November 20th, 2011Shakespeare and the Vaticanby Joseph Pearce
One of the gratifying developments in recent years is the extent to which the wider secular world is beginning to take the evidence for Shakespeare's Catholicism seriously. The latest example of this "mainstreaming" of the Papist Bard is an article in the Daily Mail, one of the largest newspapers in the UK, reporting on an article in the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. Neither article shows an adequate understanding of the evidence. The Mail regurgitates discredited arguments for Shakespeare's Protestantism and atheism, without considering the solid refutation of this evidence by scholars; L'Osservatore Romano parrots textual evidence for Shakespeare's Catholicism, such as the references to purgatory in Hamlet, without providing any of the biographical or documentary evidence that is readily available. It should be noted that L'Osservatore Romano is not the voice of the Vatican, as implied by the Daily Mail, but merely the newspaper published by the Vatican. It is emphatically not infallible but is simply a newspaper. Indeed, in recent years it has earned something of an unenviable reputation for quirkiness and idiosyncrasy. These caveats aside, it remains encouraging that the evidence of Shakespeare's Catholicism is being taken ever more seriously in the world at large.
Here's a link to the Daily Mail article: