A depiction of Mary and Joseph in Italy that was declared satire caused a politician to get angry. He smelled blasphemy and jumped into the breach “without orders.” Two comedians could be in trouble with the law.
Inhalt / Content
- 1 Exaggerated depiction of Mary and Joseph
- 2 A politician feels called upon
- 3 Catholic Italy
- 4 Berlin already has a “leading role” in this regard
- 5 “Stop the thief”
- 6 There is still the beam in your own eye
- 7 The blasphemy paragraph in Italy
- 8 More questions than answers
- 9 Normally there would be no time for charges
Exaggerated depiction of Mary and Joseph
In Italy they definitely have a sense of humor and satire. There is a limit there, however. If it was an offense that could be construed as blasphemy, then the fun stops immediately.
The two Italian comedians, Francesco Paolantoni and Biagio Izzo, reenacted the time shortly after Jesus’ birth on the public TV “Rai 2” in Italy on Boxing Day, as “katholisch.de” reported. One of the two comedians dressed up as Joseph, the other actor as Maria.
Accordingly, the depicted Joseph complained about having to look after the baby, even though he was not the father but the Holy Spirit, and the depicted Mary appeared to be a consenting mother who did not allow Jesus to leave his parents’ house even as an adult want to leave. There was also an angelic song that did not correspond to the song “Gloria”, but to the song “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor. This is said to be a well-known tune in the gay scene.
A politician feels called upon
This performance on the public broadcaster was clearly met with displeasure. The supervisory board of the broadcaster “Rai” received a formal request from politician Maurizio Gasparri from the conservative Forza Italia party. The accusation is that the two comedians hurt the feelings of believers and viewers.
The Catholic magazine points out that in Italy there is a law under the penal code that punishes blasphemy as a misdemeanor. “Usually” the perpetrators received a fine. This applies to “any public blasphemy through defamatory speech or insulting words against the deity.”
What is today sometimes understood as satire, or defamation and discrediting as satire, is at least a frequently used instrument for public broadcasting, which is lavishly subsidized in Germany. There can also be divided opinions about the two comedians’ portrayal of Mary and Joseph in Italy. Getting upset about it is just as acceptable as completely “not caring”.
Now, the Italy surrounding Rome is staunchly (darkly) Catholic and therefore particularly sensitive. The big “popular uprising” against the broadcaster Rai and the two comedians apparently didn’t happen, because that would have been worth a few lines of news more than this vicarious indignation of the individual politician. “Management without a mandate” would be the best fit.
Berlin already has a “leading role” in this regard
If it were a competition in the “Postmodern nativity play” category, the “queer-feminist” depiction of the Protestant church in a district of Berlin would have won this contest by far (Info). There was even no public outcry from conservative politicians. In any case, people are not used to such empathy for supposedly shocked voters as in southern Mediterranean areas in a now climate-changed, hypothermic Germany.
The lawyers should decide whether the performance on the Italian broadcaster Rai 2, which was declared as satire, was blasphemy or not. Italy is the Catholic framework of the Holy See Kingdom with the legal state of Vatican City and the epicenter in Rome. An institution with a religion that is around 75 percent pagan in origin should be outraged by exaggerated representations of Bible figures. In contrast to the nativity play performance in Berlin, where a (outwardly) female couple is pregnant together, in the “Italian version” Joseph is actually right about not being the biological father of Jesus Christ.
“Stop the thief”
It is also a fact that this is a unique display of horror, while the suffering and subsequent death of Jesus Christ is celebrated countless times through the Eucharist (Info). Otherwise, the Church of Rome is anything but careful with the Gospel and one would be better advised to be more cautious with the accusation of blasphemy (Info). For the Church of Rome, blasphemy is a blasphemy that could be derived from the catechism, but not necessarily from the Gospel.
There is still the beam in your own eye
The fundamental question of every believer should be whether charges should be brought at all. Talking (writing) about it and highlighting the deviations from the gospel is one side. The other side is the accusation and even judgment of such performances as a “postmodern nativity play”. As if God could not take care of this matter himself and then initiate the consequences that He sees fit.
Every prosecutor or judge should better realize that he has neither the right nor the necessary position to judge others. There is this famous statement of Jesus Christ with the beam, Matthew 7:5:
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.“.
Anyone who feels called upon to make a vicarious accusation of blasphemy and demands punishment should consider whether they themselves have not fallen into a trap of provocation. The Gospel clearly states that every person needs salvation. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, Savior and Advocate. There is no other way (John 14:6). Who comes up with the idea of portraying themselves as the advocate of Jesus Christ in this own lost and completely dependent position? Isn’t this at least as much pride?
The blasphemy paragraph in Italy
Italian criminal law actually has an article for blasphemous statements or actions. This can be found again in Article 724 and reads:
“Dispositivo dell’art. 724 Codice Penale
Chiunque pubblicamente bestemmia, con invettive o parole oltraggiose, contro la Divinità [o i Simboli o le Persone venerati nella religione dello Stato] è punito con la sanzione amministrativa pecuniaria da euro 51 a euro 309.“
“Device of the art. 724 Penal Code
Anyone who publicly blasphemes, with invectives or outrageous words, against the Deity [or the Symbols or Persons venerated in the religion of the State] is punished with an administrative fine ranging from 51 euros to 309 euros.“
More questions than answers
In order to be able to judge the Italian politician’s accusation, you would have to watch the entire performance with your own eyes anyway.
The term “deity” is interesting in this legal text, as are “symbols and persons”. These are extremely flexible terms. Some Neapolitans would also want to include Diego Maradonna. The God of the Bible is a deity. Who and what else potentially, perhaps a “nature or sun god”? Does this article apply to all domestic Italian deities, or also across borders? Would the politician also step into the breach for the ever-sitting Buddha or one of the many million Hindu gods? Who defines the “deities and symbols”? Parliament, an NGO, or even the Vatican?
Questions upon questions about such a short article.
Normally there would be no time for charges
“Schuster stick to your own lasts”. Jesus Christ explained it with the beam in one eye. Clean up your own front door first and make sure it stays clean. Take care of others, show them the truth. Preach the gospel and live it. There is no more room for accusatory fingers and judge games. The “raging fundamentalist” is already preconfigured anyway (Info).
A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.
Bible verses from King James Version