Hell’s angel

“Respectable Polish Catholics, the place from which I address you is fiery hot,” proclaims Karol Józef Wojty?a. The reason for his discomfort is that poor Karol Józef – alias Pope John Paul II – is in hell.

“At the beginning of my stay at the epicentre of fire I, John Paul II, was a little dismayed by the fact that, having been a faithful servant of God, I ended up in hell along with such characters as Goebbels and Himmler,” he says.

The man who used to kiss airport aprons – not yet a saint, but surely an angel in the eyes of Catholics – has, through his depiction by a Danish satirist on his Polish-language website, led to the sort of outrage the Motoons kicked off after they’d been published in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten, but without the body count.

“Many think Pope John Paul II is a saint,” says Jan Egesborn, satirical artist and founder of the Danish satirical group, Surrend, “but he didn’t do anything about sex abuse of children by priests in the Roman Catholic church and this is why we think he belongs in hell.”

Egesborn says early responses from Poles who have seen his satirical webpage have been strong. “For Poles it is just as controversial as the Mohammed cartoon was for Muslims,” he said.
Bottoms up!
But to would-be censors he has this to say in the Sydney Morning Herald: “Satirical art has a mighty force and we see people have an enormous response to it.”

The Surrend group has lampooned, inter alia, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and the Belarussian President Aleksander Lukashenko, and the current superstitionist-in-chief, Joseph Ratzinger, alias Benedict XVI. Indeed, Ratzo is “quoted” as saying, in the English caption below the picture shown here, which is on Surrend’s English-language site, “I am against homosexuality, but for paedophilia.” Brings a whole new meaning to “Suffer the little children to come unto me,” dunnit?

And long may such groups thrive! The Danish seem pretty good at leading the way in the free-expression stakes at the moment, as we can see from the story two posts down the page from this one (see “Mohammed, the far-right poster boy”).

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