Alberto

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» January 10, 2024
Not Another Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios

Cover

Alberto - Comic #013 (C12)
Art by Fred Carter - © 1979 Chick Publications

"Alberto" is one of the more infamous characters Jack Chick has associated with in his career. An alleged ex-Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera's primary claim to fame was his assertions that the Jesuits (and by extension, the Vatican) was responsible for every conspiracy theory ever put forward on any subject. Along with creating Islam and covertly infiltrating and destroying Protestant churches, Alberto used the echo chamber of Jack Chick's comic audiences to espouse his beliefs until his death from cancer. Even his death was supposed to have been a Catholic plot to silence Mr, Rivera from proclaiming the "truth"of their plans. You can decide the voracity of these claims for yourselves.Alberto


First Published: July 7th, 2015


Part 1

CommentatorsCommentators

  Jessica   Sean  

Jessica

 

Sean

 

Page Index
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Commentators Jessica Andrew

o Introduction

SeanSean Well, it was about time we took a shot at this one. If there was ever a poster child for the crazy Evangelical conspiracy nut bags, it would be the late Alberto Rivera. Most of Jack Chick's own wacko theories surrounding the Catholic church can be traced back to Alberto. As he would have you believe, he was a former member of the most exclusive branch of the Vatican, which has been the driving force for, among other things; The Nazis, Communism, Jonestown, Economic recession, the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, and even Islam. No, this is not a joke. His life story is an earth shattering expose as to the Jesuit conspiracy, and how he was forced to flee and live his life on the lam, or at least it would be if any of this was true. If you thought Tim Todd's autobiography was full of shit, you haven't seen anything yet.

 

oPage 1

Page 1
 
SeanSean Redundant dialogue much? I get that we need exposition to inform the audience, but this is so forced and awkward I'm surprised it isn't narrated by Harrison Ford.
   
JessicaJessica "Based on a true story," huh? Riiiiiiight.

 

o Page 2

Page 2
 
JessicaJessica Apparently Alberto was baptized by Kung Lao wearing Morpheus' trenchcoat.
   
SeanSean "I don't understand!" Gee, you think maybe your son is only 7 years old and you're already committing him to a life of the cloth? Just a suggestion, but have you thought about letting him enjoy being a kid for a few more years before he decides on a career for himself?
   
JessicaJessica His mother is pretty severe looking. Especially considering the next time we see her she's on her death bed.

 

o Page 3

Page 3
 
SeanSean OH NO!! *Laughs* oh God, Alberto's face there... there are moments where this job makes itself worthwhile.
   
JessicaJessica Those curly locks of his always make me think of Little Lord Fauntleroy for some reason.

Or maybe one of the lost Stooges.

 

o Page 4

Page 4
 
SeanSean "Look Alberto, there's a time and place for you get on your knees before me, but right now your mother needs you!" *Ahem*
   
JessicaJessica I'm just going to leave this here...

 

o Page 5

Page 5
 
SeanSean "Lift up your face and look at me", "Vow of Obedience", asking permission to see his family, and a surprising amount of makeup on a 9 year old (Seriously, the kid's rocking mascara, blush, and lip liner)  I'd say this is Fred Carter's repressed urges leaking through again, but given Chick Ministries' boundless hatred of Catholicism (as well as further allusions to the infamous Catholic practice) I'm pretty sure this was intentional.
   
JessicaJessica I'm hoping that is a tear on his face and... not... ahem.

 

o Page 6

Page 6
 
SeanSean Y'know, I get we commonly associate Spain with this sort of Renaissance Era aristocracy... but surely Alberto would have been able to tell them that those fashion trends died out by 1944. Seriously, that dress belongs in a period drama.
   
JessicaJessica The goofy getup is probably more due to the Catholic thing than the Spanish thing when you get right down to it.

...it is also frightening that I am beginning to understand how Chick's mind works.

QUICK!!!! Someone shoot me in the head before I begin to consume the flesh of the living!!!

 

o Page 7

Page 7
 
SeanSean Speaking of strange attire... I've noticed that no one is wearing black during his mother's final hours. Guess we can add "No respect for the dead" to the list of Catholic atrocities.
   
