[lit-ideas] speaking of poking (fun)...Mike will like this one

  • From: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 08:44:25 EST

_Click  here: Satirical Humor Aimed at the Vatican Strikes a Nerve - New York 
"Satirical fundamentalism" just isn't a term you hear every day....
Julie Krueger
("a smile is never a sin???)
ROME, Nov. 17 — Perhaps it is his good looks, or his work in the  
ever-so-serious _Vatican_ 
 , but for whatever 
reason, Msgr. Georg Gänswein,  _Pope Benedict XVI_ 
secretary, has suddenly found  himself the butt of jokes in the Italian news 
In one radio skit, Rosario Fiorello, a comedian, portrayed Monsignor Gänswein 
 dining at a brand-new restaurant called “the Last Supper,” where “one 
portion of  fish was shared by 20.” He used a cellphone with Handel’s 
 chorus as  its ring tone. 
The pope himself is also subject to ribbing. On Tuesday night, in a  
television skit, the comedian Maurizio Crozza impersonated Pope Benedict being 
a  mite 
touchy about comparisons to his media-darling predecessor, _Pope John Paul 
 , who was frail for years before his  death. “Could 
Pope Wojtyla do this?” he barked to two attendants, bursting into  song and 
tap dancing. “Or this?” he added, juggling three oranges.  
The popularity of the satire appears to have unnerved Monsignor Gänswein, who 
 reportedly told the Italian news agency Adnkronos that he hoped the  
impersonations “would stop soon.” He did not object to satire, he said, but 
spoofs “offended men of the church.” 
They also struck a nerve with L’Avvenire, a newspaper owned by the Italian  
Bishops’ Conference, which accused the comedians of “satirical 
In a front-page editorial on Friday, the paper complained that the jokes had  
been unwarranted. “Perhaps there is the secret intention to see if the church 
 will respond like some Muslims responded to the satirical cartoons or to  
articles that criticize Islam, to then scream scandal,” wrote Carlo Cardia, 
author who writes about the Catholic Church and a professor of ecclesiastical  
law at the University of Rome. The Catholic newspaper has said that it does 
not  want to engage in polemics about whether it is acceptable to poke fun at 
the  pope. 
Satire is going to be about people who are “part of the ecclesiastical star  
system,” Gianluca Nicoletti, a television critic for Radio 24, said in an  
interview. “It’s going to touch the weakest points.”  
The previous pope was the subject of some jokes, though not to this extent.  
As the humor has heated up, mainstream newspapers have jumped into the fray to 
 defend the right to make jokes about religion. It is “hard to resist” 
spoofing a  pope “who seems to have been raised in libraries and not among 
 wrote  Francesco Merlo, a columnist for the daily paper La Repubblica.  
Gaspare Barbiellini Amidei, a writer for Corriere della Sera, the biggest  
Italian paper, said that at the very least the jokes should be funny, and not  
But some Italians have taken offense at jokes like one that Luca Borgomeo,  
the president of an association that serves as a watchdog of television  
entertainment, recalls the comedian Paolo Rossi telling on national television: 
Holy Trinity won a free trip and had to decide where to go. God the Father  
said he would like to go to Africa, Jesus to Palestine, and the Holy Spirit to  
the Vatican. Asked why, the Holy Spirit responded: “Because I’ve never been 
“This is a blatant lack of respect,” Mr. Borgomeo said. His group is  
threatening to boycott sponsors of shows that joke about religion.  
Mr. Crozza declined to comment on the criticisms, and Mr. Fiorello could not  
be reached.  
But Mr. Fiorello put words in Monsignor Gänswein’s mouth. In his role as the 
pope’s secretary this week, Mr. Fiorello told his radio audience that “the  
Vatican was not offended.” 
“We’re convinced that smiles bring religion closer to the people,” he 
“because a smile is never a sin.” 

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