The “semi-official” Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has given the latest 007 movie the Catholic seal of approval, never mind the fact that James Bond is hardly a poster boy for Christian charity with his womanising, killing and otherwise A-moral lifestyle.
The latest edition of the newspaper, which carries the masthead Unicuique suum ("To each his own") and Non praevalebunt ("The gates of Hell shall not prevail"), suggested the Holy See was rather taken with Skyfall, devoting no fewer than five articles to the film.
These included an interview with Daniel Craig and a piece headlined “007- license to cry” which said the film contained everything you could want from a Bond film, including “"adrenalin-pumped action to exotic locations, beautiful Bond girls, and the inevitable vodka Martini – shaken, not stirred."
L’Osservatore Romano praised Dame Judi Dench's “appealing” MI6 chief M, who showed “the fragility of a woman who hides behind the cold mask of the boss of the powerful MI6”.
One article compared the relative merits of previous James Bond actors from Sean Connery onwards. And another analysed the various soundtracks.
The broadsheet was founded in 1861, soon after the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, to act as the mouthpiece of the Vatican. Up until five years ago it would typically publish theological articles, information about the Pope’s official engagements and features on ecumenical issues.
But since the appointment of editor Gian Maria Vian in 2007 its editorial slant has been widened to include popular culture from Harry Potter to the Simpsons. She has also introduced more female writers, international news and modernised the typography and design.
The weekly newspaper is published online in seven different languages and receives millions of hits everyday despite a print-run of just 15,000 per week.