Today in Tedious Earnestness: Penn Students Decry “Papal Sacrilege” Party

Tonight, the Penn frat known as St. Elmo’s Club is hosting a party. A special kind of party, devoted to commemorating our new Pope Francis in high fraternity style. As they put it, “Join the brothers of St. Elmo for a night of papal blasphemy. Let’s get sacrilegious in honor of Pope Francis, a true minister to the poor, the sick, and the blackout.” (St. Elmo, for the record, is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as the patron saint of sailing. Which these bros I’m sure interpret as ‘The Patron Saint of Getting Drunk.’) Naturally, a couple students have penned a piece in that den of hand-wringing and overheated outrage: the Op-Ed page of the student newspaper.

Those two sentences are sacrilege enough, disrespecting not only a man of humility and charity who stands against the very debauchery that this organization is suggesting be done in his “honor,” but also insulting the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide who identify with the pope.

The students go on to compare this party to some recent parties at Duke and Penn State that used racial slurs to poke fun of people of Asian and Hispanic heritage. Here’s a big difference between those parties and this one: Catholics aren’t exactly a marginalized, maligned minority in America anymore! Look at the makeup of the Supreme Court! Should we be really get this upset when people re-appropriate church imagery for humorous, even vulgar, purposes? Should we have boycotted Conan O’Brien for his erstwhile “Fed-Ex Pope?” Or Monty Python for “The Bishop“? Or Louis C.K. for his “Introduction” to the Catholic Church, in which he’s told by a fake spokesman that “the point” of the church is “fucking little boys?”

The Penn frat party is tasteless, but harmless. And I think the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics can handle it. [Daily Pennsylvanian]