Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.
A common feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—”in satire, irony is militant”—but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. This “militant” irony or sarcasm often professes to approve of (or at least accept as natural) the very things the satirist wishes to attack.
Sometimes, it is hard to tell the difference between what is satiric and what is real. This is especially true in politics and religion! Remember Tina Fey’s hilariously convincing and straight-faced interpretation of Sarah Palin. Like Sarah, the papacy seems to beg for satiric presentation.
Which puts the pope in worse light, the satiric news video from the The Onion, or the serious article from The National Organization for Marriage (NOM)?
Pope Benedict strengthens his call for all people of good will to work to build up a marriage culture:
“Pope Benedict XVI has suggested that attempts to give gay unions the same status as marriages between men and women pose a threat to justice and peace.
“There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union,” the pope said in his message for World Day of Peace 2013, which was presented by the Holy See on Friday.
“Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.”These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom.”They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity.”The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation.”Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace”.The pope’s message for World Day of Peace 2013, which takes place January 1, is entitled Blessed are the Peacemakers.”
How is the world expected to react to these pronouncements? Are they to be taken seriously, as the product of senility, or as statements crafted by courtiers or committee?
I watched Midnight Mass from the Vatican on Christmas Eve. My heart went out to this weak old man who had to be wheeled down the aisle and propped up every moment.
Even the “faithful” must be embarrassed that an organization so rich and powerful cannot leave an ailing old man in peace and privacy!