Cristiano Ronaldo, the famous footballer, has made a film about his life. This is, on the one hand, not very interesting, and on the other hand, quite interesting. It’s the former because really there is little about Ronaldo that should command our attention. At the same time, it is the latter, given that he is the object of so much attention, that tells us something about the nature of our society. You can read an account of the film at the Guardian here and at the Telegraph here.
I have no intention whatever of seeing the film, but here are some thoughts that struck me as I read about it.
First, clergy, wherever you are, and whoever you are, please behave. We read in the Guardian:
As a snapshot of what life must be like for Cristiano Ronaldo, there is one clip in the new film Ronaldo when his godson is being baptised and there is a small gathering around the font. The baby’s head has just been wet when the priest looks over to the tanned guy with the gelled hair and whips out a mobile phone. ‘Any chance of a quick selfie?’ he wants to know.
This is not the way for a priest to behave. It is deeply unbecoming to use a mobile phone for any purpose whatever during a liturgical function. No ifs and no buts. Moreover, the clergy should always endeavour, however much they may be football fans or fans of anything else, to treat celebrities as normal people. After all, celebrities need to go to church as much as the next person, and they should not be distracted by fawning clerics. They should be able to enter a church and have the complete assurance that they can be themselves: a place of worship should be a safe space where the world’s crazy ideas about celebrity do not enter. A church is a place where all of us are “normal” and all of us are equal. Let’s all make a special effort to resist the Hello magazine-isation of the Church and her liturgy.
Secondly, we read in both accounts that the Ronaldo family has had something of a tough time: the father drank himself to death, the mother relies on tranquillisers, and Ronaldo Junior is being brought up without his mother. The Guardian, a very pro-abortion paper, also tells us this:
Here, too, is the revelation that there was very nearly no Cristiano Ronaldo either. ‘He was an unwanted child,’ Dolores explains. She considered an abortion and, on a neighbour’s advice, drank boiled black beer before running until she was on the verge of fainting, hoping to force a miscarriage. It didn’t work – and she seems pretty happy about that.
Dolores, Ronaldo’s mother, did more than just consider an abortion, she actually tried to procure one. Ronaldo was born in February 1985. Back then abortions were hard to procure legally in Portugal and it was this legal restraint that probably saved Ronaldo’s life. Nowadays, a woman in Mrs Ronaldo’s position would perhaps be given a doctor-assisted abortion with no questions asked. Luckily for Ronaldo and football fans the world over, that was not the case in 1984. The implication is clear: restrictive laws with regard to abortion save lives.
The story of Ronaldo, behind the footballing glory (of which I admit to caring little), is rather a sad one, and that is the third takeaway from these articles. It may be a cliché, but it happens to be true: money can’t buy you happiness.
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