Italian film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli is offering his services to Pope Benedict as an image consultant, saying the German pontiff comes across as cold and needs to review his wardrobe.
Zeffirelli, acclaimed for movies such as "Romeo and Juliet" and "Jesus of Nazareth," said in an interview with la Stampa daily on Saturday the 80-year-old pope did not have "a happy image."
"Coming after a media-savvy pope like John Paul II is a difficult task ... Benedict XVI still communicates coldly, in a way that is not suited with what is happening around him," Zeffirelli said.
"It's an issue I have been discussing with people who have key roles in the Vatican," said Zeffirelli, who has directed some Vatican television events.
"The Pope does not smile much, but he is an intellectual. He has a very rigid Bavarian structure," he said.
Zeffirelli, 84, added that papal robes were "too sumptuous and flashy." "What is needed is the simplicity and sobriety seen in the other echelons of the Church," he said.
Zeffirelli said he was in regular contact with the Pope's closest aides and had also made proposals to "defend the image of faith in cinema, the image of the sacred."
"The Holy See intends to pay a lot more attention to this," he said.
He said today's religious films were "a horror that the Holy See does not know how to stop.
"I am a Christian down to the depths of my spirit. I can't stand by while this disaster unfolds. I am available to put myself at the service of the Church," he said.
"If they officially give me a supervisory role, I will do it full-time."
The Vatican was not immediately available for comment. Reuters
I'll be hornswoggled. Vincenzo has been working on blogging behind our backs. He was busy this morning, though, watching the Extraordinary Use Latin Mass on EWTN with his pal, Mother Angelica and Father Z. Father Z is excited about the elimination of guitars from Mass, it seems.
"Now just where is Vincenzo when we really need him? If the Pope needs a Fashion and Image Consultant, he ought to polish up his resume and Fax it to the Vatican.va."
Wow, that's weird. I always thought of the Holy Father as a really sweet, caring, grandpa-type of guy (who also happens to have a huge brain and uses it, all the while appearing humble). Who gives a rip what he wears? I never thought he had much choice in get-ups but kind of "had" to do what his "dresser" (or whomever) threw on him in the morning. I don't think he needs fashion advice from a dude who still thinks that wearing a sweater around your shoulders is cool.
whoopsie! I looked at that picture again...I amend my previous statement now to:
"I don't think he needs fashion advice from a dude who still thinks that wearing a man-scarf with a suit coat (not even meant to keep his neck and face warm) is cool."
It's good to see the Mysterious and Magnificently Talented Vincenzo with a blog so we can contact him. Thanks, Vincenzo.
Laura: You are right in that the Pope wears "whatever his dresser throws on him" in the morning. But that has been quite controversial for some time. Archbishop Piero Marino had been the papal Master of Ceremonies ("dresser") since the early days of JPII. He was the one responsible for the outlandish chasubles and copes that both Pope had been seen in. He was "forcibly" retired (promoted) a couple of months ago. A new MC, named Msgr Marini from Naples is now in charge and is much more conservative in his tastes.
How 'bout the ciggie? Should the Pope take up smoking?
I agree with Laura, she's got it nailed. Back in the days when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, we didn't know much about him and he seemed to have a lot of bark to go with his well-educated bite. But, since becoming B16, he comes across as very warm and approachable. Just because he isn't a cookie-cutter image of JPII, doesn't mean he's got it all wrong.
He's made some weird fashion choices, but at least he has his own style. I can't say I always agreed with what my parents wore *cringe* but I know they didn't always understand what I wore either!
I suspect that Ziffirelli is looking for publicity. I can't imagine the Pope taking on someone like him who apparently wants Carte Blanche to do whatever he wants. The Pope just has done that with Abp Marini who is now gone and forgotten, even though he has written a book complaining about all of his brilliant ideas that haven't been adopted.
Oh, I've been following the whole Abp Marini thingy, but I actually admire the pope even MORE because he wore those ridiculous things (advised to do so by Marino, of course). Follow this:
1. I suspect that men who are overly conscious of what they wear and how they look are not really men at all.
2. If the pope just wears "whatever they throw on him in the morning" then that means that he barely notices when he looks stupid.
3. If he doesn't care how stupid he looks, he must be a real man.
Of course, this is all my own opinion. I'm sure I don't represent the majority of women in this. Oh, and you should SEE some of the get-ups my hubs comes down the stairs in for church on Sunday (if I haven't had time to make any suggestions). He's a real man. Oh yeah...it's BAD!
"Real Men" go for comfort, Laura!
I think Mr. Zefferelli should go home and take a laxitive.
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