Mexican Catholic Church goes wackadoodle

Timothy Kincaid

August 18th, 2010

The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico is going wackadoodle in a way seldom seen outside the circus (or some of the US’ more colorful anti-gay activists).

Last Sunday, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara accused the mayor of Mexico City of bribing the nation’s Supreme Court to find that Mexico City’s marriage equality law did not violate the constitution. Although the Supreme Court unanimously censured his statements, rather than distance themselves from such extremism the rest of the Church hierarchy jumped onboard for a ride on the Wackadoodle Train.

And now Cardinal Iniguez is claiming “proof”. (LA Times)

Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of Mexico City on Wednesday filed a civil suit claiming defamation against Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara, upping the ante in a high-profile political spat over gay marriage in Mexico that pits emboldened secular institutions against the country’s influential Roman Catholic clergy.

Church authorities were not backing down. Sandoval said Monday he would not retract his comments, and the archdiocese in Guadalajara later said it had proof of the allegations against the Supreme Court justices. Statements in support were issued from the archdiocese in Mexico City, while the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico also said it supports Sandoval.

Now, this is Mexico; anything is possible. But considering that the Bishops also declared same sex marriage to be worse than narcotrafficking, I’m not much inclined to think that they will be able to prove their case.


August 18th, 2010

Come on, that outfit is FLAMING! What’s with the c***rings?

Timothy Kincaid

August 18th, 2010

mjc… disclosure: I “clowned up” his clothes a little bit to make them more wackadoodle. It was just a nice matching orange ensemble.


August 18th, 2010

hahaha thanks, Tim!!

Bruno Kravitz

August 18th, 2010

well as long as you’re doctoring up the picture, you forgot the red clown nose…

Mario Marin

August 18th, 2010

Hahahaha, yeah “everything” can happen on Mexico. But trust me on this one… this is most about Cardinal Iniguez inability to accept that the word FAMILY in the constitution DOES also mean families led by gay parents. He rathers see a big conspirancy to justify what to him just cannot be happening in “Always faithful Mexico”.

Don’t hold your breath for the “proof” on this one, but do tune in for the soap opera now that he is getting sued.


August 19th, 2010


You did a WAY better job doctoring that photo than those BP guys did with their “command center” pic.

This really ought to be an interesting test of that hypothesis that once most people form their opinions, contradictory evidence only entrenches those opinions more. I’d like to see someone poll followers of this bishop now and after the kerfuffle.

John Doucette

August 19th, 2010

Anybody have any idea how the Pope views these crazy comments?

This reminds me of “How to win friends and influence people.” Not the way to do it.


August 19th, 2010

THIS is exactly what we can expect in the prop 8 case in the run-up to the Supreme Court, except it will be Bishop Harry Jackson leading the Hatred Parade, or maybe it will be Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.


August 19th, 2010

Is the Church really this stupid? I don’t know what to think.


August 19th, 2010


You’re a journalist?

Not anymore. You alter a photojournalist’s work, present it to your readers as if it were the real thing, and only later admit you’ve altered it. And then giggle about it.

REAL journalists are fired instantly for such behavior. And for good reason: There’s no such thing as a small joke when you’re altering news; credibility dies when reporters tamper with the facts.

Seriously, what makes you any different, now, from Andrew Breitbart and his altered videotapes?


August 19th, 2010

Soren, I think the alteration was intended to be self-evident satire without any more need for a “NOTE: PICTURE HAS BEEN ALTERED” disclaimer than Tom Toles’ political cartoons. I think the worst you can fairly accuse Mr. Kincaid of in this context is poor judgment on the self-evidence of the alteration.

For what it’s worth, I think the alteration is self-evident. Cardinals obviously don’t dress up in polka dots.

Timothy Kincaid

August 19th, 2010

OK, I made it more evident.

Timothy Kincaid

August 19th, 2010


No. Why on earth would you think I’m a journalist?

John in the Bay Area

August 19th, 2010

On NPR the other day, they said that a person is murdered in Juarez every 3 hours.

The cardinal is more worried about people who love each other, than those who would gun each other down in the streets.

I remember a song from when I used to go to Catholic Church. The main lyric was: You will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, you’ll know we are Christians by our love.

I guess not so much.

Scott P.

August 19th, 2010

Hahahahaha! Love the nose!


August 19th, 2010

“goes wackadoodle” implies that they are moving in a direction different than before.

I believe, “continues to go…” or “goes even more…” or “goes batsh!t wackadoodle” would be more accurate.


