Tolerance For Thee, But Not For Me

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An Opus Dei-linked magazine, Studi Cattolici, has kicked off some predictable outrage by printing a cartoon making fun of, but not depicting, the prophet Mohammed. Those ink-stained Danish wretches have nothing on this:

The drawing in Studi cattolici takes its inspiration from Dante's Divine Comedy, in which the 14th-century poet imagines being guided through hell by the Latin poet Virgil, and sees the prophet cut in two as his punishment for spreading division. In the cartoon, Virgil points out another figure to Dante, saying: "And that one there with his pants down, that's Italian policy towards Islam." The caption uses a play on words to suggest Italy has chickened out in its attitude to Muslims.

Do you feel the stiff winds of freedom blowing? Then get a windbreaker, because Opus Dei is simultaneously demanding that the fictional Hollywood movie (which is based on a novel) "The Da Vinci Code" carry a Catholic-boosting disclaimer.

UPDATE: As noted in comments, the cartoon doesn't portray the prophet. That has no doubt helped this stay a low-level controversy. Here's a link to the cartoon.

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  1. Well, at least in their world, Catholics who choose to rigidly follow the dogma of the church will be free, even if no one else is. That’s better than nothing, isn’t it?

    Yay freedom?

  2. It’s a request for a disclaimer, not a threat to blow up movie theaters that are playing The Da Vinci Code.

  3. The spokesman said Opus Dei’s founder, St Josemar?a Escriv? de Balaguer (1902-75) “would have given up his life for the sake of respecting other people’s religious freedom”.

    One can only assume that means respecting the right of offended religious fanatics to declare jihad on anyone violating the precepts of their chosen religion, whether the offender belonged to said religion or not. Fuck that spokesman.

  4. The cartoon does not actually depict Muhammed. It shows Dante and Virgil looking into hell and talking about Muhammed, but Muhammed is not shown.

    http://michellemalkin.com/archives/004997.htm

  5. At a small family Easter get-together yesterday (attended by Catholics ranging from mildly Catholic to fairly damn Catholic, but not quite uber-Catholic) the following topics were discussed:

    1) What the hell is Opus Dei? Some kind of goofy secret organization? (Can’t remember what brought this up. Maybe it was this same incident.)

    2) Recollection of once asking that very question of some uber-Catholic relatives (who were not then in attendance) who responded indignantly that it was not goofy, not secret, and that they’d been asked to join recently.

    3) Non-resolution of whatever the hell Opus Dei is.

    4) Discussion of The DaVinci Code and recounts of running across several people who apparently believed it was based on actual documented history, not speculation.

    In light of #4, O.D.’s request that the movie is a work of fiction, not history, is maybe not so goofy and hardly extreme. (Especially considering that when I saw Stand By Me on TV, the station felt compelled to run a disclaimer that the practice of demolishing mailboxes with a baseball bat, as demostrated by the hoods in the movie, is against the law and naughty.) Of course, the makers of the movie The DaVinci Code are also well within their rights to tell O.D. to stick it.

  6. “Opus Dei is simultaneously demanding that the fictional Hollywood movie (which is based on a novel) ‘The Da Vinci Code’ carry a Catholic-boosting disclaimer.”

    If they dramatized Chaucer’s *Prioress’ Tale,* I hope they’d run a disclaimer that Jews don’t actually drink Christian blood. You can call that “a Jew-boosting disclaimer,” but I call it fairness.

  7. Well, that whole disclaimer thing sounds sensible. If only they’d told me that Red Dawn was not based on an actual Warsaw Pact invasion of Idaho… Think of all the people that thought that Communism was bad because of that movie!

  8. Well, that whole disclaimer thing sounds sensible. If only they’d told me that Red Dawn was not based on an actual Warsaw Pact invasion of Idaho… Think of all the people that thought that Communism was bad because of that movie!

  9. Of course, the makers of the movie The DaVinci Code are also well within their rights to tell O.D. to stick it.

    Or maybe better: “The Catholic church has asked us to help convince you that the following is fiction…”

  10. If you don’t know what Opus Dei is, you could do worse than starting with the Wikipedia entry on Opus Dei. Short version: it’s kind of an activist group within the Catholic church. Fun fact: I sit next to the founder’s great-niece at work. She doesn’t take after him.

  11. Of course, the makers of the movie The DaVinci Code are also well within their rights to tell O.D. to stick it.

    Or maybe better: “The Catholic church has asked us to help convince you that the following is fiction…”

    Or maybe even better:

    “A highly secretive and shadowy Catholic organization has pressured us to deny the historical truth of this production.”

    They could even put it in the ads and posters.

  12. Man, am I sick of all this kowtowing to Muslim nutcases, and so I present my cartoon of Mohammed:

    CC:-|=

    Come and get me, jihadists!!

