Saturday, July 25, 2015

That New World Meeting on Families Postage Stamp

Talk about big carbon footprints

The Vatican just released its design for a postage stamp to commemorate the upcoming Eighth World Meeting on Families. Of course, the usual suspects (like me) are already snarking about it.

Three racially diverse sets of parents are standing on a globe in front of the Philadelphia skyline (predictably, there have been complaints that the white people are in the foreground). Note that the average number of children is 1.33, with the white parents being the only ones to have more than 1. One could argue that from an artistic perspective, more kids would probably make everyone fall off. Maybe that's the point.

There is debate as to who the blond fellow is on the left. He doesn't seem to belong to the darker skinned couple. Is he lost? To me he looks like a mischievous urchin who is picking the pocket of the colorful coiffed mom in the red dress. What is that in his hand? A stylized crucifix? A book? A jar holding "the good wine"? Perhaps he represents orphans.

Except for the very subtle allusion to the Holy Family and the presence of the Vatican coat of arms, the design is completely secular. Of course, it has that Happy People in the Barrio Mural look that became popular in the 1970's and unfortunately has never left us. There's one like it on the wall of my local McDonald's.

This is only the second time the Vatican has commemorated the Meeting with a stamp. Here is the one from three years ago. I guess families were a bit larger then:

And here are two Filipino stamps in honor of the Fourth Meeting in Manilla:

Compare the new Vatican stamp with three "family planning" stamps from various countries including the United States (yes, we had one):

Geez, even those stamps had an average of 2.67 kids.*

But if you want to see Christian children from diverse ethnicities, I like this one from 1969:

I think if you drew this in Canada today, you would get ten years in a re-education camp.

Please pray for the family.

*CORRECTION: It was pointed out to me that the faces on the Indian stamp were probably two parents and a kid, not three kids. That brings the "family planning average" down to 2.00. But that still beats FrancisChurch.


  1. Is the writer here being serious? He sounds more like a conspiracy theorist than a simple reporter. I really doubt there is anything even subliminally sinister about the stamp. It's called "ART" -- saying what needs to be said in simplest of terms.

    There is so much wrong with our world that to focus our attention on possible meanings inherent in these stamps is a waste of precious time and energy.

    1. I disagree. No one puts time and energy into designing a stamp without seriously considering the message they are trying to convey. Just as they do with advertising, with films, with magazine covers. That message will be "read" by the thousands of eyes that see the stamp, and contribute to their worldview. It is a valid and important area of study and comment.

    2. There is no such thing as a conspiracy.

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