The current issue of the National Catholic Register has an interview with political cartoonist Jack Higgins of the Chicago Sun Times.
In the interview, Mr. Higgins, a past winner of the Pulitzer Prize, discusses his Catholic upbringing, homeschooling, the recent Notre Dame commencement scandal, and life as a Catholic cartoonist working at a major secular newspaper.
While hundreds of articles, essays, and comments were written in response to the recent Notre Dame controversy, none quite captured the reality of the scandal the way Mr. Higgin's cartoon did (picture above).
An excerpt from the interview:
What is it like working on the editorial staff of a secular newspaper?
The (editors) know I am traditional, and they accept it. They don’t seem to have a problem at all. It’s not like it was 20 years ago, when the editor of the paper would refer to me as “a good Catholic boy,” with the implication being that I am a bumpkin. I rode that out. For the most part, the paper has been good about what I do. They treat it like an opinion column. It is, after all, a signed piece of work.
How has your faith shaped your work as a political cartoonist?
It is what you are. From birth, it is how you are raised ... how you learn from your parents. There is no taking it apart one way or the other. In thinking about any topic, it’s like an examination of conscience before a confession. I was raised Catholic and raised by my parents to see things a certain way. I have certain beliefs that might influence me, about abortion, for example, and I don’t see how you can separate yourself.
One of your recent cartoons commented on the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama. How did you generate the idea for this cartoon?
It was one of those things I heard about and thought, “How could this be?” The university is more excited about advancing its name and putting its status in the university community above the core belief. The university is named after Our Lady, and it’s obvious that she doesn’t represent abortion, but motherhood.
If I see something so outrageously stupid or infuriating, or something that just gets my blood going, I start jotting down my ideas in the early hours of the morning. The image on the wall of the Notre Dame library is known as “Touchdown Jesus.” He is already getting eclipsed by football. And now, Jesus is getting ignored altogether in the most vile way. This is the university named after his mother. The visual for the cartoon came to me. The best cartoons need no explanation at all....Full Interview