Philly's Mummers Didn't Expect the Spanish Inquisition


In the end, yesterday's running of the 102nd annual Philadelphia Mummers Parade did not feature its much-anticipated parody of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. The skit by the Slick Duck Comic Brigade had promised altar boys, the pope, priests being chased by cops, and even nuns in a go-go cage. When it hit the streets, however, the Ducks' parade car, according to AP, "still had the theme 'The Devil Made Me Do It' … But the group's dozen or so performers offered no sex or religion, just rock 'n' roll, as they strutted to the tune of Elvis Presley's 'Jailhouse Rock.'"

If I know the Mummers, the sticking point was that everybody insisted on playing a nun, but the public reason is pressure from Philly Mayor John Street and Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua. Just to show that Bevilacqua's priorities are in order, the Philadelphia Archdiocese is still not even in compliance with the sex abuse guidelines set up with by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the cardinal has resisted the policy of informing civil authorities about priests dismissed in sexual abuse cases (though to be fair, Philly has had to pay a relatively minor $200,000 in settlements).

Despite the fact that the Mummers Parade is the largest collection of Irish Catholics ever assembled outside a drunk tank, Bevilacqua did not hesitate to call the sketch an "attack on the Catholic faith." Catholic League funnyman William Donohue went the Cardinal one better, rushing to the defense of "homosexual priests," and of course not failing to note that the parade does not allow blackface performances. Apparently, Bill Donohue believes being black is a crime comparable with child rape. More to the point, the Mummers were dressing up like ladies and happily enduring the catcalls before Bill Donohue knew how to spell homophobia.