Thursday, October 04, 2007

Truth Is Stranger #59: Chico the Cat Tells Benedict XVI's Life To Kids

Sob... (wailing, gnashing of teeth)

Yes, this is my religion!...

Create in me a clean heart for everything I've thought in the past five minutes, O God! But I'm going to do some pointed snark anyway!

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Chico the cat describes the life of his "best friend", Pope Benedict, in an authorised biography for children released this week. (Humph. What does this cat have that I don't, huh? I'm at work in the vineyard of the Lord and he's some scruffy furball eating Tender Vittles.)

"Dear Children, here you will find a biography that is different to others because it is told by a cat and it is not every day a cat can consider the Holy Father his friend (OK, true) and sit down (even more rare) to write his life story (we have a winner!)," the Pope's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, says in the foreword.

"Chico and Joseph -- A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI" is narrated by Chico who took up with the Pope in his native Germany when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The illustrated 44-page book is written by Italian author Jeanne Perego and set mostly in Germany in the years before Benedict was elected in April 2005. (I'm not up on German cat names, but 'Chico'? As in Chico and the Man? Now that would have been a title I would buy: 'Chico and the Theology Man'.)

...Chico tells the story of the life of "my best friend" from his birth in Germany in 1927, through his days as a young man, priest, bishop and cardinal. It ends with his election as Pope on April 19, 2005. (OK, if Chico was around all that time...that cat has had ninety times nine lives. I mean, I love the Holy Father, but everyone agrees he's no spring chicken.)

..."At that time, Joseph was forced to do something which was absolutely against his will: john the army and leave for the war. We cats do not make war," Chico narrates. (OK, putting aside that we just received a moral slap from a cat, I don't think cats are inherently conflict-resolution wonks and pacifists. No, they just slash with their claws of death any moving thing reminiscent of dinner, blood, or catnip.)

...In his foreword Ganswein tells the children: "Keep in mind that the cat is writing (really, I can't get over that miracle) from his point of view (what, cats can't do documentaries?). At the end of the day he is a cat, even if he is a cat who is a friend." (Full story here.)

But... I'm so getting my kids a copy. If Chico was a smart enough cat to write in English.

p.s. Ack the cat is jealous.


beez said...

IC -

I posted this over at the Curt Jester too. It needs to be said:

You see, Chico the cat didn't actually witness any of this, although he currently knows the Holy Father, most of what is in the book has come from two sources. The first source, M, is claimed to be a manuscript by a cat that, while also not the Pope's cat, was a disciple of the Pope's cat. This source will eventually turn up as a book about the Pope and a cat in its own right.

The second source, Q, has yet to be identified, but the varying natures of the various stories or "parables" in the Chico book definitely point to such a source.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Beez (groan)

We're not even getting into whether the original language, Catish, is translated appropriately, or the cultural critique that stems from one species in communication with another.