CARICATURES OF CATHOLIC belief have been a staple of American life since
the Colonial period. Once upon a time, the cartoons were drawn and the
caricatures were promoted by Protestant bigots. That's rarely the case
anymore, except on the fringes of the religious fever swamps (and, to be
sure, among certain devout secularists). In an odd historical twist,
cartoon Catholicism and the crudest caricatures of Catholic belief are
often promoted today by Catholic political leaders. Boston Mayor Thomas
M. Menino is a case in point.