I already used this YouTube as art in a post last week but it really fits for this story. Really fits. In the clip above, Lutheran Satire makes fun of the type of “Catholic” used by the media in stories about the Roman Catholic Church.
Somehow this video was stripped of satire, transformed into print and placed directly onto the pages of the Washington Post. It’s uncanny.
You can watch the video above but some people had trouble hearing the dialogue, so I’ll sum up and quote from it. The premise is that we’re watching “the latest edition of everybody’s favorite ecclesiastical game show Choose Your Pope: the game where bishops compete for the right to be selected the supreme pontiff by a representative from the uneducated court of public opinion.”
The contestant is Kaylee McMurphy:
A recent college graduate, Kaylee earned a BA in Advanced Feng-Shui Marketing. A self-described way-devoted super-Catholic, Kaylee has attended mass almost 7 times — therefore making her opinions on the theological direction of the Catholic church entirely valid and perfectly worthy of public attention.
The contestants are Cardinals Ouellet, Turkson and Scola.
McMurphy: “Question #1: Since I have absolutely no interest in knowing the scriptural and historical reasons for the male only priesthood, and since my Religious Worldviews in the Feminist Paradigm professor told me that, like, five of the apostles were totally women, I think the Catholic Church is finally ready for women priests. You guys agree, right?”
McMurphy: “Whatever. Question #2: Like most devout Catholic women who don’t go to Mass and don’t believe anything the Church says, I use birth control because babies are a lot of work and my boyfriend and I totally need to re-tile our master bathroom. That’s cool with you guys, right?”
McMurphy: “You guys are lame. Question #3: I like the aesthetics of the Catholic Church but don’t like its theology. I support no-fault divorce, abortion rights, gay marriage, gender-neutral language, and think that it’s mean to criticize Islam. I couldn’t be more of a liberal Episcopalian if Katherine Jefferts-Schiori formed me from the dust from the ground, and yet I still inexplicably identify myself as a Catholic.”
Ouellet: “Is there a question coming any time soon?”
McMurphy: “Unless you want to be elected bishop of misogyny, don’t interrupt me! My question is this: even though my utter indifference towards the church that perfectly represents my theology clearly reveals that there’s no way that I’ll ever come back to the Catholic faith, you guys will still cast aside your vows to be faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church unto death and uproot 2000 years of tradition in a pathetic attempt to woo me, right?”
McMurphy: “Well then, I’m not picking any of you guys to be pope.”
Turkson: “That’s OK, since you don’t actually get a vote.”
McMurphy: “Will the Catholic Church’s war on women ever end?”
OK, so the Washington Post “Style” (sigh) section has a piece today featuring Kaylee and her friends! A group of women just as devoted to the church of Rome is playing a board game called
Choose Your Pope! Vatican: Unlock the Secrets of How Men Become Pope. And their manner of play is going to sound very familiar to folks who watched the above video. The Post tut-tuts along with the women playing the game that the enclave is “100 percent male and 100 percent wrinkled.” They talk a lot about needing to have female priests, and trying to send pink smoke bombs to the Vatican, and how awful Catholic teaching is on … well, everything.
Here’s a completely typical section of the story:
“I was driving to work when I first heard the pope had resigned, and I literally swerved my car.” Before the pope party, [Kate Childs] Graham — short hair, glasses, 28 — talks a little about her faith.
She loves being Catholic. She was raised Catholic. She went to Catholic University. She and her partner, Ariana, were married by an ex-nun, and their toddler, Asher, was baptized in a Catholic church.
Still, it’s a struggle and a cognitive disconnect to love something so deeply that sometimes seems not to love her back. She was devastated when the bishops of Maryland — her adopted home state — banded together last fall to oppose same-sex marriage.
“Seems not to love her back.” Excuse me? Other than showing us what a sad, contradictory and narrow view of love the Post has, this is entirely inappropriate campaign rhetoric for a newspaper to engage in, even if it’s in the juvenile Style section.
Also, is someone thinking about how difficult the next month is going to be for some of the journalists
weighing in on covering the papal enclave? I worry about how they’re going to handle the news that the next pope really will be not just male, but also Catholic.