For many years, the Vatican has followed a surprisingly pro-Islamic, anti-Western course. Some may remember how the Vatican were among those who criticized Jyllands-Posten for publishing the 12 cartoons.
This is slowly changing, however. John Paul II spent his later years getting the Jesuits away from revolution and back to religion. One sign was the beatification of Marco d’Aviano:
Marco d’Aviano, known as a fiery orator, persuaded European Christian monarchs to lift [i.e. repel] the Ottoman siege in Vienna in 1683. A biography records that during the fighting, d’Aviano brandished a crucifix at the Turks, shouting, “Behold the cross of the Lord: Flee, enemy bands!”
John Paul, however, proposed d’Aviano not as a model of resistance to Islam, but as an apostle of Europe’s Christian identity. The European Union is currently preparing a constitutional document, and the Vatican has insisted that the document must include a reference to the Christian roots of the continent.
Now, after having criticized the Danish cartoons, the Vatican in their “Studi Cattolici” has published a Cartoon of Muhammad in hell:
Rome – An Italian magazine close to the influential Catholic conservative Opus Dei group has published a cartoon showing the , sparking outrage among Muslim associations in Italy.
The drawing is published in the March issue of Studi Cattolici.
According to the Italian news agency Ansa, the cartoon shows the Italian poets Dante Alighieri and Virgil on the edge of a circle of flames looking down on Mohammed, whose body is cut in half.
“Isn’t that Mohammed?” Virgil is shown asking Dante.
“Yes, and he’s cut in two because he has brought division to society,” replies Dante.
Cartoons by 12 artists, first published in a Danish newspaper in September and later reprinted in a number of other mainly European dailies, sparked Muslim protests worldwide.
Studi Cattolici editor Cesare Cavalleri said: “I hope the publication of this drawing won’t lead to attacks, because if that happened it would only prove the idiotic positions of Islamic extremists.
“Sometimes a politically incorrect satirical cartoon can do some good. It’s only a reference to a passage in (Dante’s) Divine Comedy.
“In any case, Mohammed was sent to hell by Dante.”
The cartoon drew immediate fire from Italy’s Muslim community.
Roberto Piccardo, an official of the union of Italian Muslim communities, said: “With all the efforts made in the Christian and Muslim world for inter-faith dialogue, there are nevertheless always minorities that inflame things and cause provocations.”
I have been unable to find the new cartoon so the above is taken from the Mohammed Image Archive.
This is far from the first time the Catholic Church has angered Islamists by showing Mohammed in Hell. The picture to the left is a fresco from the Church of San Petronio, Bologna – and in 2002 Al-Qaida plotted to blow up the Bologna church fresco.
As Marta Salazar points in the comments section, Opus Dei now distance themselves from the cartoon. In the meantime, I found the cartoon on the Danish Blog Polemiken.
Dante: “Isn’t that Muhammad?”
Virgil: “Yes, and he’s cut in two because he has brought division to society,”
“But the women there, with her trousers down, is the Italian politician in charge of Islam.”
So the two first lines of the text are simply the original ones by Dante Alighieri – and Mohammed is not drawn – with or without his entrails hanging out. Compared to the old illustrations on the Divine Comedy this Catholic cartoon is positively tame.
The joke – ha ha – lies in the mentioning of the Italian politician with her trousers down – whoever she may be. She is only person who could feel insulted.
sigh They don’t make blasphemy like they used to
In the Inferno section of Dante’s trilogy The Divine Comedy, Mohammed is described as being one of the “Sowers of Discord,” showing his entrails to Dante and Virgil in the Eighth Circle of Hell:
Inferno XXVIII, 19-42.
The poets are in the ninth
chasm of the eighth circle, that of the Sowers of
Discord, whose punishment is to be mutilated.
Mahomet shows his entrails to Dante and Virgil
while on the left stands his son Ali, his head cleft
from chin to forelock.
Several famous (and not-so-famous) artists have created their own illustrations of this scene. In each drawing, Mohammed is the one with his torso slit open.
This medieval drawing of Mohammed (on the right) showing his entrails to Dante and Virgil (on the left) is from one of the earliest surviving illustrated manuscripts of the Inferno, dating from the third quarter of the fourteenth century (1350-1375), and currently held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. The artist is unknown; the manuscript is known as “MS. Holkham misc. 48,” part of the Holkham manuscripts collection.
(Thanks to: Raafat.)
This image shows the full folio page from which the detail above was taken.
Gustave Doré’s version of the scene is probably the most well-known. The image is an illustration taken from an 1885 French edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The original engraving is in the Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris.
Detail of Gustave Doré’s Mohammed, from the picture above.
William Blake’s rendition of the “Sowers of Discord”; Mohammed is the bearded figure pulling open his torso. Watercolor; drawn 1824-7. The original is housed in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.
In 1481, Botticelli created some illustrations for the earliest printed edition of the Inferno. This expansive scene shows all the “Sowers of Discord.” Mohammed is the one near the upper center-left with his entrails hanging out.
The detail from the picture above shows Mohammed with his torso split open and his intestines trailing behind him, while to his left is Ali with his head cut in half.
A sketch of Mohammed split open, by Auguste Rodin.
Salvador Dalí created a surrealistic version of Mohammed’s torment.
Contemporary Spanish artist Miquel Barceló illustrated a 2003 Spanish edition of the Inferno which featured this painting of Mohammed with his entrails exposed.
(Thanks to: Andrés M.)
The 1911 Italian silent film L’Inferno contained a dramatization of the scene; Mohammed is here on the right with his entrails hanging out.
(Thanks to: Peter R.)
Political correctness has progressed so far that in March, 2006 when the Italian magazine Studi Cattolici published this very mild version of the scene — that doesn’t even depict Mohammed — the editor was compelled to issue an apologetic explanation, and the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei (which is connected to the magazine) issued a statement distancing themselves from the cartoon. The word balloons are translated as:
Dante (wearing the cap, on the cliff edge): “Isn’t that guy divided in half from head to butt Mohammed?”
Virgil (on the far right): “Yes, he is divided because he brought division to society!
While the other one there with his trousers down is Italian politics concerning Islam.”
(Thanks to: Killgore Trout.)
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