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Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Catholic Church has Jumped the Shark

Thor gets it Right
It’s been a good run, nearly two thousand years, give or take, but despite the last several decades of plot twists featuring child endangerment and the casting of a right-wing super-villain to headline the franchise, the Roman Catholic Church is over. It didn't have to be this way. Other religions have made the transition from cultural monolith to comic book series and multi-million dollar movie franchise when their brand began to stale, reinventing themselves for a modern audience. (see Thor: The Dark World (2013)) But attempts at updating, like Vatican II, never really lived up to their promises, and old time fans were not happy with the changes.

The Catholic Church’s latest stunt, planned for Springfield Illinois on November 20th, seems yet another attempt, destined to fail, at grabbing ratings for an institution that is all but begging to be put out of its misery. The initial roll out wasn’t that bad. First, Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, who identifies as a series Catholic geek, declared that the classic villain of the series, the Devil, was alive and well and even today undermining core American values. You might remember the Devil from his early appearances in the New Testament and from Genesis, where he played an apple wielding snake. The Devil was THE villain all through the Middle Ages, and was last seen in the mid 1970s, forcing possessed girls to puke pea soup and crawl downstairs backwards.

Scalia’s re-introduction of this hammy old character has allowed Bishop Thomas Paprocki the opportunity to conduct an elaborate rite of exorcism against the villain on November 20th, the same day and at approximately the same time Illinois Governor Pat Quinn plans to sign historic marriage equality legislation. Under the unwieldy title, “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage” Paprocki is using the Catholic Rite of Exorcism in a whole new way, to banish homosexuality from marriage.

This repurposing of an old device for a new effect worked well for Thor, as he can now use his hammer to not only fire lightning bolts but to fly, but will long time fans be able to make sense out of the idea that a ritual once used for the banishment of demons can now be used to reverse the advancement of human rights? Only time will tell, but given the recent fortunes of the once powerful and now largely irrelevant Catholic Church, color me skeptical.

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