The movie “Saving Silverman” opened nationally. The movie included a character who “is training to be a nun.” The would-be nun is “subjected to all manner of sexual embarrassment and displayed in various stages of PG-13 acceptable undress.” Vulgar nun jokes were included. The New York Post reviewer blasted the movie for being “misogynous and homophobic,” but did not mention the Catholic bashing.
Santa Barbara, CA – In a piece on Variety’s website, the movie “Amy’s Orgasm” was introduced. The movie won the Audience Award at a Santa Barbara preview. In the movie, Amy, who is Jewish, goes to a Catholic priest for confession. According to the review, “she finds a sympathetic priest, who is conflicted himself.” The confession scenes occur throughout the movie, where “Amy” spills out “her innermost fantasies and thoughts.”
The movie “The Body” is about the supposed finding of the bones of Jesus. As the Los Angeles Times commented, the film “makes an array of Catholics, Jews and Arabs look bad.”
The movie “A Question of Faith,” that the Chicago Sun-Times called “a pointless debacle,” is about a monk who engages in sex with a vision of the Archangel Gabriel, and then becomes a pregnant woman.
The movie “One Night at McCool’s” features a fidgeting, drooling, sexually repressed priest who loves to hear graphic sexual conversations. In one scene, the wafers are thrown out of a ciborium and the priest pours whiskey into it to take a drink. Jonathan Foreman of the New York Post, commenting on the priest character, saw it as “yet another cheap Hollywood jibe at the expense of the Catholic Church.”
The BBC-produced movie “A Love Divided” opened in a limited number of theaters. It is based on an allegedly true story about a Protestant woman, married to a Catholic, who brings her children up Protestant in Ireland in the 1950s after pledging to bring them up Catholic. As the story goes, when a local priest objects, the woman flees to Northern Ireland. Irish bishops then join a boycott of all Protestant goods and services and a national uproar follows.
Our objection was to the one-sided negative portrait of Catholicism; it feeds an anti-Catholic stereotyp. Stephen Whitney of the Newark Star-Ledger said, “It rather strenuously portrays the Catholic Church and the Republic of Ireland as a haven for bigots and bullies.”
New York, NY – A film called “Mr. Christie” was featured at the Pioneer Theatre in the East Village. The plot involves a homosexual man visited by Jesus. There are various scenes involving the gay man, his boyfriend and Jesus, including a scene where the Jesus figure surprises the gay man in a bathtub and changes the water into wine.
The movie “Liam” opened in select theaters. It is the story of a Depression-era Liverpool family seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old boy. Several Catholic elements were negatively portrayed. For example, there was the dreary tale of Liam’s experience preparing for First Communion. The way the school was portrayed is also noteworthy. Liam learns just how filthy children’s souls are. He learns this from his teachers, as well as from the parish priest. The priest, a quintessential bully, bombards the kids with horrific sermons on Hell, effectively bestowing them with fear and guilt.
“Liam” was written by Jimmy McGovern; the distributor was Lions Gate; and the producer was the BBC. McGovern previously wrote the anti-Catholic movie, “Priest”; Lions Gate previously released the anti-Catholic film, “Dogma”; and the BBC has produced more anti-Catholic flicks than any other company (it was also responsible for “Priest”).
“Megiddo: The Omega Code 2” opened after a two-week delay due to the terrorist attack of September 11. The plot is about Armageddon with events based on the Book of Revelations. Brought to the brink of destruction by a dictator who fights a worldwide coalition led by the U.S., the film is set in New York City and ends with a man being buried alive under rubble and debris. The film suggests that the antichrist and his priest companion are Catholic. A black mass is performed, a priest asks the antichrist to save him, etc. Los Angeles Times movie critic Kevin Thomas observed “much of the film is set outside Rome, with familiar shots of the Eternal City…it’s especially puzzling that not a word is heard from the Pope.” The movie portrays a human-like Satan taking over the world.
The movie is the work of Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Matt Crouch (Trinity is owned by Paul and Jan Crouch, Matt’s parents). Paul and Jan host the flagship show, “Praise the Lord,” and reach a wide audience of mostly Protestant viewers. They are evangelicals.
The John Travolta movie, “Domestic Disturbance,” contained a violent scene in a prostitute’s room that showed a large crucifix on the wall and a statue of Our Blessed Mother. The imagery added nothing to the scene or the storyline and was completely gratuitous.
The rock group the Go-Go’s announced they would release a new CD titled, “God Bless the Go-Go’s.” A website on the group is replete with Catholic imagery. All five women are dressed as the Virgin Mary on the home page. On another page, the same picture identifies each as “Purity,” “Honesty,” “Mercy,” “Chastity” and “Modesty.” A section entitled “Confessional” shows a priest with green hair and an earring, with the Go-Go’s logo on his priestly garb. Visitors are advised to “type in your confession…” and clicking “Bless me father” triggers a penance. There is also a cynically worded rendition of the Hail Mary.
