By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 03, 2006

UPS image in the Washington Post

Political cartoonist Pat Oliphant indulges his antipathy to the Church in his most recent effort, tee-ing off on Rep. Foley's celebration of diversity in order to backhand the priesthood. Oliphant's anti-Catholic imagination is beginning to creak, as he attempted the same joke eight or nine years ago, with a one-gloved Michael Jackson standing outside St. Paedophilia's and asking to become a priest.

The cartoon, obviously, is intended to be offensive, and it's semi-successful in its goal. But there's another sense in which its appearance is encouraging. As long as the editors of the Washington Post (and the other papers that run the cartoon) are asymmetrically eager to go after the Catholic Church -- and to contradict their own sanctimoniously propounded principles in doing so -- it proves the Church must be doing something right. The time to worry is when the Post becomes solicitous of Catholic sensitivities.

More telling still, Oliphant's jab at sexual hypocrisy is, in spite of itself, an acknowledgment that the Church's teaching still has the power to sting. Feeble as his attempt may be, the jab hinges on the covert understanding that man-boy venery is bad. In that respect Oliphant's malice is a rogue shell that explodes in the breech of the artillery piece: to treat pederasty as risibly wicked does more damage, in the long run, to the Washington Post's Style section than it does to the Catholic Church, and that goes double for the editorial page. After all, who is it that's beating the drums for a change in sexual recreations, and who wants to defend the absolute moral norm? When the laughter dies (right quickly in this instance), what remains erect and intact is the moral force of Catholic teaching.

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 05, 2006 10:08 PM ET USA

    Foley claims to have been abused by a priest. If so,what a horrific crime. I just saw a cute picture of Mark Foley, as an altar boy,.in 1960s. He belonged to a dioceses where 2 Bishops, K. Symons in 1998 & A. O'Connell in 2001. were forced to resign , following disclosures of inappropriate sexual contact with boys or young men. This makes me so sick that I could vomit. These mindless bishops ,no doubt, also Ordained homosexual priests or priests with homosexual tendencies. And the dance goes on.

  • Posted by: ladybird - Oct. 04, 2006 4:24 PM ET USA

    Now Foley says he was abused by a priest as a child. That's why he is the way he is. It's not his fault. He couldn't help it. That and demon rum. I'm afraid the left got two for the price of one in Foley's folly: the Church and the moral majority!'s early days, yet! An investigation has been demanded; will proceed. Who knows what may turn up under those rocks?! At least the crowd that spilled the dirt knew about this for years. They were waiting for just the right time.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 12:46 PM ET USA

    It would be nice if we quit torturing the english language. Pedophile, by definition, is "a person attracted to pre-pubescent children." Mr. Foley falls into the different category of homosexual attraction to these Pages. Oliphant is simply a political hack of the worst sort demonstrating intellectual dishonesty so characteristic of the media.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 11:41 AM ET USA

    Oliphant is an anti-Catholic jerk. But where would he find material for his bigoted mind if it wasn't for the malfiesance of too many (NOT ALL!) bishops and priests? They congratulate themselves when they can come up with policies to "protect the children" from pedophiles when they should be all about becoming saints and helping the rest of us do the same.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 11:11 AM ET USA

    Gentle Bill has it right. We must pray for Mr. Oliphant's conversion.

  • Posted by: Tomasito - Oct. 04, 2006 10:11 AM ET USA

    I read that less than one percent of the priests in the world have been found guilty of these abuses. Although I understand that there may be more pedophile priests who are undiscovered, it seems that the almost no priests are pedophiles. There seem to be more sexually deviant secular-citizens than anything. But which media source attacks the secular? God bless.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 9:12 AM ET USA

    I see an inverse here also. How many Bishops behave as though they aspire to political office? How many seem more interested in pursuits having to do with immigration, health care, etc., under the banner of social justice, than they do in the sacramental life and spreading the good news?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 8:30 AM ET USA

    Isn't it interesting to note that although Oliphant and his cartoons are "deeply offensive" to the Catholic Church, no Catholics are rioting in the streets carrying signs saying "Death to Oliphant"?

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Oct. 03, 2006 8:52 PM ET USA

    I beg to differ with some of the posts which find this cartoon acceptable. This goes way beyond pointing out the malfeasance of some Bishops...this cartoon is an unGodly attack on the Church & all of Her ministers...this work is evil, plain & simple.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2006 7:01 PM ET USA

    Come to think of it, has anyone heard of any Church official denouncing Foley's behavior? Methinks the silence is deafening!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2006 5:00 PM ET USA

    Amen, tomecom. And if we haven't made a clear and decisive "policy" at the episcopal level, and we think we're past all the problems while those who once allowed or encouraged them are still in their places, then maybe this cartoon does smell of dead fish.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2006 4:31 PM ET USA

    Honestly, based on the past behavior of our bishops, I think we deserve cartoons like that. There's some truth to the cartoon, clearly. What I'd really like to see, though, is a cartoon where the bishop says something like, "I'm sorry, Mr. Foley, we've learned our lesson and don't take your kind anymore. Your now public record indicates you have some difficulties with chastity."

  • Posted by: opraem - Oct. 03, 2006 4:27 PM ET USA

    when the bishops/vatican failed to clean house after the abuse scandal, their failure to act left them open to being the butt of jokes for years. while i can resent the poor attempt at humor, i can't deny there is some truth as long as messrs mahony, driscoll, murphy, mccormack, grahmann, egan, et al remain in their thrones.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2006 3:12 PM ET USA

    Oliphant is a Johnny One Note. He; like the Democrats get a theme and never drop it. Character assasination is their whole game. God forbid they ever come up with something positive. The Clinto legacy, of class distinctions that breed hatred, is alive and well.

  • Posted by: parochus - Oct. 03, 2006 12:34 PM ET USA

    Thanks for the positive spin, Di. I look at this cartoon and recall a comment made in open court by a lawyer-hero of mine. After a judge had cautioned the author of a libellous newspaper article that he could either be sued or allow the libelled lawyer to personally write the retraction, the chastened reporter approached the lawyer and was told: "Young man, I use your newspaper to wrap fish."

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 03, 2006 12:14 PM ET USA

    Great insight, Diogenes. Would you consider such an insightful blog as a "letter to the editor" of the WashPost? It would do the readers of such a rag a lot of good.