Robot 6

Is the Hulk Catholic? Definitely, says the Vatican newspaper

incredible hulk319As Man of Steel, with its spiritual themes, soars toward a $590 million worldwide box-office haul, the Vatican’s official newspaper has turned its attention to the faiths of other prominent superheroes, asking in the headline, “Is the Hulk Catholic?”

The answer, according to L’Osservatore Romano writer Gaetano Vallini, is yes, and he points to the wedding of Bruce Banner and Betty Ross as the most concrete evidence of this. “Bruce Banner, the incredible green man, in fact married his beloved Betty Ross in a church and a Catholic priest presided at the ceremony,” he writes in the full-page article. “There are other indications dispersed among the hundreds of comic strips dedicated to him that are said to unequivocally reveal his faith.”

Of course, Adherents.com, the go-to source for the religious affiliations of comic-book characters (and other figures, both real and fictional), lists the Hulk as a lapsed Catholic, but the website appears preoccupied with the Ultimate and live-action TV versions of the character. A final determination may require Pope Francis to intercede.

Batman, too, is Catholic, Vallini determines, offering as proof that Bruce Wayne’s mother was Catholic and noting a sequence depicting the character as a young boy is depicted saying his prayers by his bed. Again, though, Adherents.com brings the writer’s finding into question. The website arrives at the conclusion that the Dark Knight is a lapsed Catholic or a lapsed Episcopalian, stating, “there is some disagreement among fans as well as among writers about whether the character is a mostly lapsed Catholic or a mostly lapsed Episcopalian. There is universal agreement that the character is not an active churchgoer in any faith.”

But there’s at least thing on which L’Osservatore Romano and Adherents.com can agree: Superman is definitely a Methodist.

In 2010, the newspaper declared Homer Simpson “a true Catholic.”

(via The Telegraph, Daily Mail)

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Comments

12 Comments

Cute. As a longtime Hulk reader and lifelong Catholic, I’d note that at least during Peter David’s run, Banner’s religious background was ambiguous. *Betty* was definitely a Catholic, as shown around issues #372-374, where Bruce discovered Betty (who thought Bruce dead at the time) living as a nun in a convent. This could go on to explain the apparently Catholic chaplain’s presence at Bruce and Betty’s wedding.

I think Banner’s religious affiliation has remained ambiguous. My recollection is that somewhere in the late #360s, Bruce expressed that as a scientist, he had no reason to believe in God, but he hoped one existed so he could make sense of his life. In #373, Bruce nearly misses reuniting with Betty after a long search for her and finds himself praying to God to get her back. Finally, at Rick and Marlo’s wedding in #418, the Hulk battles Mephisto and is apparently aware of God’s presence as stated by the minister (“We are gathered here in the sight of God….”) I’m not sure that any of this goes to show that Banner is a Catholic or even a believer, but there you go.

Who cares what their religious affiliation is? We only see these moments referenced very briefly. One can argue that they have little significance.

In Valini’s article, there is no mention of Batman. Are you citing a different article by the same author?

I always assumed Bruce was a Protestant, considering he was supposed to have family ties then went all the way back to the original colonists.

Bruce Wayne I mean

@Talmidge–

His family could have converted at some point. I’d like to see something concrete indicating that Bruce’s family religion is. I should note that any apparently-Catholic imagery associated with a character might equally be High Anglican/Episcopal. Their churches do tend to bear a strong resemblance to Catholicism, given the collars, stained glass, statues, big organs, and even rosaries. So, any imagery of Bruce doing something “Catholic” in nature could arguably be Episcopal as well, depending on what it was.

I remember being somewhat confused when I read Batman: Holy Terror as a kid, as Bruce Wayne appeared to be a Catholic priest in that story. If my understanding of things is correct, he was probably Episcopalian. (If I’m off there, somebody feel free to correct me.)

Simon DelMonte

July 8, 2013 at 9:31 am

Someone should ask Peter David, who has done a lot of interesting things with other characters’ faiths – Doc Samson as a Jew, Madrox’s Protestant minister dupe, and so on. Or maybe current Hulk writer Mark Waid, who didn’t shy away from the intersection of faith and heroics in Kingdom Come. Both, I am sure, have given this some thought.

Though given Bruce’s scientific bent and his occasional fatalism, is probably an atheist. Who really would like to tell God off if God exists, given his messed up life.

While there’s some slight possibility of variation depending on what region of the country Gotham is in, sociologically the Wayne family seems awfully likely to be high church Episcopalian. Catholicism in Gotham seems to be mostly Italian and (in Hitman) Irish.

Michael Liam Murphy

July 8, 2013 at 10:45 am

Although to judge by the maiden name of Martha Wayne given in recent issues, Batman’s mother may have been Jewish.

akkadiannumen

July 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Heh… And “civilians” mock comic book nerds when we debate comic book minutiae. I mean, doesn’t the Osservatore have more important things to discuss related to religion? Not to mention their conclusions are far from being rock-solid but are delivered like they are using terms like “unequivocally”. Forget that. Calling Homer Simpson “a true Catholic” is so mindboggingly wrong that it says all that needs to be said about their analytical skills of the religious choices of fictional characters. Freaking hilarious really. :D

You know what this means- Pope Hulk, Marvel’s new breakout series for 2014!

@Dean,

http://24.media.tumblr.com/eAjcQX6ADa3fidy3MQ0KoH3a_500.gif

If you can think of it, it’s on the internet.

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