I slipped into a Catholic church in downtown San Francisco on Saturday afternoon to light a candle—dropped a dollar in the buy-a-candle bucket first—and say a quick Hail Mary for my mom. I'm not a believer, I don't think Anyone heard my prayer, but I visit Catholic churches to remember my mom. (Here's a piece I did on lurking in Catholic churches for This American Life.) My mom was a good American Catholic—she was a believer (and pro-choice, pro-gay, and pro-ordaining-women)—but my mom had a sense of humor where her plaster saints were concerned. For instance: Mom set a large plaster statue of the Virgin on the back of the toilet in the bathroom she had to share with her husband and four children. When you stood in front of the toilet—let's say where you typically stood to pee—Mary's head was angled in such a way that HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD WAS LOOKING RIGHT AT YOUR DICK. Mary's icy/plastery glare was meant to remind the men of the house to put the toilet seat down. And it worked!
Anyway... after lighting a candle for my mom in St. Patrick's Church on Mission Street—a jewel of a church—I spotted a plaster statue that made me laugh out loud. I took a pic and tweeted it out:
The "repair" on this statue of John Paul II makes him look like he just stuck 2 fingers in a squeaky clean altar boy. pic.twitter.com/Xh1a6ujKxj
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) February 28, 2015
Call me crazy but... a church still dealing with the fallout of an international child sex-abuse scandal might wanna err on the side of not doing quickie repairs that leave plaster saints looking like they've just lubed up two fingers. The optics are bad, you know? And the odds that someone will come along and take a picture and snark about it are pretty high. And while my mother probably wouldn't have made this particular joke herself—if she had been there to spot the statue—she would've raised an eyebrow and stifled a laugh when I pointed it out to her. Because she had a sense of humor and... I mean... come on...
Today the right-wing nutters at Newsbusters spotted my tweet and they didn't find it funny...
Radical LGBT activist Dan Savage plumbed new depths of lewd anti-Catholicism in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday. The hypocritical "anti-bullying" activist pointed out how a "'repair' on this statue of John Paul II makes him look like he just stuck 2 fingers in a squeaky clean altar boy."
However, Savage (who comes from a Catholic family, but is now an atheist) revealed his own ignorance, as the statue, which has its hand stretched out in blessing and currently has two fingers wrapped in plastic, is actually of a pope who died six years before John Paul II was born—Pope Saint Pius X.
One Twitter user blasted the far-left columnist for his beyond obscene attack: "I reported you as your comment is totally offensive and inappropriate to people of faith." Savage predictably replied, "If only my church had been as quick to report all those pedophile priests to the authorities, huh?" - See more at: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2015/03/02/far-left-hero-dan-savage-lewdly-insults-john-paul-ii-child-molester#sthash.sF6NtUWQ.dpuf
I stand corrected! That's Pope Pius X, the backward-looking pope who fought "modernism," censored books, and opposed the separation of church and state, and not Pope John Paul II, the Polish pope who covered for child rapists and heaped clerical honors on his favorite child rapist. My bad!
In February of 1906, Pope Pius X issued an encyclical titled “Vehementer Nos“, which denounced France for its passage of a revolutionary law establishing the separation of church and state. This document contained a blunt insight into the Catholic view of the relationship between religion and government:
That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error.
Happily, France ignored this musty blast from a figure who – then, as now – serves as the most prominent representative of superstitious medievalism. Today, as Catholicism continues to decline in Europe, the French state can proudly point to its strong constitutional guarantee, as well as widespread popular support, for the principle of laicite, or secularism.
However, I want to focus on a different part of this encyclical. In another section, there’s a revealing passage which lays out the Catholic, and arguably the Christian, view of what a just society would look like.
To find out what that society would look like... go read the rest of Adam's post.