Julie MarshRudderless Catholics searching for an example to follow, fear not -- I bring you good tidings of great joy. Direct from the Vatican itself comes word that Homer Simpson is a "true Catholic."
I know. Just when I thought it would be impossible to find yet another reason not to take the Catholic church seriously anymore, the Vatican has shown me that, in fact, nothing's impossible.
As Gawker reports, "The church in the past has said it is ok for Catholics to watch The Simpsons, but now they're adopting him as a fellow believer." The Simpson family says grace and believes in an afterlife, and apparently that's good enough to earn Pope Benedict's approval. Granted, he's shown fairly low standards before, but I never expected a jaundiced cartoon character to make the cut.
The article in the Vatican newspaper is in Italian, and I'm not fluent in Italian, so I can't pull directly from the source and translate for the benefit of my readers. Google's translator wasn't much help either. Even so, it's easy to spot Simpsons keywords in the text.
I'm wondering if the Pope's ever watched this episode:
Homer's not exactly the devoted churchgoer, now is he?
Fine, the Vatican is attempting to "be cool," as the Gawker post snarked. But is publishing an article on the virtues of a TV show character really a good strategy to address the public relations problems the Catholic church has been facing of late? Catholics around the world have been disappointed by the Pope's handling of serious issues, most prominently the sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and swept under the rug by the Catholic hierarchy. Wouldn't it be smarter to take seriously the concerns of true Catholics rather than to declare Home Simpson to be one?