COREGGIO, Italy, May 4, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A leading Italian author of the 80’s who was known for extreme depictions of homosexuality, violence and pain in his work underwent a conversion to the Catholic faith shortly before dying of AIDS.
Openly homosexual Pier Vittorio Tondelli was recognized as one of the greatest Italian authors of his time. A writer and playwright, Tondelli’s work was initially censored by Rome officials on charges of obscenity for his explicit portrayals of homosexual life. He was eventually acquitted of the charge of obscenity, but scandal continued to follow his work over the homosexual content.
In the months leading up to his death Tondelli returned to the Catholic faith. He had largely withdrawn from society after discovering he was infected with HIV and had kept his illness out of the public eye.
Fascinated throughout his life by the works of Jewish mystics, the Imitation of Christ and the writings of such Catholic leaders as St. Teresa of Avila, Tondelli wrote, “I love to look through them, to find and read stories, and the idea of holiness.”
After his conversion, Tondelli called chastity “a mystic virtue for those who have chosen it and perhaps the most superhuman use of sexuality.”
In the days before his death Tondelli read the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, the last material he read. Notes jotted in the margins read, “Literature does not bring salvation, never. Only love, faith and falling back into grace saves.”
Tondelli died of AIDS in Milan in 1991. His silence about his infection with HIV and the quiet lifestyle he chose for the final years of his life have been a source of outrage to the homosexual community.
Seems to have been in the tradition of Oscar Wilde or the story Fr. Groeschel relates of a previous president of Act Up who returned to his Catholic faith before his death.
I believe Wilde was Anglo-Irish and not Catholic.
I’m surprised that people don’t know the story.
Yes, Wilde was born non-Catholic and Anglo-Irish.
When Wilde was young, he was tempted to convert for aesthetic reasons. But it was Wilde’s prison experience and sickness that brought him to the Church — for its strength and love for hard cases, not for beauty.
According to Joseph Pearce’s biography, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, Lady Wilde, Oscar’s mother had a brief flirtation with Catholicism when Oscar was quite young and had Oscar and his brother baptized. this according to the recollection of the priest, a Father Lawrence Fox, who claimed to have performed the baptism. There’s no corroborating evidence as Lady Wilde and both Wilde brothers had died by the time Fr. Fox published his recollection of the event. But, as Pearce says, there is no reason to doubt the priest’s story. There is some anecdotal support in that Oscar Wilde apparently said more than once to intimate friends that he had recollections of being baptized in a Catholic church as a child.
I highly recommend Pearce’s biography that details Wilde’s lifelong flirtation with the Church.
I’ve never heard of Pier Vittorio Tondelli, but I’m very happy he returned to the Church before dying. What an amazing grace!!! It’s too bad we don’t hear more often of these stories. I seem to recall something about Quentin Crisp … commenting on the futility & “wrongness” of the homosexual lifestyle before he died that enraged the gay community, too. Anyone know anything about that???
According to Pearce’s book Literary Converts. His lover, the Marquis of Queensbury was also reconciled to the church before his death.
God rest his soul.
HEee shud hav bin mohre moooorrrrrallllll. He shud hav focussd own the faaaammilleeee!!!
Hey … I thought of this first … even the Oscar Wilde comparison. Though I confess I had forgotten about Father Groeschel and the AIDS activist.
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