The Simpsons remain among the few TV programs for children in which the Christian faith, religion and the question of God are recurring themes. Who says so?
Homer and Bart have made this week’s issue of the official Vatican newspaper with quite a glowing review taken from “The Catholic Civilization” - the influential Italian Jesuit magazine.
Italian is not my strong suit so the following automatic Google translation leaves a little to be desired but you will get the point.
Few people know this, and he does everything to hide it. But it’s true: Homer J. Simpson is Catholic. And if it was not a vocation — a blinding accomplice pint of “Duff” — we missed very little. So much so that today the king of donuts in Springfield does not hesitate to exclaim that “Catholicism is legendary.” But then change their minds in a cathartic “D’oh!”.
The joke — - is the episode “Father, Son and Spirit Practical,” in which Homer and Bart are converted through an encounter with the friendly father Sean — is the starting point of the interesting article in The Simpsons and religion of father Francis appeared Occhetta in the latest edition of “The Catholic Civilization.” The influential Italian Jesuit magazine draws a fine ethical and anthropological analysis of the cartoon at the same time seizing the opportunity - this is the most important - to give some practical advice to parents and children.
It is undisputed that the series created by Matt Groening brought into the world of cartoon language and narrative a revolution without precedent. Abandoned the reassuring distinction between good and evil is typical of production “happy ending” of Disney, Homer & Company have opened a Pandora’s box. The result was surreal comedy, satire, sarcasm on the worst taboo of ‘American way of life and distorting an icon of Western idiosyncrasies. But beware, there are other levels of interpretation.
“Every episode,”writes Occhetta, “behind the satire and the many jokes that make you smile, open issues related to the anthropological sense and quality of life”. Issues such as the inability to communicate and reconciliation, education and the education system, marriage and family. And do not miss politics.
Bone of contention, religion. What about the presence of the sound of Homer snoring during the sermons of Reverend Lovejoy? And what about the perennial humiliations inflicted on the pathetic Neddy Flanders, the evangelical orthodox? Thin unjustifiable criticism or blasphemy?
“The Simpsons,” Occhetta claims, “remain among the few TV programs for children in which the Christian faith, religion and the question of God are recurring themes”.
The family say the prayers before meals and, in its own way, believes in the afterlife ” and she is the means by which the faith is transmitted. The satire, however, “rather than involve the various Christian denominations overwhelms the evidence and the credibility of some church people”.
Let me be clear, the dangers exist, because “the laxity and lack of interest that may arise to educate even more young people to a private law relationship with God”. But a grain of salt is necessary to separate the good from the grass weeds. Parents need not fear for their children to watch the adventures of the little men in yellow. Indeed, the realism of the texts and episodes “could be the opportunity to watch a few episodes together, and to grasp the ideas to talk about family life, school, couple, social and political”.
In the stories of Simpson skeptical realism prevails, so “the younger generation of viewers are educated not to delude themselves”. The moral? None. But you know, a world devoid of easy illusions is a more humane world, and perhaps more Christian.