An Italian conservative Catholic magazine, Studi cattolici [Catholic Studies] (Pretty darned conservative, no web page!), informally associated with Opus Dei, published in its March issue a cartoon alluding to Dante’s Divine Comedy Canto XXVIII (which places Mohammed in Hell), in order to make a satirical comment on contemporary Italian politics.
Despite the fact that Mohammed is not even illustrated in the cartoon, its publication produced the now-predictable Islamic howls of indignation, and the equally-predictable Occidental cringing.
Opus Dei’s prelature, represented by Manuel Sanchez Hurtado, resorted to boot-licking:
It is one thing to appreciate Dante’s Divine Comedy and a very different thing to joke about this particular scene in the present climate and in a Catholic magazine,” said that Opus Dei communications director. While the prelature is not directly responsible for Studi Cattolici, he said, the editors responsible had apologized for the illustration and Opus Dei leaders wanted to “unite ourselves to this request for forgiveness.”
Cesare Cavalleri, the editor who published the cartoon, apologized,
Cavalleri was quoted as saying the vignette “was interpreted as being anti-Islam when, if anything, it was a denunciation of a cultural identity crisis in the West,” the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Cavalleri as saying. “In any case, if, contrary to my and the author‘s intentions, someone felt offended in his religious feelings, I willingly apologize as a Christian.”
But some detect a possible note of saracasm in his apologizing, “as a Christian.”
In the characteristically valiant fashion of the MSM, today’s news reports have universally omitted publishing the controversial cartoon.
Michelle Malkin, who is doing her characteristically thorough coverage, asked for a translation, and here it is:
Dante: “There, split in half from head to cheeks, isn’t that Mohammed?”
Virgil (balloon 1): “Yes, he is divided, because he sowed divisions in society.”
Virgil (balloon 2): “And that one there with his pants down, that’s Italian policy towards Islam.”
The relevant text of Dante, and a better illustration (by Gustave Doré), can be found by clicking this button in the right hand column.