Has wokism made its sensational entry into the Vatican? One would be tempted to believe it since the controversy created by the issuance of a stamp celebrating the next World Youth Day. Deemed “colonialist” by the information services of the Holy See, the design was quickly removed.
The stamp issued on May 16, 2023 by the Vatican Philatelic Service depicts the Pope leading a group of children up the Monument to Discoveries.
This monument was built in 1960 in Lisbon, Portugal, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of the Portuguese explorer Henry the Navigator who – let us recall in passing – opened the way to the evangelization of a whole part of the African continent.
In the stamp’s design, Pope Francis takes the place of Henry the Navigator at the bow of the ship. The artist’s idea was to present “a ship that guides young people and the Church towards the future.” Nothing really subversive...
Except that the time has come to deny anything that can, directly or indirectly, evoke the values of a Christian West hated by an amnesiac dominant way of thinking, steeped in “inclusiveness,” and which even has its followers within the Catholic hierarchy.
Thus, Bishop Carlos Moreira Azevedo, delegate of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, declared that the stamp was “in bad taste,” because, according to him it recalled Portugal's colonial past. Moreover, the Lisbon Monument was built under the presidency of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, a Catholic head of state who has fallen out of political favor.
For fear of a possible media outcry, the governorate of Vatican City retreated and withdrew the stamp, a decision justified by the press services of the Holy See, judging that the design recalled “a colonial past far removed from Pope Francis's message of universal brotherhood,” according to Vatican News.
It’s a dead loss for Vatican City, but this sequence steeped in wokism should still make people happy: the lucky collectors who were able to obtain the stamp in time, saw its value skyrocket on the auction sites since its retirement.
However, it appears that the stamp can still be ordered on the Vatican Philatelic site, which is attached to the Vatican City Governorate site (in Italian).