Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reflections on SOV2

Things are always interesting on the SOV2 blog site ( Though they seldom delve deep the parodiers often need to incorporate elements of theology into their posts. The confused Che for example indirectly refers to Humanae Vitae by referring to Pope John Paul II as someone who was "all about" "STOP THAT."

A job I would hate to have is attempting to respond to the riled up dissenters in charity. Such is the case with a certain Winnipeg Catholic who certainly preaches a different gospel than JP2's Theology of the Body. Feeling somewhat bad that he was met largely with derision and scorn (deservedly?) I made a small attempt to mollify. Based on past experiences I have found this is almost invariably the wrong path to pursue! Such attempts - like standing between two determined combatants - surely results in abuse to oneself.

This minor case points out the inherent weakness in Satire as an effective means of evangelization. Within parody there is little method of expounding truth except through counter example. Che is not about to launch into a deep discussion of H.V. he can't even spell it correctly. He can lampoon the other side but it must be recognized that even this is a very feeble (and unkind) form of criticism. I have little doubt there are people as gullible and as easily misled as Che but they are not likely to see themselves in that light.

The more serious flaw in attempting to use Parody as Evangelism is that the bitter nature of this comedic form tends to drive opponents away rather than drawing them towards the truth. We wouldn't expect Winnipeg to walk away from SOV2 feeling more positive towards groups he labels Cathlofascists or what-not (I'm not conviced that Winnipeg is not himself a parody!)

That is not to say that satire does not have its uses. Msgr Ronald Knox employed Satire to devestating effect in his "Satirical Essays" as he blasted wide holes in the inner logic of modern biblical criticism. The result of this effort was unlikely to win a single soul to Christ, rather the positive effect was to perhaps strengthen and reassure the Christian faith by reducing the Goliath of opponents through ridicule down to a manageable size.

And for this reason parody should spare individuals as much as possible. We must bear in mind that all men are created in God's image. We must remind urselves over and over again that our calling does not lie in the downward in the direction of buffoonery, but rather upward and away from the squalor of our sins.

1 comment:

Cair Paravel said...

You would really enjoy Father Joe by Tony Hendra.

One of the best lines from the book was (paraphrased):

"We parody that which we despise, but once revered."

You are absolutely right. Sarcasm is metaphysically unstable. Though it may start out right, it almost always devolves.

I have learned (the hard way) that as Catholics, we must be especially careful not to direct sarcasm of any sort at our separated brethren.