Goya’s Ghosts

This evening – as a counterpoint to the exams – I went to see the movie Goya’s Ghosts (Milos Forman). The main theme is violence, religious violence (the practices of the RCC inquisition) and war (the Napoleonic wars in the Iberic peninsula). As a painter, Francisco Goya (1746-1828) is known for his marvelous portrets, as well as for his very crude paintings of war and violence – a contrast that one experiences when visiting the Prado museum in Madrid. I think I somewhat better understand the mind of Goya after seeing this movie, how he must have been profoundly hurt by the violence around him while at the same time experiencing deep compassion, which moved him to record in his drawings and paintings what he saw.  The movie confronts us with the tragedy of those who suffer evil and violence, and it makes us more sensitive and compassionate in our own world: violence is still very much around us.

We are also brutally reminded of the fact that religion – in this case the Roman Catholic Church – sometimes brings about violence that it covers up by theological argument and church authority. Theologians have to learn the humility to always become aware of those who may suffer from their systematisations and theories.

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