JessicaJessica Hey can't possibly make themselves gaudy enough wearing black. Actually, I think there are terms for that.

Alberto's dad looks a little like John Astin... or Luigi by way of Danny Wells.

 

o Page 8

Page 8
 
JessicaJessica What exactly is it that she is dying from? She looks pretty healthy and seems pretty lucid to me.
   
SeanSean A whole panel of completely redundant dialogue that could be easily summed up with: "Alberto, I'm scared to die! Pray for me!"
   
JessicaJessica Fear of death is also a pretty natural occurrence for people. It doesn't have to have anything to do with religion or some supernatural cause to worry her like this.

 

o Page 9

Page 9
 
SeanSean The Pope took the time to visit her!? Just who are the Riveras anyways?
   
JessicaJessica Jack Chick only trucks with the highest profile nut bags.

What is wrong with that priest's face? He looks like Mumbles from Dick Tracy or something.

 

o Page 10

Page 10
 
SeanSean Here we see a common fallacy that many fundies use to justify their faiths: The Near Death Experience Fallacy, which basically amounts to "I had a near-death experience where I saw Heaven/Hell." Though usually they use second or third hand accounts rather than their own. There are a number of reasons why this doesn't work, so I'm just going to stick to the two main flaws. Firstly, we have a number of explanations as to the phenomena one experiences in these situations. Most of the signs point to a sort of coping mechanism triggered by our brains to ease our psyche as we pass away. Now of course, there is the possibility that it really is a spiritual event that just provokes this sort of reactions from the meat brain. But this leads to the second fault with the fallacy; a lack of consistency in the testimonies. We've had many people go through NDE throughout the years, and their accounts range from the traditional depictions of Hell/Heaven, Lucid dreams akin to acid trips, absolute nothingness and everything in between. This results in a sort of selective account cherry picking, where they use events like the late Mrs. Rivera's experience to justify their own beliefs as it coincides with them, but when other people go through the same process with a different experience, say... the Egyptian afterlife, they'll venomously state that this was not actual death and cite the more secular explanations despite completely disregarding it when it applies to their own dogma.

Of course, this assumes that Alberto's mother really did go through something like this. Given Alberto's.... shall we say, questionable credibility, we have every reason to doubt that this ever happened.
   
JessicaJessica Most people seem to have serious problems accepting that they are little more than chemical patterns in meat. Unfortunately for humanity as a whole, this leads them to make up gods and devils, and to mistake simple phenomena (like a lack of oxygen to the brain causing bizarre alterations of consciousness) to be ironclad proof of an "afterlife" where a particular mythological deity will judge your earthly needs and consign you to either eternal paradise or eternal torment.

And again, WHAT did she die of? Get-the-bitch-out-of-the-plot-itis? She has this sort of death rictus in the bottom panel but for the life of me I can't tell what kind of disease she had aside from the obvious anxiety and paranoia. StrokeCerebral infarct? What?!?!?!?

 

o Page 11

Page 11
 
SeanSean Uh... no, that's not how it works in Catholicism. While Priests are granted the special privileges to perform mass and absolve sin (amongst others) they are not considered to be Christ, or even remotely Christ-like, it just means that they are granted the authority to carry out certain acts that Jesus (allegedly) did. Not that we didn't expect Chick or Alberto to just make shit up about the Catholic Church... but this is just ridiculous. Ten bucks says that's just the tip of the iceberg.
   
JessicaJessica "You're not my REAL dad! My real dad would let me stay up and eat all the ice cream I wanted!"
   
SeanSean Snap into a Slim Jim!! Oh come on, like I'm the only one who thought of that when I saw the second panel.
   
JessicaJessica Poor Macho Man Randy SavageHe split Hell wide open.

What is it he's snapping there if it isn't a Slim Jim? Some sort of "Jesuit stick?"

 

o Page 12

Page 12
 
SeanSean First things first Alberto, try to find the assholes who splattered all that paint on your mother's grave.
   
JessicaJessica Come on, Fred. At least try to make some recognizable shapes with your colors. So far I've mostly commented on nothing but your shit art style.

