Papal visits to the U.S. create a series of rare opportunities. The Holy Father can speak directly to our elected officials about specific policies, while congressmen get to purloin the Pope’s grail. For actor and professional Bostonian Mark Wahlberg, the visit was a moment for the actor to ask forgiveness for his most egregious sin, the movie Ted.
According to USA Today, Wahlberg made the apology while emceeing performances at The World Meeting of Families, an annual event that is the wholesome, Catholic, pre-apocalyptic equivalent of Burning Man. After 14-year-old Bobby Hill (not this one) performed an opera solo, Wahlberg praised the boy for having the voice of an angel, but then confessed that Hill “whispered in my ear that he loved the movie Ted. And I told him that was not appropriate for a boy of his age.” At this point, Pope Francis grew visibly uncomfortable, obviously recognizing that adolescent boys are the only audience for Ted.
“Holy Father, please forgive me,” Wahlberg then joked, before adding, “I’ve always hoped that the Good Lord has a sense of humor, when it comes and pertains to many of the movies that I’ve made.” Considering the creative efforts that went into Transformers 4, and how much it made globally, it’s safe to say that the God has a commanding grasp of irony.
As a veteran actor and public persona with some noted skeletons in his closet, Wahlberg wisely avoided using the moment to apologize for assaulting two Vietnamese men or not using his powers to stop 9/11. Instead, he riffed on exchanging whispered confessions of inappropriate behavior with a boy. At least he didn’t claim that Hill loved Ted 2; some crimes are beyond forgiveness.