“They ain’t makin’ Jews like Jesus any more.” — Kinky Friedman
To which some reply, “Thank god!” And others cross themselves.
None of which, now that I think it over, has a whole helluva lot to do with the following interesting seasonal story (thanks, Mr Schwinkle!):
Placing statuettes of defecating people in Nativity scenes is a Christmastime tradition so old and so strong in Spain’s Catalonia region that even the Roman Catholic Church here doesn’t dare try to ban it.
In a tradition that dates back to the 18th century, Catalonians hide caganers in Christmas Nativity scenes and invite friends over to try to find them. The figures symbolize fertilization and the hope for prosperity in the coming year, according to Josep Maria Joan, director of the Toy Museum of Catalonia.
What a fun little game when you’re down in the dumps! Find the King on his throne. Where’s Wiping Waldo? In Flushing Meadows? But naturally, some of us are not amused.
Spanish artist Antoni Miralda’s exposition “Poetical Gut” at Copia, a food, wine and arts museum in Napa, Calif., features ceramic figurines of the pope, nuns and angels with their pants down, squatting over their bowel movements.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a 350,000-member group based in New York, has written to the museum’s board of trustees to say it finds the show offensive. “When it’s degrading, everybody knows it except the spin doctors who run the museums,” the group’s president, William Donohue, said Sunday.
I’m just a non-believing layman, myself, but I can think of many worse “degrading” matters the League might find it worthwhile than an irreverent art show to protest, starting with their own parishioners who skimp on the Sunday collection plate. Or don’t bother to show up Sunday, or any other day. That rather degrades the ones who do their sacrificial duty, including hardworking clergy.
And speaking of the clergy, there’s no need to bring up the few who squat over their own underage male parishioners, is there? So long as we’re talking about “degrading” matters the League might want to protest?
For Marti Torrent, founder of the 70-member Association of Friends of the Caganer, the meaning goes deeper than child’s play. “I know that American society is more strict with its religious ideas than we are in Catalonia,” said Torrent, 89, who added that what the caganer does is natural. “Even the king has to do it every day or at least every other day.”
Right on. Times are tough. Lighten up and let people enjoy themselves where they can. Like the king — at least every other day.