Did did he care about his mother or not? First he didn't want to leave his mother for school. Then, back up in (the infamous) Panel 4 he didn't seem to give two shits about her and didn't want to leave school. Now he's all heartbroken that she died? Make up your mind, dude.

 

o Page 13

Page 13
 
SeanSean So now the Crusaders have shown up, guess it's a regular rogue's gallery of Chick's iconic characters. Any minute now I expect to see Bob WilliamsLil' Suzy and Fang.
   
JessicaJessica Yep. The Ambiguously Gay Duo have marched on the scene. Who's this suave mofo Tim is talking to in the first panel though? He looks like an extra from Miami Vice.
   
SeanSean Do I even want to know what Tim was doing with that Screwdriver?
   
JessicaJessica Wait, now they're Glenco "Electronics"? In Exorcists they were Glenco International and seemed to be in the interior decorating trade. Maybe Jack realized that was just a tad too spot on for Tim and Jim here.

 

o Page 14

Page 14
 
SeanSean Chalk up another lie. There is no Academic record of Alberto Rivera receiving a Doctorate anywhere.
   
JessicaJessica Alberto is a special person, all right. As in "short bus" special.

 

o Page 15

Page 15
 
SeanSean Tim and Jim are living together. I'm not saying anything, but I think we all know what's going on here by now.
   
JessicaJessica Nice Ray Bans, Crockett.

With that chiseled jaw of his it's no wonder Jim and Tim are close personal friends with the guy, if you know what I'm saying.

...butt sex. What I am saying is butt sex.
   
SeanSean I know we shouldn't buy into conspiracy theories without any sort of proof... but I think Alberto's being accompanied by the Men in Black.

 

o Page 16

Page 16
 
SeanSean "I was a Jesuit priest and a bishop".

Funny, according to the Spanish Government you were a Con Artist with a knack for writing bad checks.
   
JessicaJessica This kind of smacks of Will Schnoebelen and his Mason/Catholic/Vampire/Satanist narrative.

 

o Page 17

Page 17
 
SeanSean If the Jesuits had as much power as you claim Alberto, we'd be seeing a lot more Catholic Theocracies in the world. Funny how you'll jump on any bandwagon where the Vatican can be vilified and accused, but the second someone mentions the seedy business dealings between the banks & finance industries and our politicians.... Just saying, I'm more scared of the Koch Brothers than I am Pope Francis.
   
JessicaJessica I used to work for a Catholic college that was situated right next door to a Jesuit college. While ours was run down and broke the Jesuits had new technology, new buildings and tons of resources for their students. Maybe it's due to them being so deep in this conspiracy but they certainly know how to treat their people, I'll give them that.

 

o Page 18

Page 18
 
SeanSean The Pope doesn't run the-... Citation needed please.
   
JessicaJessica "Please call me Alberto."

"OK... you can call me 'Oh GOD!!!'"

 

o Page 19

Page 19
 
SeanSean "You mean he is a black man?" "No James, he's white, he's just dressed in black."

I dunno, there's just something... off about that exchange there.
   
JessicaJessica Perhaps it has something to do with Chick making his African-American character come off like an imbecile of biblical proportions.

Yeah, the Catholic Church electing a person of African decent to the pontificate. I can totally see that happening.

 

o Page 20

Page 20
 
SeanSean We know Alberto, you spent the first 12 pages of this dang book showing us that!! Not everyone who reads these comics is a gibbering idiot you know, I think we can remember what we read 5 minutes ago!
   
JessicaJessica And once again, a religious tract gives me the best band name I could think up: Christless Eternity.

 

o Page 21

Page 21
 
SeanSean Nice allusions with the imagery there. Get it?? The gay priest is the one in pink!
   
JessicaJessica And quite ample to boot. I wonder if he will grow up to be a bear.

"You stay here, Alberto. Now it's my turn. SPANK ME!!!"

 

o Page 22

Page 22
 
SeanSean "Get on your knees Alberto!" Wait, I forget. Are we being euphemistic about the Catholic molestation thing or not?
   
JessicaJessica Oh come the fuck on! There is no way this scenario would play out like this. I'm calling shenanigans on you, Mr. Rivera!

 

o Page 23

Page 23
 
SeanSean Oh hey, a legitimate claim about Catholicism! I wasn't expecting that!
   
