Sin Of Admission Standards

« November 2010 »

Memo to L'Osservatore Romano: YOU ARE DUMB.

Vatican City clearly has too much money and too much time on its hands. It's like a small university where everyone has tenure, and Warren Buffet is an alumnus. Only they get their tenure from God. So the whole fucking city is full of people whose job is, as far as I can tell, Professional Catholic, and they have their own professional Catholic newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, to write little puff pieces on what professional Catholics do.

Now, I don't care what subculture you're part of, any circle-jerk that insular is gonna lead to some odd stuff from time to time. And in the Information Age, that odd stuff can fly around the planet faster than you can say "What the fuck?" And so we have one of the stranger bits of stupidity that fell by the wayside in the run-up to the 2010 election - the Catholics attempt to claim Homer and Bart.

Simpson, of course. Little. Yellow. Fictional. Animated. Catholic.

It started, as so many things do, with a Jesuit priest. His name is Father Francesco Occhetta, and one day, he got bored with making delicious ear-shaped pasta and decided to do some of that "reasoning" stuff that Jesuit priests are supposedly famous for. So he looked at one episode of the Simpsons, out of nearly 500, in which Bart goes to a Catholic school and Homer briefly converts to Catholicism, and used it at the centerpiece of an article titled "The Simpsons And Religion".

L'Osservatore Romano, who apparently invented shitty reporting on scholarly papers before there were even papers, decided that the upshot of this whole analysis was... ACTUAL CONCLUSION TIME!

"Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J Simpson is a Catholic."

And then they made that the headline, and then other news services picked it up, and before you know it, Simpsons producer Al Jean was vehemently denying the obvious, and Occhetta called the newspaper a bunch of stupid fuckheads in a very measured, Jesuit sort of way, and the world moved on.

But I find the paper's eagerness to claim Homer and Bart... theologically disturbing. And when I'm left as the only one to ponder the theological implications of the Vatican City newspaper's conclusions, you know we live in a deeply fucked up world. Now, I can accept that no matter what you've done in your life, if you convert to Catholicism as a joke in an episode in 2005, then it doesn't matter what came before - at that point, you're Catholic.

But the paper's conclusion implies that once you convert, that's it. No matter what you do for the next five years, even if you give up being Catholic, even if you live the kind of consequence-free, comedy-based life only an animated head of household can live, the Catholics will claim you as their own... if you're famous enough. And none of those things you did involved having sex with a dude.

In other words, when the rubber meets the road, the admission and retention standards for one of the largest and oldest organized religions in the world are so flexible, it makes you wonder why they bother pretending they have standards at all. Well, you know, other than to piss off all the gay people out of, apparently, spite.

Mmmmmmmm. Spiiiiiiite.