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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

The Onion Takes on the Vatican Over Sistine Chapel Abuses

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Satirical news site The Onion’s latest foray into art historical lampoonery implicates made-up Sistine Chapel janitor Giuseppe Falduto, 78, in a recently exposed four decades-long sexual abuse spree, for which he has been convicted of “sexually abusing four popes between 1965 and 2011.” The abuses — involving popes Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI — are clearly intended to satirize the countless charges of sexual abuse leveled against members of the Catholic church, though they come at a moment when the Michelangelo-painted Vatican chapel is under special scrutiny of its own due to dirty tourists.

“The crimes committed by Mr. Falduto are of course shocking and deplorable,” Angelo Sodano, the made up Dean of the College of Cardinals, told the Onion. “But perhaps most upsetting is the fact that this man gained the trust of high-ranking church authorities and then betrayed that trust by secretly defiling innocent popes… These appalling acts caused tremendous psychological trauma for his victims, and we are currently reexamining our internal policies to safeguard the current and future papacy.”

Falduto was first exposed in June 2011, when a tip led to the discovery of Polaroid photographs of popes in compromising poses and positions beneath his cot in the chapel’s basement.

“It’s important to keep an eye out for the common signs of papal molestation, such as the Holy Father avoiding direct eye contact while saying mass or becoming shy and withdrawn during an audience with foreign dignitaries,” Richard Blevins of the International Conference of Catholic Bishops told The Onion. “I’ve talked to cardinals who say that in hindsight, there did always seem to be something wrong with each of the last four Popes whenever the janitor was mopping up nearby.”

Sodano concluded: “Even one pope molested is one too many.”

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image via Wikipedia.)

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