Franco Cardini: Condemns new film about Elizabeth, saying it maligns Spain's Catholic king

A Vatican-backed historian has attacked the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age as a “distorted anti-papal travesty” that risks dividing the West just when it should be rediscovering its “common Christian roots” in the face of Islam.

Writing in Avvenire, the official organ of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Franco Cardini said that the film formed part of a “concerted attack on Catholicism” by atheists and “apocalyptic Christians”.

Professor Cardini, who holds the chair of medieval history at Florence University and formerly taught at the Lateran University in Rome, a Vatican body, said that its aim was to “secularise and de-Christianise” Europe.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age stars Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth, Geoffrey Rush as Sir Francis Walsingham, her spymaster, and Clive Owen as Sir Walter Raleigh. Directed by Shakhur Kapur, it was widely praised at the Rome Film Festival last month, with critics describing Blanchett’s performance as magnificent.

Professor Cardini said “a film which so profoundly and perversely falsifies history cannot be judged a good film”. It had potentially offered “a contribution to the understanding of a moment of vital importance.” Instead, the Virgin Queen was portrayed as “an able politician and courageous sovereign” while King Philip II of Spain was shown as a “ferocious, fanatical Catholic, swinging his rosary like a weapon and roaming the Escorial Palace like a madman, full of impotent fury, dreaming of subjugating the world to the Catholic faith”.

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