The article titled "Inquiry into the religiousness of superheroes: Was the Hulk really a Catholic?"
appears to have been inspired by the latest Superman film "Man of Steel,"
which has grossed more than $250 million at the US box office.
The official Vatican paper discussed the question of the "religiousness" of the superheroes with reference to a scene from the popular Batman comic that shows Batman's alter-ego Bruce Wayne saying his prayers as a boy by his bed, and another which shows the Hulk clutching rosary beads.
writer Gaetano Vallini, ponders the weighty question: "Is it enough for a person to have a rosary in his hand to be defined a Catholic?"
Apparently, Vallini would have rejected the claim that the Hulk is Catholic solely on the evidence of his carrying a rosary bead. His conviction that the Hulk is Catholic comes from other evidence dispersed among "hundreds" of Hulk comic strips. He writes
: "Bruce Banner, the incredible green man, in fact married his beloved Betty Ross in a church and a Catholic priest presided at the ceremony. There are other indications dispersed among the hundreds of comic strips dedicated to him that are said to unequivocally reveal his faith."
Similarly, evidence that Batman is a Catholic comes from the observation that Bruce Wayne's mother was Catholic.
Other superheroes leave us with no doubts about their religious faith. The X-Men superhero Kurt Wagner, alias Nightcrawler, confessed his faith in the 2003 film X-Men 2
The latest Superman movie, "Man of Steel,"
starring Henry Cavill, is being promoted, according to the Telegraph
, by Grace Hill Media
, a public relations firm that targets the Christian market. The movie, according to Vallini, raises the question of the religious identity of Clark Kent who appears to identify as Methodist.
reports that US churches have promoted the Superman film and encouraged Christians to see it. A review of the film published in L'Osservatore Romano
drew parallels between the character of Superman and Jesus Christ, based on the fact that Superman came from the "Heavens" to the "Earth" to help resolve the world's problems.
However, significant is the fact of the different approach to solving the world's problems that Superman takes. Jesus died peacefully on a cross while Superman engages evil with violence.
Reviewer Emilio Ranzato, however, assures Catholic readers that the Gospel According to Superman poses no threat to Christ's superior gospel.
which was founded 151 years ago, is dedicated to running editorials on more serious issues of Catholic theology and the Pope's official engagements. According to the Telegraph
, there has been an attempt since 2007 to cultivate a larger audience by writing on issues related to popular culture.
The Daily Mail
notes this is not the first time the paper has claimed a popular entertainment character as Catholic. In 2010, the paper described Homer Simpson as a "true Catholic."