  13. Let’s not forget the Vatican’s role in bringing down communism. If it weren’t for Reagan and Pope John-Paul II, we might not be getting cheap shoes made in Poland and Bulgaria. I think we should give Opus Dei a pass out of respect for Pope John-Paul. To honor Reagan, we should go easy on astrology. We have plenty of things to mock and make fun of. Leave the Catholic church and astrology alone. God bless America.

  14. speaking of weird cathlic stuff and the weird beliefs of those who hate catholics.

    I have a friend who is now calling himself a catholic even though he was never confirmed or got first communion or was babtized or was an alterboy and not more then 5 years ago was saying countless hatefull things about the catholic church.

    So i ask him “have you ever even read the bible?”

    To this he relies “nope, never even opened one”

    “well” I said, “then i guess you are a catholic”

    Thank you folks i am here all week and don’t forget to tip your waitress.

  15. Joshua:

    What a stupid fucking anecdote.

  16. You can say anything you want about Catholics. Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice. Just try mocking Jews and see what happens.

  17. You can say anything you want about Catholics. Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice.

    I think only becouse there are so many catholics and another huge number former catholics.

    Just good old humor at ones own expense.

  18. So… A Catholic, a Rrotestant and a Jew walk into a bar, and the bartender says “Hey, is this some kind of joke?”

    [rim shot]

    Thank you. Thank you very much.

  19. You can say anything you want about Catholics. Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice. Just try mocking Jews and see what happens.

    Comment by: Jacek at April 17, 2006 09:57 PM

    Maybe that’s because Catholics have never been systematically rounded-up and exterminated by the millions. On the other hand, it is seldom mentioned that besides the six million Jews they slaughtered the Nazis killed five or six million NON-Jews as well.

  20. I took some time away from the computer to listen to Gregorian chant. The Catholic church has enriched our lives with music and art. Catholicism is the very soul of western culture, and we are living on its moral and ethical legacy. As we grow further away from our ethical and moral roots and descend into a grim world of techonology and consumerism, our children won’t even know what they’re missing. Fuck, what a bummer.

  21. The Davinci Code tangle of conspiracy theory is far more ludicrous than any teachings of the Catholic Church.

    The book was okay at first but fell apart like a cheap suit by page 150. That it could sell as many copies as it has and then come to the Silver Screen is a testament to the wisdom of Mencken (nobody ever went broke….).

    Despite the nay say of a London Court a huge chunk of it was appropriated from Holy Blood Holy Grail.

    It is amazing to me that the same people throwing rocks at the Catholics are regurgitating DaVinci Code like it was, well, gospel.

  22. I wouldn’t give you a nickel for a whole bag ful of Opus Dei BUT, they were slandered big time in the book and the movie. I’d say they have a right to bitch.

  23. I may have mentioned this before, but I know a doctoral candidate in political science who read the Da Vinci Code and totally fell for it. She even bought other books on the theory, and was very eager to show me the reproductions of Leonardo paintings and explain how they prove that Jesus had sex, or whatever it was.

  24. Maybe moronic conspiracy theories appeal to people who are no longer rooted in religious traditions. The conspiracy theories fill that need for a sense of order in the universe. Alas, the Jews have always been targeted by them. Personally, I will take the Mass and the majesty of liturgical music over the New Age crap that’s taking their place any day.
    One little Catholic joke that probably only pre-Vatican II Catholics will get– What’s the Pope’s phone number? Et cum spiritu 220.

  25. If a best-selling novel and major motion picture were based on the premise that Reason magazine was founded and run by lying murderers, would they Mr. Weigel be opposed in principle to a disclaimer?

  26. I will admit that I found both Joshua’s joke and Jacek’s joke to be funny.

  27. Joshua’s joke wasn’t bad.

  28. Here’s a Gentile Joke a Jewish friend told me: A Gentile kid calls his mother who has been preparing a big meal for him and says, “Mom, I have to work late, so I can’t make it to your dinner.” She says, “Okay. See you soon.”

  29. Here’s another Gentile joke:

    Two Gentiles meet on the street.

    “How’s business?”

    “It’s great!”

  30. Those Gentile jokes confused the hell out of me.

  31. Sam:

    Maybe you need to be a Catholic. I found them funny. The first one plays on the stereotype of the guilt-producing Jewish mother and Jewish fantasies about non-guilt-producing Gentile mothers. The second one plays on the stereotype–with some basis in reality–that Jews think it’s bad luck to say business is good. Gentiles are unaware of the superstition. Ah, we’ll lose so much when nobody understands this stuff anymore. Will we really be better and more rational? I doubt it.

  32. “As we grow further away from our ethical and moral roots and descend into a grim world of techonology and consumerism, our children won’t even know what they’re missing.”

    welcome to the marketplace of ideas.

  33. What the hell is Opus Dei?

    Something about sanctifying work. However, the spirit of excellence they strive for hasn’t permeated Tom Monaghan’s pizzas.

