I’ve been fascinated with the Pope, the Vatican and anything to do with papacy since I first read Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons 5-6 years ago. I was intrigued with the customs and significance of what happens when a Pope dies. Bring in the architectural beauty of the Vatican and Rome itself and you’ve got me – hook, line and sinker.
Shortly after I finished reading the book, the Pope in real life (Pope John Paul II) actually died! Imagine how excited I was – I actually watched the funeral on TV and made it a point in life that I just have to visit the Vatican one day.
Then I made up the word Popette, which basically means “female Pope” – it was a private joke between FP and I about me wanting to be a Popette. He made use of this story about me wanting to go to the Vatican to poke fun at me to his friends – telling them that I have a crush on the Pope. Hahahaha!
We even had it in our plans to visit Rome for our honeymoon (but all that has changed since the world cup – we have decided to go to New Zealand instead; long story – save it for another blog post) So anyway, you get it: this whole Vatican – Pope – Popette issue became sort of MY thing.
So last week, I was looking for a movie to watch on my own in the theaters. It was between Eclipse (yes, I must be the last person to watch it – but it sucks anyways) and this movie called Pope Joan.
Pope Joan tells of the legend of a woman, Johanna, who disguised herself as a man and eventually became a Pope undiscovered! However, she was left out from the book listing all the Pope names as a revenge by one of her male enemies.
I was so glad I chose Pope Joan over Eclipse because it was so worth the watch.
To see how badly women were treated circa 800 A.D makes me appreciate the education opportunities we have today. Men were the dominant gender in society and thus given the privilege of education and learning. Women were best illiterate and act as housekeepers and child bearers; seen but not heard.
Johanna’s father was the village priest who was a strict Christian. If ever, his wife or daughter even mention Pagan Gods or show interest in learning, he will abuse them to no end. Quite unnerving to watch that.
But as Johanna grew up, and somehow managed to get into a Cathedral school as a girl (totally unheard of prior to this), joined a monastery as a man and finally ending up sitting in Saint Peter’s throne.
We can see her challenges as a woman in a male dominated society, and that’s just bloody amazing. Plus, she has a love interest – so she had to choose between the needs of a mortal and giving her life to God.
When she became Pope, one of the things she planned to do was set up a school for girls. She was challenged by her advisors who told her, “The more a girl learns, the smaller her womb becomes” – and she rationalized that ancient logic in a diplomatic yet firm manner that I was in awe of it.
In short, this movie reeks of Girl Power, and proves the point of “whatever a man can do, a woman can do BETTER”. If a woman once sat on the Papal Chair and ruled the Catholic Church – anything is possible.
I recommend you to watch this movie, if you have the time.
p/s: Johanna looks so much like Blake Lively when she’s growing up – can’t find any photo.
p/p/s: Blake Lively is like one of my two girl crushes, so yeah.