At first, I was going to write about Saint Peter Regalado, who is a perfectly fine fellow. Then Mother's Day occurred to me and I figured a woman should probably be selected. Saint Mael of Bardsley turned out to be a guy. (Sorry, Mael. Celtic names confuse me.) Saint Agnes of Poitiers seemed promising until I read that she spent her life in a convent. She's hardly more a symbol of motherhood than Peter. Then I noticed that May 13 is the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. If you're looking for a Christian symbol of motherhood, you're hard-pressed to find one better than the Theotokos herself.
|Jacinta, Fernando, and Lucia (L-R) -- the children of Fatima|
Apparently, pious Catholics have specific prayers offered to abate the blasphemies of others. Think of them as a general spiritual restitution, offered not on behalf of a specific sinner, but on behalf of sinners everywhere. They are intended to -- here, I am stuck for the right verb: mollify? appease? -- placate God. There are specific prayers for reparation of offenses against Jesus, against the Trinity, and against Mary.
|Ladies and gentlemen, Jon Stewart!|
I don't quite get the vagina manger joke, but that doesn't matter. What mostly matters is that Stewart needs to skate the edge of offense, to seem just edgy enough for a mainstream audience without poaching on Bill Maher's territory. But what also matters is that the Catholic League needs to howl loudly at any perceived insult to the BVM, the Trinity, or the Pope, just to burnish its culture-war credibility. And it matters that Mars and Delta and Kellogg's are trying to navigate between this comic Charybdis and this sensitive Scylla to make their money.
|Mr. Stewart has nothing on Messrs. Parker and Stone|
I must, however, observe that faithful and aggrieved Christians have another course of action open to them. As Our Lady of Fatima told Lucia dos Santos, Jacinta Marto, and Francisco Marto on May 13, 1917, you can always do Acts of Reparation for the blasphemies committed by others. Two good texts are linked here. I might print them out and keep them beside the TV remote in case I ever feel like watching South Park or The Daily Show.
Oh yeah, and.... Happy Mothers' Day.