• Effects of child abandonment

  • Catholic priest sex abuse scandal

While I cannot claim that The Young Pope (HBO) is a television show about trauma, its main character, Lenny, is the product of abandonment. When Lenny is eight, his hippie parents drop him off at a Catholic orphanage, and they never see him again. Plagued by all the usual feelings any child would have after abandonment–grief, fear, betrayal, anger–Lenny grows up to be exceptionally driven. It seems that he is always trying to fill the void in his heart left by his parents while, at the same time, overcompensating for deep feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Like most abandoned kids, Lenny doesn’t feel lovable; he does not ever feel that he is enough.

The show dives into Lenny’s psyche quite a bit, providing an interesting–if not entirely authentic–depiction of what it feels like to be abandoned. The show also has a running storyline about the Catholic priest sex scandal. Specifically, it depicts Lenny’s attempts to bring a particularly heinous Cardinal to justice.

The Young Pope is a bit avant-garde and certainly not for everybody. Still, it’s depictions of abandonment and the Catholic scandal may appeal to some people.


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