August 19th, 2010

Actually, if I were a clown, I believe I would take great offense to the implication of the altered photo.

Clowns are good people who don’t deserve to be associated in any way with hateful crazy people who like to dress up as fancy bedazzled penises (what’s with the penis head hats that the Bishops wear?) while pontificating about sexual morality.

Mario Marin

August 19th, 2010

Well, yeah, “everything” can happen in Mexico, but I assure you this one has more to do with Cardinal Iñiguez inhability to think that the word family in Mexico’s Constitution can mean a family led by gay parents too. He rathers see a big conspirancy.

Meanwhile, let the soap opera being not that the cardinal is being sued.


August 19th, 2010

@ John in the Bay Area,

“You will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, you’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Wow, I was Lutheran as a kid, and we sang that song too!

“And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.” (a line from verse 1)

Jake (soon to be returning to the Bay Area!)


August 19th, 2010

I think the portrait is now FAR more accurate.

Priya Lynn

August 19th, 2010

Pender said “For what it’s worth, I think the alteration is self-evident. Cardinals obviously don’t dress up in polka dots.”.

It wasn’t apparent to me that the original picture was altered. I thought that was the way he was really dressed and I’m a former Catholic. I find the picture more acceptable now that its clearly an alteration. After Timothy mentioned his original alteration I thought it had been misleading.


August 19th, 2010

Boy you guys have a bad eye for Photoshopping.. Well.. I’m sure Tim didn’t even use Photoshop on that pic.

That said, the title of this post is “Mexican Catholic Church goes wackadoodle” and anyone who fancies themselves a journalist wouldn’t use such a silly headline either.


August 19th, 2010

Clown nose needs enlarged.

MIhangel apYrs

August 19th, 2010

Suddenly, everyone’s a critic (Zoiberger’s voice)

The Lauderdale

August 20th, 2010

I have to admit, I didn’t realize the robes were photo-shopped either. I’m willing to jot that down as my own poor eye for photo-shopping, plus the orange was already such a garish color (to my eyes. No offense intended to the Catholic ministry on that score – I may have issues with them on other matters, but color schemes aren’t evil in and of themselves and our responses to color schemes are so culturally influenced anyway…)


August 20th, 2010


My error; I should not mistake you for a journalist (notwithstanding that you seem often to pose as one). My error, because no ethical reporter would alter an original document and post it as truth, which is what you did.

And in the doing, you yanked the rug from beneath your credibility, and the credibility of this site and all the others who write for the site; now, whatever you post will come with a small question mark attached.

Not knowing journalistic ethics, and so not bound by them, you will be puzzled by what I’ve just said. You might even wonder why this “credibility” thing would be so important to your readers. That would be too bad, for all of us.

Yes, you fooled me. Like Priya and Lauderdale above, I thought the photo (pre funny hair and red nose) was real. I went by it several times and wondered what sort of vestment it was.

As a former Episcopalian, I’m aware of with-it liturgical modernity (potato chips and Coke at campus Eucharist, anyone?), and also aware of the liturgical year; I wondered what season he was in and what the circles represented. And believe me, a garish vestment seemed entirely plausible in a country that lights its beautiful churches with fluorescent tubes (I’ve seen them).

You’re lucky that you don’t work for a genuine journalistic enterprise. I guarantee that had you pulled this stunt there, you’d have been handed your final paycheck, your effects in a box, and been escorted out of the building.

There are (true) stories to that effect; of typesetters fired on the spot after inserting “Mickey Mouse” into interminable lists of graduation names; of A.J. Leibling fired from the NYT for altering the minutiae of high school box scores. Credibility is that important to any news organization.

Seriously, Dude, you don’t alter original documents and post them without notice of the alteration. It’s that simple and it’s that important.

I’d guess that this seems all pursey-lipped and finger waggy to you. That’s your choice, if so. But readers of this blog, and of the other writers on this blog, have a right to expect veracity and everything else that trails that expectation. You’ve just thrown a question mark into the whole equation.

Timothy Kincaid

August 20th, 2010


I “presented it” at 4:20 on the 18th. I “only later admitted” that I’d clowned up the clothes at 5:02 of the same day. (PDT)

You came along around 11:41 on the 19th and “wondered what season he was in and what the circles represented”. So yeah, I guess I “fooled you”… until you got to the very first two comments.

At which point you decided that I was “no longer a journalist” and had “yanked the rug from beneath your credibility, and the credibility of this site and all the others who write for the site” and perhaps all of the blogosphere as well.