JessicaJessica Gay love is God's love? Somehow I doubt the Catholics actually believe that.

It also seems like the Christian characters admit how unrealistic abstinence is but push nothing else in their educational demands. What side is Chick on?

 

o Page 24

Page 24
 
SeanSean Oof. This is a tricky one. While I haven't been able to dig up any evidence of mass graves for infants being discovered in Seville and Madrid during the 1930's, I DID find evidence of a kidnapping and human trafficking conspiracy within the Spanish Catholic Church. However, this isn't the quite the same thing, as it was more of a political act under the Franco regime, which granted privileges to the more loyal citizens. You ever think that maybe it was the corrupt government that influenced the Spanish Church and not the other way around Alberto?
   
JessicaJessica Tim says "I've heard some old wive's tales..." and Alberto just perks right up. This one is going to just do all the work for you, Al.

Yep, seems all of the references to these skeletons cite this comic as the source for their claims. They found close to 800 child skeletons below a home for unmarried mothers in Tuam, Ireland, but those deaths were mostly due to malnutrition and disease, not suffocation.

 

o Page 25

Page 25
 
SeanSean Well...no, it really wouldn't destroy the Church if they were to revoke the celibacy laws. Sure, it would be a radical change that may bring about controversy, but it wouldn't collapse the system like that. After all, the Eastern Catholic branch does not practice celibacy and still pays tribute to the Holy Father.
   
JessicaJessica I'm sure the Episcopalians would pick up the slack. They seems to be pretty laid back. And they totally don't go for the whole celibacy thing, already. They also don't mind women or gay people and shy aware from all that stodgy Latin crap. So go figure.

 

o Page 26

Page 26
 
SeanSean "God granted the Pope the Divine right on Earth to secretly control the population of every country through education, politics, economics, and military might."

Which is why the biggest superpowers of the Medieval era were the Arabic and Chinese empires. Then again, Alberto blames the Jesuits for Islam too (Again, not a joke).
   
JessicaJessica Getting chewed out by a teacher is being "almost destroyed?" Alberto must be seriously emotionally fragile.

 

o Page 27

Page 27
 
SeanSean Well Alberto, that's because "Peter" is a moniker that did not exist in the early days of Christianity. Simon's original nickname was the Aramaic "Cepha", which really does mean "Rock". This was localized to the Greek "Petros" and the Latin "Petrus", which as time went on became "Peter". As for the "Satan" quote, the context of the previous passage features Peter telling Jesus that he's worried about this idea, causing Jesus to snap at him. I'd like to say I'm a robust scholar when it comes to literature and mythology... but these arguments are pretty darn old, since debates on this passage have been occurring since the 5th century so I'm pretty sure a high-ranking Vatican educator would be well versed in them. But of course, we can't expect a rational debate from a Chick comic, so we get the usual angry strawman.
   
JessicaJessica Is there really anyone who needs to be told the definition of a heretic in a footnote? Seriously.

 

o Page 28

Page 28
 
SeanSean Funny. Most of the Catholics I've spoken to either calmly explain their stances or shrug and admit they're not an expert on the subject and just have faith. I can't say I've ever encountered one who tells me that I'm asking dangerous questions. Well, unless the questions are about the annual Choir Boy retreat.
   
JessicaJessica Isn't this the same "rector" who got all up in Alberto's shit for not letting the kid in the pink nightgown get all jiggy with him? Was he doing that because he thought that not to would be dangerous as well?

 

o Page 29

Page 29
 
SeanSean Actually Alberto, that's not true. There is no concrete evidence to suggest reading in the dark like that ruins your eyes. You just have shitty eyesight.
   
JessicaJessica Can't expect them to have any basic scientific knowledge, you know.

Speaking of shitty eyesight, why does Fred Carter constantly draw Alberto to look like Gilbert Gottfried high on weed?

 

o Page 30

Page 30
 
SeanSean Why are there two bodies under the covers?
   
JessicaJessica Yeah, what the hell is he doing under there. And "gulp"? Shocking indeed.

And now he hates Protestants. Make up your damn mind your flip-flopping bastard!

 

o Further Reading