Sell the Vatican!

by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca on October 19, 2009

Out of the mouths of comedians!

Seems that a Jewish comedian has ruffled the feathers of the Catholic church by telling the Pope in her HBO monologue (available on YouTube) that he should sell the Vatican, “move out of his house that is a city,” and give the money to feed the poor.

“On an ego level alone,” Sarah Silverman says in the video, “you will be the biggest hero in the history of ever! And by the way, any involvement in the Holocaust, bygones!”

“The bottom line is this, if you sell the Vatican and you take that money to feed every single human being on the planet, you will get crazy pussy, all the pussy, I don’t mean literally, that may not be your cup of tea, I don’t know what your version of all the pussy is (a drawing of a penis appears to her left), but you’ll get all the pussy.”

She pauses, “Amen.”

The Vatican declined to comment to the Associated Press, but the Catholic League released a statement that described Silverman’s monologue as a “filthy diatribe.” (They forgot to say “delightful.”)

The League also said that the “Catholic Church operates more hospitals and feeds more of the poor than any private institution in the world.”

The Rev. Jim Martin, who edits America, a Jesuit Magazine, had a slightly different take on the situation. He thought that Silverman might be barking up the right tree.

Admitting that the pope could not actually sell his “house that is a city,” because it technically belongs to all Catholics collectively, Martin said that “perhaps Ms. Silverman, in her postmodern, potty-mouthed way, is on to something. Like Jesus was. Sell the Vatican? Well, maybe not everything, but perhaps a statue or two?”

Martin noted that Jesus once told his disciplines to sell their belongings and give the money to the needy.

Silverman is onto something.

It’s not so much that the Vatican should sell all of its valuable land and possessions (though it’s a fun idea), but that the rich and powerful religion should use its tremendous influence to promote change that will make poor and working-class people self sufficient so that they don’t need charitable organizations.

As the Chinese saying goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Give a man or woman a living wage, guaranteed healthcare and affordable housing, and he doesn’t need Catholic Charities. Buy him back the land that was stolen from his ancestors by Catholic conquistadors and he won’t need a handout from one of the world’s richest religious leaders.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca is co-editor of Avanti Popolo: Italians Sailing Beyond Columbus, and editor of Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation, which has been nominated for an American Library Association award. His website is

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