Seriously, Dude, this is a friggin blog site. We don’t deceive people on purpose but we don’t have fact checkers or an editorial staff to say, “hey, your clown parody isn’t obvious.” If we make errors – and we do – we try to fix them. But we don’t hold ourselves out to be the rival of the NY Times.

I thought it was clear that the Cardinal didn’t really go around dressed in clown clothes. But as soon as I learned that the first person was confused, I clarified. And when I got back on the site the next morning and found out that it still wasn’t clear, I added the nose and hair.

It’s all part of my wackadoodle theme… a clown theme which I’ve been using since March including an earlier “clowning up” of Maggie Gallagher. But I guess I didn’t make it clear enough this time. My error.

If this now makes you question everything you read here… what can I say? Other than that maybe it’s kind of a good thing to do that with everything you read on a blog site. Including Box Turtle Bulletin.


August 20th, 2010

I’m also curious as to the reaction of the Vatican. His Popeness is pretty quick to condemn Catholic clergy that he sees as taking liberties with his definitions of Catholic policy and dogma; I wonder if he’s as sensitive to activities that make them look looney-tunes? If he’s concerned about protecting the dignity and respectability of the Catholic faith, he needs to put the smackdown on the Mexican cardinal. I mean, jeez…these are the guys that PICK the next Pope! If they can’t tell the difference in “threat to society” points between gay marriage and narcotraffickers with guns mowing down civilians, they need to tighten up their foil helmets under the penis hats, cuz the aliens are totally getting to them!

Ben in Oakland

August 21st, 2010

Please. Even I could see the alterations were satire, and Im and atheist.


August 21st, 2010

Catholic interference in official government business is a serious crime in Mexico. These two need to have a nice long stay in Mexican prison.

Jason D

August 21st, 2010

I have to admit the circles were subtle enough that they didn’t look shopped. I’m on an older monitor at work, so things like that don’t just out as fake at first. BTB doesn’t often use satire in the photographs accompanying a story — I should say, they don’t often use altered photographs for satire. At least not compared to other sites.

I wasn’t “shocked” though, as I tend to read comments before I post any.

The thing about blogs is that the discussion often reveals things that aren’t apparent or happen to be missing from the original post. Here and elsewhere I’ve seen bloggers pull a comment up into the story because it furthers a point or adds new insight. There is often a lag between something revealed in the comments and getting added to the main story.

It is a rather organic medium, which is often an asset.

I guess the lesson to Timothy is that he’s a little too good at subtle/believable photoshopping. You’ll have to exaggerate from now on so the masses aren’t fooled so easily!


August 22nd, 2010

The photo is obviously photoshopped – I don’t get this controversy.

There is something else brewing here – if Cardinal Iniguez has proof that undue influence was used in a judicial process, he has the obligation to report that not to the press, but to a federal prosecutor.

Cardinal Iniguez is already being sued for defamation – and it doesn’t seem improbable that Ebrard (who is Jewish and lives smack in the middle of Condesa, one of the DF’s gayest neighborhoods) will win his case. But he could also find himself being investigated and even prosecuted for withholding evidence or obstruction of justice.

This case could become far juicier than we imagine. It’s not just a case of mud slinging – given the allegations that the Cardinal has made, he may find himself an unintentional party in a criminal investigation.

I would not want to be the Cardinal right now. He may resort to the clowned-up outfit as a means of escaping Mexico. Maybe he’ll join Salinas de Gortari in Dublin?

Priya Lynn

August 22nd, 2010

So the original modifications to the photo were obvious to some, they also weren’t obvious to others, that’s reality. Either way I don’t think its a big issue, I found it a little misleading but certainly not something that thows any real question marks on the blog.


August 22nd, 2010


I stick with what I said.

Blog or no blog, you’re in a journalist’s role here, and no ethical journalist alters an original document, period. It should never cross his mind to do so. That is my point.

As for “fact-checking” (if you even understand what the term means), that is your own responsibility. That you clearly don’t appreciate the ethics of the enterprise in which you’re engaged is troubling.

Standards of veracity are more elastic for a blogger? A sickening thought. Considering the prevarication and outright manufacture of “fact” so frequent in the media now–most particularly in the very blogs and outlets on which you report here–that you would join the game is unsettling. Where does it stop? Seriously, Dude, where does it stop?

I’m not sorry to annoy you about this, but I am sorry that all you take from it is annoyance.

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