The Vatican is defending the storybook character Tintin against what it called “politically correct lunacy” after British stores pulled the book over concerns that it was racist.
“Tintin in the Congo” details the adventures of a young Belgian reporter who is described by the Vatican’s official newspaper as a “Catholic hero.” Steven Spielberg’s adaption of the character, “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn,” is due to open in American theatres in December.
L’Osservatore Romano published a front page story defending Tintin as “a hero of Catholicism” who was driven by a “sacred moral imperative – to save the innocent and conquer evil.”
But critics of the 1930’s children’s comic, said the book portrays Congolese people as infantile and stupid.
Some publishers have banned the book, while others have actually put warning labels on the cover.
The Vatican newspaper editorialized on the literary scuffle – arguing that the book should be taken in historical context.
“Tintin is a hero of Catholicism, imbued with the ideal of the scouts,” the editorial writers opined. “Tintin is a Western knight of modern times, an unstained heart in an invulnerable body. Tintin is now all alone in initiating children into the values of chivalry.”
In some instances, the book was moved to the adult section of bookstores.
The British Commission for Racial Equality told The Telegraph that the book “depicted hideous racial prejudice.”
“It’s political correctness gone mad,” said Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education in an interview with The Telegraph. “All these silly attempts at censorship do not do a lot of good.”
Tintin titles have sold more than 350 million copies in 80 different languages.