Inside the Vatican is not a humor magazine—at least, not intentionally. Sometimes, however, they just can't help it. The February 2010 issue is out and it immediately provides some light entertainment, beginning with the first letter in its correspondence section:
BENEDICT AND ECOLOGYWas it an unconscious act of “truth in labeling” when the conspiracy-fearing Ms. Shirrel chose her e-mail handle? Was she aware of its pagan origins in Greek mythology? (Of course, that's a trait shared by several aspects of Christianity.)
As a Catholic and an American I am appalled at the public pronouncements made by the Pope regarding global environmental issues. I would hope that the Vatican would start focusing on the spiritual rather than the political world.
On those issues, the Pope does not speak for me nor should he. As an American I do not agree with our president's socialistic/fascist approach to global environmental problems that appear to be a cover for something else.M. Shirrel
The fun continues on the facing page, where the editorial staff found it necessary to provide Inside the Vatican's readership with an apology for the excesses of the December issue:
Special Note: We would like to apologize to our readers for using an image on the cover of our Christmas issue (DecemberAn “offensive” depiction of the virgin mother? On the cover of a staid religious magazine?
2009), which depicted the Virgin Mary in the stable at Bethlehem in a way a number of our readers found offensive. We will be more careful in the future about including anything of this type in the magazine. —The Editor
Surely someone in the publication's art department must have evaded editorial supervision and slipped in something shocking. While the chosen artwork is a rather conventional mother-and-child nativity scene—with what my art history professor used to call the “standard glow-in-the-dark Christ child”—it apparently reminded too many of the devout Catholic readers that Jesus was not a bottle baby.
I'm sure that you must be as shocked as I am! No wonder an apology was necessary. I suggest that next Christmas Inside the Vatican play it safe by avoiding the kitschy devotional work of no-name artists and choosing a classic work by a famed Renaissance genius like Leonardo da Vinci. For example, there is Leonardo's justly famous “Boob and Winkie.” One can just imagine the flood of appreciative letters from readers.