|Aleister Crowley in Golden Dawn garb and David Bowie|
So what are Catholic in the pew to make of a Vatican prelate, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, gushing over David Bowie who died on January 10th?
Bowie's last album, Blackstar, appeared to be a eulogy for the dark side filled with occult imagery and all around weirdness including a mock crucifixion scene. Even the title of the album shares the name of the satanic Blackstar Church headed by Adrian Clavex who published the Satanocon: the Book of Evil in 1993 with a dedication:
TO SATAN—Who has shown me the value of Evil and who has been my Guide; my personal source of inspiration.Did Bowie, with his obsessive interest in the occult, have no knowledge of a satanic church named "Blackstar" or the image of the "midnight sun" particularly in view of the occult symbolism filling the video? Both Bowie and the director of the Blackstar video, Johan Renck, were fans of satanist Aleister Crowley and much of the imagery in Bowie's albums could easily be interpreted as promoting Crowley's legacy, e.g., Crowley's initiation into the order of the Golden Dawn.
In any event, the Vatican eulogizing a rock star who, only a few years ago, made an adult video portraying Jesus in a sacrilegious way is beyond bizarre. Would anyone be scandalized if Bowie's death went unnoticed at the Vatican? Wouldn't a simple condolences to the family with a promise of prayers not be more appropriate? Will we see the Vatican release messages eulogizing every celebrity who dies?
Fr. George Rutler called the Vatican's reaction to Bowie's death a "misplaced grief" and I certainly agree. Father also refers back to the Vatican's gushing reaction to Michael Jackson's death. I'm waiting to see if the Vatican will have anything to say about actor Alan Rickman who died this morning. He also was 69 and, like Bowie, died of cancer. Does the Harry Potter icon, Professor Severus Snape, (Whom I knew best as Col. Brandon in Sense and Sensibility) have the same appeal to Vatican clerics? Or is it only rock stars?
Like Fr. Rutler I hardly knew David Bowie. I only recognized him when the news showed his photo and I remembered watching The Labyrinth with my kids. Oh yes, I remember him, he played the goblin king reciting the silly exchange, "You remind me of the babe...the babe with the power." I knew nothing of his music or his life. But I will pray for him because he's my brother. Like all of us, he needs the mercy of God. That he needs much prayer and sacrifice is painfully obvious, particularly in view of Blackstar.
Fans of David Bowie who want to do him some good, would do well to imitate Mother Teresa's response to the news of Diana's death. The man doesn't need maudlin praise about his musical legacy or his genius. None of that amounts to a hill of beans now. David Bowie needs prayer and sacrifice that in his final moments he turned to Christ and begged for His mercy and the gift of eternal salvation.
I pray that he did.
May he rest in peace.