Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Homer Simpson is Catholic? L'Osservatore Romano's Relationship to the Vatican

Our seniors spent Monday at the IUPUI library learning about other ways to do research besides wikipedia and google; they actually learned how to pick out a few books on a subject!

One of my students is doing research on the history of cartoons, and he came asking for help. I asked him what he had found so far, and he told me, "Well, Father, I was reading on the Vatican's website about how Homer is a Catholic..." Inside, I laughed very heartily and thought, "This is why teaching is the best thing ever." I assumed that whatever he had read on the Vatican's website was something referring to Homer the Greek poet.

Was I ever wrong! The internet is buzzing with the news that the Vatican's newspaper proclaimed Homer, yes Homer Simpson, a Catholic. You can probably find the story just about anywhere you want with a quick Google search.

Unfortunately, because the paper doesn't come out online (neither in Italian nor in English) there is no way to read the entire story, so we are left with only the excerpts the media has chosen to lift out of the article.

Nonetheless, this is surely highly confusing for many Catholics. It is important to remember at this point that L'Osservatore Romano, while being the newspaper of Vatican City, is not THE VATICAN! In the past, the paper has had other controversial oped pieces and so forth, and it seems that THE VATICAN, in attempt to prove that it isn't overly controlling of the press, has cut the paper loose from anything resembling oversight.

So be sure that when you hear something was said by L'Osservatore Romano you distinguish it from being said by the Vatican itself.