L'Osservatore Romano 'plays' with
the incredible similarity between the name of the Disney character
and that of
a noble ecclesiastical of the 1200s.
connection is there between Paperon de 'Paperoni (Scrooge McDuck), the
well-known Disney character, and the less famous (at least to most)
Paparone de Paperonibus, noble ecclesiastical of the thirteenth
century who lived during the pontificates of Pope Clement IV and Pope
Honorius IV, was appointed first bishop of Foligno, and then elected
bishop of Spoleto? The Holy See newspaper, L'Osservatore
Romano, compares the names and points out the 'anagramatic'
(and other) similarities between the fantasy billionaire conceived by
American cartoonist Carl Barks in 1947, and the man of the Church who
lived in Middle Ages, interviewing the Archbishop of Benevento Felice
Accrocca and the writer Dario Fertilio.
The genealogy is taken not from the famous comic "The Life and Times
of Scrooge McDuck," but from the much more authoritative 'Hierarchia
Catholica' by Konrad Eubel. Reports of a "Paparone" in the
Umbrian diocese, child of the rich Roman family of the Papareschi who
lived in the district of Trastevere in the first half of the twelfth
century, and are still present in the Capitoline streets. The priest
was then registered in the order of the Dominicans as coming from the
"de Paparonibus" or "de Paperonibus" family, and
subsequently is in the Archbishop's palace of Spoleto with the name of
Paparonus de Paparonis.
"He is found portrayed in the eighteenth-century portraits of the city
bishops in the archbishop's palace of Spoleto," explains Archbishop
Accrocca, where the priest is indicated by the name of Paparone de
Paparoni; and is said to have been moved, in 1285, by Pope Honorius
IV, from Foligno to Spoleto, and then died in 1290. The inscription
reads: "F. Paparonus de Paparonis Romanus, Ordinis Praedicatorum, year
MCCLXXXV ab Honorio IV and Fulginatensi ad hanc translatus, obyt a.
Guido Martina, the translator for publisher Mondadori of the stories
of the Disney characters whose American names were then "reinvented"
in Italian, may have been inspired by the name of the bishop. Mickey
Mouse became "Topolino," and Donald Duck became "Paperino." The more
influential citizen of Duckburg, Uncle Scrooge, who was inspired by
the stingy miser of Charles Dickens' novel 'A Christmas Carol,' became
"Zio Paperone" or "Paperon de' Paperoni" thanks to the medieval
erudition of his Italian translator.
"Who would have thought to say" - concludes the Archbishop of
Benevento - "to a friar and bishop of the thirteenth century that his
name would one day have served to solve far more problems than those
to which he was used, and that his memory would be fueled by Disney