Skip to comments.Is it OK to poke fun at Pope? Italians ask (instead of blowing things up and beheading people)
Posted on 11/15/2006 12:46:59 PM PST by presidio9
Forget the bloated deficit, forget the fact that Italy's national airlines and train network may go bust; the hottest debate in the country now is whether it is politically correct to make the Pope the butt of comic satire.
That was the question on most front pages of Italy's newspapers on Wednesday after the Roman Catholic officials reacted to a spate of Italian television and radio programmes poking fun at Pope Benedict.
"The Vatican doesn't like satire," headlined Rome's La Repubblica.
L'Unita, the newspaper of the largest party in the centre-left government, even put its banner headline -- "The Vatican Can't Take a Joke" -- above its story about the state railway system being "on the brink of bankruptcy".
In one TV programme, comedian Maurizio Crozza, dressed in white papal robes, imitates Benedict's distinct German accent as he sits behind a desk flanked by two Swiss Guards in ceremonial blue, red and yellow uniform.
Crozza does a satirical play on two identical sounding words -- Pax (peace) and PACS, the acronym for a controversial law that would give unwed heterosexual couples and gay couples in Italy equal civil rights. He says "pax (or PACS) be with you".
The Pope and the Roman Catholic Church oppose introducing the PACS law.
In a radio programme, a duo of comedians imitate the Pope and his priest-secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, a 50-year-old German whose boyish good looks have made him a minor celebrity in the Italian media.
One says to the other that the Pope has started smoking three packs of cigarettes a day "like a Turk" in order to prepare himself for his trip to Turkey this month.
In Italy, the phrase "smoking like a Turk" means a very heavy smoker. The Pope is a non-smoker.
The controversy started last week when the Catholic newspaper Avennire blasted the shows and hit the headlines on Wednesday after Ganswein was reported to have told an Italian news agency that he had had enough of satire about his boss.
While some newspapers defended the Pope, L'Unita said any curbs on artistic freedom would be a "crusade" by the Vatican.
"In what times are we living?" asked an editorial headlined "Free Satire in a Free Country". It said Italians should not accept any attempt at censorship and added that "this all smells a little like fundamentalism".
A long editorial in Corriere della Sera, Italy's largest-selling mainstream newspaper, criticised the satires, calling them "a sad gag".
"The Teutonic accent of the German Pope may be the stuff of a comic sketch but there are a billion people accustomed to calling him 'Holy Father' and everyone wants to see a minimum of respect for their father, if only for his age," it said.
But perhaps an editorial cartoon on Wednesday had the last word on what some consider a tempest in a chalice.
One character said the TV and radio sketches of the Pope left a lot to be desired and the other responded that Pope was actually funnier than the comedians trying to imitate him.
I'd rather poke fun at the pedophile Mohammed and Allah.
Somehow I don't think that Italian Catholics will riot in the streets and kill people over this.
Well, the best Benedict could do is himself to do some tasteful self-satire, or rather a satire at how he's perceived - self-stereotype satire. Like Ronald the Great did with his "we start bombing in 5 minutes".
I doubt if these same comedians will do a satire on Mohammad.
Reverse it, the islamofascists revel in this stuff.
Oh, and research the history of Italy.
Make fun of the Pope all you want......We'll still do the heavy lifting when it comes to dealing with the jihadistas.
I can't believe nobody's posted this yet!
Is the Pope Catholic? :-)
Typical immaturity on the part of the secular community.
Pope Benedict will probably ignore these misfits.
What kind of an odd ball question is this??? This author hasn't got anything better to do that to ask stupid questions???
Is it ok to make fun of this author???? Well if he wants to make fun of my Pope then yes, I can make fun of him....
I don't think its kind to make fun of anyone in a higher office: Pope; President; Prime Minister; Governor; Senator; etc. Just imagine what you would feel like if it were you they were making fun of.....
You'll have to forgive me, but the pax (PACS) thing is the perfect vehicle for satire.
What I really don't understand is why you think people in lower offices are fine to satirize, but not those in higher offices. Why would one's station in life be a determinate in whether one can be satirized?
Hell, GW pokes fun at himself, and he is arguably the most powerful man on the planet. It doesn't seem to get under his skin.
What has happened to this board since Tuesday???? Have the rat patrol taken it over?
I have been within 20 feet of the Pope. He was leaving and his car went by about 6 AM. There must have been a million people in the courtyard. It was awesome and I am not Catholic. While it would not be illegal to make jokes about this Pope or any modern Pope it would be decidedly bad taste, the Pope is not someone to ridicule.
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