US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Jesus smokes and drinks on magazine cover

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Imagine excitedly receiving a copy of U.S. Catholic in the mail only to find that the cover featured Jesus holding a beer and a cigarette! How might you react?

Don't worry about that happening here, but that is exactly what happened when Catholics in Thiruvananthapuram received their local diocesan Catholic Journal. (That's at the Southern end of India--click on the name to see where, but don't ask me how to pronounce the city name three times fast.)

Catholics were obviously quite upset over the gaffe, which the bishop has apologized for. He has suspended production of the journal and ordered an investigation into how such an image could have been used, according to a news story on Yahoo! News. While priests work on articles and the content of the journal, lay people are in charge of the cover and inside art. 

"We have been publishing the journal for 12 years. But this sort of a thing has never happened. We will ascertain how it happened, and, whoever did the mischief would be dealt with sternly," the diocesan spokesman said.

Interestingly enough, a similar faux pas occurred last year at a Malaysian paper when a graphic designer "mistakenly" illustrated an article about great leaders with a smoking Jesus picture off the Internet, according to AFP. Read about it on this blog (August 25, 2007, the photo above is taken from this blog).

I think I might laugh at first if I saw the cover, simply out of shock--Mad magazine gone Catholic or a Catholic magazine gone Mad? I can't imagine it was terribly funny for most folks.