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The Vatican bids farewell to David Bowie, too

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano took the media and the public by surprise yesterday by bidding farewell to David Bowie, saying he was “never banal.” The British artist, who died just two days after releasing his 25th album, Blackstar, was also eulogized for venturing into painting and acting, which showed—the paper said—Bowie’s maturity. But it was not the only homage coming from the Holy See: the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, paid tribute by tweeting the lyrics from the rock star’s old hit, “Space Oddity”: “Ground Control to Major Tom/ Commencing countdown,/ Engines on/ Check ignition/ And may God’s love be with you.” These salutes carry the implicit message that famous personalities are role models. Some, especially the most surprised, will see in it a sign that “the Church is joining the world.” Indeed, it has never parted from it. The oldest institution with two millennia of continuous history probably knows one thing or two about us, and the world.



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