  34. I took some time away from the computer to listen to Gregorian chant.

    If anybody’s interested in putting this slogan on a thong, I’ll buy several.

  35. I got joshua’s joke but I didn’t get Jasek’s.

  36. Oh my god… who says “furore” any more? Like, totally whiff of the ’30s.

  37. Pax vobiscum. Dobranoc. Buona notte. Laila tov.

  38. If only they’d told me that Red Dawn was not based on an actual Warsaw Pact invasion of Idaho…

    Actually it was Cuban/South American communists invading Calumet Colorado.

    Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice.

    Obviously not written by a gun owner, smoker, GLBT, medical MJ user, etc.

  39. What the hell is Opus Dei?

    It’s a pretty sweet secret club. If you get let in then you have UNLIMITED deep pan Dominos (excluding mighty meaty) and then marshmallows and peanut M&Ms for afters.

    I.E It’s awesome.

    They talk about God and stuff.

  40. opus dei are basically ultra conserative catholics who combine the medieval loathing of the body with modern fascisms loating of the body politic. the founder deep throated franco for most of his career, and the members hold opnions that range from mildly batshit to deeply fucking scary. they also believe its alright to lie, dont talk very much to real members, have way too much infulence on the vatican, and are rabidly closing every window that vatican 2 ever opened.

    the da vinci code is shit, and plagarized shit too boot, but it doesnt make the damage that opus dei has done to the body of christ any less real.

  41. opus dei are basically ultra conserative catholics who combine the medieval loathing of the body with modern fascisms loating of the body politic. the founder deep throated franco for most of his career, and the members hold opnions that range from mildly batshit to deeply fucking scary. they also believe its alright to lie, dont talk very much to real members, have way too much infulence on the vatican, and are rabidly closing every window that vatican 2 ever opened.

    This is all true and Anthony is correct.

    But what I said about the free pizzas is also a reality so I think a little bit of perspective is required.

    Man, Da Vinci sucked so much ass it hurt. I knew by page 200 that the ending was going to be gay. And guess what?

    The ending was gay.

    In fact, from now on I am going to refer to the book asOpus Gay

  42. Oy Vay! Jaeck, just know that at least one person caught the jokes before you had to explain them. And this coming from a Gentile, have no idea what the Yiddish meant, tho.

  43. “A highly secretive and shadowy Catholic organization has pressured us to deny the historical truth of this production.”

    Given that Dan Brown (and presumably the makers of the movie based on his novel) concede that the work is not “historical truth,” I fail to see how this is something sinister.

    “Despite the nay say of a London Court a huge chunk of it was appropriated from Holy Blood Holy Grail.”

    It may well be true that DVC was lifted from Holy Blood Holy Grail, but that doesn’t mean the London court was wrong. You see, Holy Blood Holy Grail claimed to be non-fiction, not a novel, so the authors’ copyright suit was fundamentally flawed. If the story about Jesus having children by Mary Magdalene, as claimed in HBHG are presented as historical facts, then there’s nothing wrong with basing a novel on those facts, any more than there’s anything wrong with basing a novel about the Civil War on facts found in Bruce Catton’s historical works. (Or, given that the “facts” of HBHG are wild batshit, maybe the better analogy would be basing a novel on the report of some loon who claims to have been abducted by aliens.)

  44. “they also believe its alright to lie”

    Actually, now that Immanuel Kant is dead, reactionary Catholics are about the only people around who *don’t* believe that it is “alright to lie” under some circumstances. Traditional-minded Catholics (such as those in Opus Dei) believe with St. Augustine that it’s not even permissible to lie to a murderer to save a person you are harboring in your house. (Nowadays, this hypothetical usually takes the form of whether it’s permissible to lie to the Gestapo agents who are looking for the Jews you are hiding in your basement. Traditional Catholics would say that you can’t lie directly, even to the Gestapo, but have to employ “mental reservation” or some way of deflecting the question. See http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09469a.htm.)

  45. “Despite the nay say of a London Court a huge chunk of it was appropriated from Holy Blood Holy Grail.”

    It may well be true that DVC was lifted from Holy Blood Holy Grail, but that doesn’t mean the London court was wrong. You see, Holy Blood Holy Grail claimed to be non-fiction, not a novel, so the authors’ copyright suit was fundamentally flawed.

    The lawsuit was a double victory for Brown, both because he won and because the outcome holds up the idea that HBHG is a work of history. Thus he also gets ammunition against critics who accuse him of inventing the history: Sure you’ve got a bunch of PhDs, Mr. Catholic Medievalist Art Historian, but has your book been proven right in a court of law?

    The world is Dan Brown’s oyster.

  46. I thought Opus Dei consisted of fishing with one’s Paw, the sheriff of Mayberry, and then walking home with a mess of fish on a string while whistling and getting one’s red hair tousled.

    Oh, wait. That’s Opie’s day.

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