Cartoon a cheap shot

On Friday, Sept. 19, a cartoon was printed making light of the recent arrest of Father Christopher Layden, a Catholic priest, on charges of cocaine possession with intent to distribute. This has been a sad incident to all those who have worked, lived and worshiped at St. John’s Catholic Newman Center. It is always shocking when a public figure is arrested and the public scandal is greater when it is a priest or pastor.

To those in the Newman community it was expected that local media would report the story. It was even expected that some people would mock and ridicule.

Mockery and shallow attempts at humiliation, though expected, only bring pain and suffering to an already tragic situation. The cartoon depicting a priest giving a penance that includes, “three lines,” is simply a cheap shot aimed at a person, community and Church that is working to move forward.

Why publish this cartoon? Could the staff at The Daily Illini not find something a bit more intellectually stimulating than this juvenile attempt at cleverness?

More disturbing than the cartoon’s lack of wit, or substance, is the compulsion in the media to take every opportunity to mock that which is sacred. Granted, it is a circular problem. Society has an insatiable thirst for drama, gossip and scandal which drives the media with its insatiable thirst for profit to feed the public what it wants.

The arrest of a Catholic priest on drug charges is newsworthy. But when facts and information are left out to make room for ridicule and malice, it stops being news (or worthy opinion articles) and becomes gossipy entertainment of the worst kind.

The student newspaper at the University of Illinois should be better than this. Its readers certainly deserve better than this.