Anti-Catholic cartoons, then and now

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Ganges.jpgThe most famous American anti-Catholic cartoon is Thomas Nast’s 1871 “The American River Ganges,” showing a squadron of crocodilic prelates from Rome attacking a group of children standing on the shore with their fort, a public school, flying the Stars and Stripes upside down in surrender.

Today, thanks to Fr. Cantalamessa’s analogizing of current criticism of the Church to anti-Semitism, Wapo’s brilliant animated cartoonist Ann Telnaes has created the most biting graphical comment on Catholic hierarchs and children in the American media since “American Ganges.” I can’t embed it here–suffice to say that it employs the Nazi practice of tattooing i.d. numbers on the arms of concentration camp prisoners to devastating effect.

Nast’s cartoon was a good deal less than fair–it had to do with the hierarchy’s new (1870) commitment to create a parochial school system in the face of the ingrained Protestant biases of American public education. Telnaes’ cartoon is…well, you be the judge.