Vatican Warms to Wilde

Paper praises writer's 'lucid' analysis of his world
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 17, 2009 9:38 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Sunday, July 5, 2009.    (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
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(Newser) – The Vatican long regarded Oscar Wilde as a “dissolute homosexual,” but things have changed, writes Richard Owen in the Times of London. A review in the Vatican newspaper of a study on the Irish writer celebrates him as “one of the personalities of the 19th century who most lucidly analyzed the modern world in its disturbing as well as its positive aspects.”

“Behind a mask of amorality,” L’Osservatore Romano said, Wilde “asked himself what was just and what was mistaken, what was true and what was false.” Wilde was a deathbed convert to Catholicism, “a religion which, as he remarked in one of his more acute and paradoxical aphorisms, was ‘for saints and sinners alone’,” the newspaper notes. Wilde’s “existential path” may “also be seen as a long and difficult path toward that Promised Land which gives us the reason for existence.”
(Read more Oscar Wilde stories.)