Catholic satirists from across the globe gathered in Hastings, Nebraska, for the 50th annual Catholic Satire Convention, hosted by the Catholic Satire Association. The theme for the 2018 Convention was: Thank God It’s Only Almost True.

The convention is traditionally divided into two groups of satirists. One group is comprised of faithful Catholics who just like to write funny stuff. The other group is the staff and writers of the National Catholic Reporter, who are neither faithful nor funny.

Unfortunately, both groups were a little concerned that Pope Francis has actually converted their art form into nothing more than breaking news. One attendee, Steve Blooning, remarked that he has written several pieces which could not be published. “As soon as I finished them, I would catch something on Zenit or CNA which made the piece yesterdays news… Actual news”. 

A number of attendees provided similar accounts. Bill Hostale shook his head and said, “I had this great piece in which the Pope was caught up in a really embarrassing matter, so he uses a series of Mass homilies to dodge the allegations while at the same time castigating his accusers. I thought I had gone way out of bounds by suggesting that the Pope would use the Mass to serve his personal political agenda. Then I read a news article in which he went out and did exactly that. Where’s the satire in that!? Then Cupich did the same thing!” Hostale than threw his beer on the ground and stormed off. 

Gena Smanec pointed out that it isn’t just Pope Francis. “Don’t even get me started on Cardinal Coccoplamerio. His secretary is arrested in a drug laden homosexual orgy in a Vatican apartment which was specifically reserved for him through pressure from Pope Francis, then the roof falls in on Cardinal Coccopalmerio’s titular parish. Now we find out that Coccopalmerio was actually at the orgy-drug party when his secretary was arrested. Seriously, who can make this stuff up?”

Michael Sean Winters was not as concerned. As a writer for the National Catholic Reporter, he said that he may actually have to start writing satire if things continue the way they are going in Church right now, “But that’s okay”. He explained that people have always taken his writings as satire, when they were actually nothing more than propaganda.

“There is a difference”, Winters insisted. “Satire is supposed to be humorous, whereas propaganda is meant to bend a person’s mind and to break their spirit. People think Austen Ivereigh is the only one who writes propaganda, but at NCR, we have been doing it since 1964, and people swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Unfortunately, some people don’t appreciate the difference between satire and propaganda so a lot of our readers think we are just kidding around when we promote abortion, homosexuality, female ordination and such. I suppose this is why we keep getting invitations to this Convention. We really only show up because this is about as close as we can ever get to actual Catholics. For us, it is kind of like going to a petting zoo, only here, the animals are human beings who actually believe that the Catholic Church was instituted by Jesus Christ.” Shrugging his shoulders, he added, “They also believe in Jesus Christ”.

Winters went on to explain that if the current scandals continue, it will put him and the National Catholic Reporter out of business. “The scandals will ruin the Church and make our propaganda obsolete. I suppose that is when I’ll start writing satire. I’ll write about people who really believe in Jesus and act like they are actually rebuilding the decimated Church through prayer, virtue, sacrifice, and the sacraments. Now that would be funny!”