime Minister of Ukraine," he told me. "But you've got time. They won't be here for an hour or more."

I will have occasion soon to write about Yulia Vlaimirovna Timoshenko (photo), the lovely and intelligent Prime Minister of Ukraine who made a fortune as a successful businesswoman in the gas industry before entering politics, and also more to say about Ukraine and its relations with Europe and its larger neighbor, Russia.

But now I would like to say something about Princess Grace of Monaco, who died in a car crash in 1982.


The Prince of Monaco is in Rome because a major exhibition on the life of Princess Grace opened here today (entitled "The Grace Kelly Years, Princess of Monaco," the exhibit will be Rome from October 16th 2009 until February 28th 2010).

Princess Grace was born Grace Patrica Kelly (photo) on November 12, 1929, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA).

When she died on September 14, 1982, she was still just 52.

From simple origins, she became was one of the top 10 or 15 Hollywood actresses of all time.


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