A few days ago, I got asked who the patron saint of journalists was. It’s the sort of question I often get, not because I am a devout Catholic (I was raised to be one, but it didn’t take), but because it’s the sort of random trivia that my mind is stuffed with. Anyhow, on this occasion I couldn’t remember, so I looked it up. In the process of doing so, I discovered this, which has to be the most irony-free, begging-to-be-spoofed thing I have seen in a while.

Catholic Online – Fun Facts

In fact, the whole site is pretty disturbing to me, both because aesthetically and content-wise it reminds me of my convent-school upbringing, and because most of my exposure to catholic tat over the last decade or more has been in the form of friends who find glow-in-the-dark virgin marys and st christopher medals hilariously trashy. I’m not sure how I feel about this. There are several stores locally that specialise in ironic religious imagery and spoof 1950s advertising, and while I generally appreciate the humour, I still have embarassing childhood memories of really really coveting a pink glass bead rosary with a painted crucifix, just like the one now being sold as an arch ornament at the “Trendy ‘n’ Trashy” shop in my nearest mall.

I guess catholic aesthetics may be harder to shake than the guilt.

P.S. the patron saint of journalists is St Francis de Sales, who was bishop of Geneva at the height of Calvinism. He tried to convert Calvinists, and became a mystic. Apparently he wrote a lot of religious tracts and books, which by Catholic logic I suppose makes him a role model for people reporting the news. He also fell off his horse a lot, which may be a better reason, given the rampant drunkenness in the profession.

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