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APRIL 13, 2010 7:58AM

Malta to remove "embarrassing" monument before papal visit

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Valletta, capital of Malta
(Wikipedia Commons)


YOU HAVE TO ASSUME that after months of stiff criticism for his handling of the out of control child molestation scandal in the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict is eager for a couple of days of R&R, preferably on a sunny Mediterranean island without any visible reminders of his priapic priesthood. And so, on his official visit to Malta this Saturday, the local authorities on this devoutly Catholic island are keen to remove all hints of the affair – even if that includes taking down one of the capital’s most stimulating monuments.



Colonna Mediterranea  
The Colonna Mediterranea
(yahoo! Deutschland)


Yesterday, according to Agence France Presse and other media outlets, Mayor John Schembri of Luqa, a village outside the capital Valletta, has called for the removal of the “Colonna Mediterranea” (the Mediterranean Pillar), a ceramic sculpture by Maltese artist Paul Vella Critien. Critien erected the column in a traffic circle near the airport in 2006, where it cannot help but be viewed by thousands of Maltese and their visitors each day. The sculptor and painter, who has exhibited and constructed monuments around the world, calls his stylized obelisk “a modern three-dimensional representation of a symbol from ancient Egypt, as well as a work that celebrates the imagination and beauty of Mediterranean colors.” It “points to eternity.”


However, Mayor Schembri takes a shorter view, calling the ceramic shaft “obscene” and “embarrassing.” According to the Malta Independent, he has since called on his parliamentary secretary to remove “this so-called work of art which has been lumped upon the village of Luqa” as “a sign of respect for His Holiness the Pope.” As Schembri puts it:


On this issue, the Council has already consulted and has the total backing of the ecclesiastical authorities of the village, who have in fact already written to complain about the absurd welcome immediately awaiting the Pope's arrival at Luqa and have asked for a quick redress of the situation. There can be no doubt that, among the people of Luqa, there is a widespread cross-party consensus that the object placed at the entrance of Luqa is not the most fitting way in which to greet the Pope, especially by what is considered to be the most Catholic country in the world.



The Republic of Malta


The monument has been controversial ever since its erection, with the town council repeatedly stating that it “constitutes a vulgar insult as well as an arrogant imposition on the people of Luqa.” It has been the subject of frequent practical jokes, the most recent being an April Fool’s Day rumor that the monument was going to be removed because of the Pope’s upcoming visit. Apparently this joke got the ball rolling and may finally lead to action. Whether the obelisk will be taken down for good or merely sheathed remains uncertain.


This begs the question of whether the elimination of the manly monument will also eliminate the papal problem, at least as long as the Pontifex is on Maltese territory. It doesn’t seem likely: this tiny island nation is itself enduring a gruelling pedophile scandal involving at least forty-five Catholic priests. A Facebook group counting 1,000 members is protesting the Pope's visit. So while Benedict will not be exposed to the “Colonna Mediterranea” on Saturday, there will be plenty of protesters on hand to prick his conscience.


So I’m afraid Malta is out for papal R&R. May I suggest Antarctica?




The  Times of Malta reported the following in its March 14 edition:

There have been no changes to the route the Pope will follow in Luqa, which will taking him past the phallic 'monument' near Lidl supermarket on Saturday afternoon.

"I have not been told of any changes, nor did we request any, we only asked for the monument to be removed," mayor John Schembri said.

People from Luqa this morning had suspected a change of route after workers turned up to tarmac some roads in the village.

But Mr Schembri said that resurfacing was requested by the council itself.

The Pope, he said, would be driven into Luqa soon after he arrived in Malta. He would be driven past the monument as he left the village and headed towards St Vincent de Paule home for the elderly.


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"The monument has been controversial since its erection?" Ya think?
This was not only informative but positively alive with puns. "[T]here will be plenty of protesters on hand to prick his conscience." I wish you wrote for my local newspaper.
I think "the capital’s most stimulating monument" should have been left right where it was. There's no escaping the "stiff criticism".
Your use of puns is fabulous. Excellent post!
Rated for puns of fun.
Thanks. Let me point out that I don't find the pedophile scandal in the least amusing, and yet there's something profoundly hilarious about the notion of tearing down monuments and otherwise "potempkinizing" a city just because the Pope is showing up for a weekend layover. It's sort of like stashing the Playboys when your parents come to visit your dorm room. Lots of comic possibilities in this one.
I liked the puns as well, and also the alliteration ("manly monument", "papal problem"). I have a feeling this year is not going to rank among the pope's favorites.
Ya know, sometimes a phallic obelisk is just a phallic obelisk.
...I'm thinking of a film comedy along the lines of "La Cage aux Folles" and "The Inspector General." We could call it "Guess Who's Coming to Communion." Now, where's John Blumenthal when you need him?
because big blue ribbed-for-her-pleasure ocean-motif small-tipped circumcised penis-y art makes baby Jesus cry.

And priests squirm.
Ratz - you beat me to it and did it better!
People are too absurd!! The Pope is at the very heart of this sickening scandal, and as he was John Paul's closest associate, we can assume that John Paul knew all about it as well.

But "submissive, herd-like" Catholics as someone so brilliantly called them, continue to honor a Church that defiled everything it supposedly stood for. Is there anything more dishonest, more despicable, more heinous than pedophiles masquerading as "men of God" while their superiors protected them!?

If Catholics weren't such submissive ring kissers, then such horrible pedophilia might never have happened! Words fail to describe my contempt for the absolute arrogance and hypocrisy of such a failure of an institution! How any thinking person can set foot in a Catholic church is beyond me!! I'm so hoping to see the total and complete collapse of the RC Church in my life time!!

But, oh gosh...the Pope might be offended !! Boo-hoo!!
Can they make a statue of someone giving him the bird?
Where's the Viagra logo? They put it on NASCAR.
Put a great big condom on it.

Obligatory Pope joke:
Q. Why does the Pontiff wear Speedos in the bath?
A: So he doesn't have to look down on the unemployed.
They should just re-display it shoved up the ass of an old Big-Boy statue.

The pope would feel right at home.

P ederasts
O n
P arade
E xcused
This Pope has genitals, doesn't he? He would probably regard this phallus as a tribute to man's libido. At the Pope's age, libido is a non-issue. I doubt this would offend him, given how he brushes pedophilia under the rug.
If you just hide it, the problem goes away. I think we all know how well that works. At least the pope should know.
I prefer erotic art in private collections not as public works.
Malta should leave it in place to remind the Hitler Youth-alum of "Gentleman of the Pope" Balducci's recent procuring divine Providence revealed to the world.

Babylon shall fall in a day: May that day be tomorrow.
"you have some basic education and sometimes write on things that matter, and for an audience not yet three-tenths braindead."

Thanks, if they carve that on my gravestone it will be proof that my life was not in vain . ;-)
Well, I'm less bitter about your earlier-and-better, since my modest offering was spared the misogynist trolls...