Buffalo, NY – The “Earth’s Final Warning” advertisement from the Sweetwater Seventh Day Adventists appeared in the Buffalo News. When contacted by the Catholic League, the Buffalo News pledged not to run the advertisement again.
St. Paul, MN – The St. Paul Pioneer Press in its “Bulletin Board” section ran a story about a non-Catholic attending Easter Mass. The reporter wrote that the priest celebrating the Mass had a thick accent and that when “he got to the Communion part of the Mass, it came to me. He sounded just like Dracula: ‘eeeat of my flessshh, dreenk of my blaaad.'”
Cleveland, OH – In a story titled “A Gay in a Manger,” the Cleveland Scene reported on the cancellation of Terrence McNally’s “Corpus Christi” by a local theater. The play depicts a character representing Christ having sex with the Apostles. Cartoon artwork accompanying the story in the Cleveland Scene depicts an eye-shadowed Jesus with nipple rings.
Baltimore, MD – The City Paper ran a cartoon titled “Blowing One’s Cool in the Clutch.” The cartoon, by Tim Kreider, depicted the Crucifixion with Jesus yelling obscenities at the crowd.
Phoenix, AZ – The Arizona Republic—as well as the Paterson (NJ) Herald News and several other newspapers—ran an anti-voucher editorial cartoon by Steve Benson called “Repaying the Religious Right.” The cartoon featured a decrepit nun of “Our Sisters of Perpetual Pandering” in a Catholic school with a posted 10 Commandments reading, “I. Ignore the Constitution, then repeat nine times.”
Appleton, WI – The Fox Cities Life, a local community newspaper, carried a paid ad for “Gospel Light Ministries.” The ad was an anti-Catholic tract claiming that Catholics were not Christians as they “unknowingly practice a system that rejects Christ’s solution” in favor of traditions.
Canton, OH – The Repository of Canton, Ohio carried a column by Rick Senften about a Boston child whose parents removed her from the Church because she was allergic to the glutin inside the host. Senften wrote that Jesus did not specify wheat at the Last Supper and that if “bread and wine had not been available, a Pop Tart and a Coke would have sufficed for the Transubstantiation.” Senften went on to attack the Church’s teaching on the ordination of women. He wrote that the Church was now “essentially” saying that “You can’t be Catholic because you’re handicapped.”
Fort Wayne, IN – Stating that Christopher Durang’s “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” stars “an irrepressible nun,” Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reporter Steve Penhollow wrote on an upcoming local production of the viciously anti-Catholic play at the First Presbyterian Theater. He described Sister Mary Ignatius as “an elderly nun” who is “enslaved to church doctrine.” First Presbyterian Theater Executive Director Thom Hofrichter defended the play, which ran at the theater through March 4. He stated that calling the play “anti-Catholic is a very limited view.”
San Antonio, TX – Columnist Melissa Fletche-Stoeltjo in the San Antonio Express-Newscompared Christians in general, and the Catholic Church in particular, to the intolerant Taliban who blew-up statues of Buddha in Afghanistan.
St. Petersburg, FL – Columnist Bill Maxwell of the St. Petersburg Times condemned Edward Cardinal Egan of New York for taking exception to Renee Cox’s photograph, “Yo Mama’s Last Supper” on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Maxwell stated that the cardinal has “no ethical authority” to judge the artist and raised the issue of clerical child abuse. Maxwell had a follow-up column calling Cardinal Egan a hypocrite after a clergy abuse lawsuit was settled by all parties out of court in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT which Cardinal Egan headed before his New York appointment. The abuse took place before Cardinal Egan was assigned to Bridgeport.
St. Petersburg, FL – The “Earth’s Final Warning” advertisement from the Eternal Gospel Church appeared in the March 16 edition of the St. Petersburg Times. The advertising director responded that the Catholic League’s complaint “would be a factor in our consideration if this advertisement were submitted again for publication.”
Grants Pass, OR – The Daily Courier newspaper ran the notoriously anti-Catholic “Earth’s Final Warning” advertisement from the Eternal Gospel Church.
Fort Lauderdale, FL – In an article in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, it was claimed that when the play “Corpus Christi” opened in New York, the Catholic League “threatened violence.” A retraction to the false charge appeared in the April 3 edition.
New York, NY – The New York Times ran a photo of Peter Vallone, Speaker of the City Council of New York, with the caption stating that “Council Speaker Peter F. Vallone goes to Mass every day, but he’s not so charitable to his political opponents these days.” After complaints, Times staffers were warned to be more sensitive to Catholics.
New York, NY – In a piece that appeared in the Village Voice, Tristan Taormino, a lesbian ex-Catholic, described how she discovered a store that sells sex toys made in the design of religious figures. She described a best-selling item called “Jackhammer Jesus,” displaying Jesus on the cross sitting atop a silicone-based penis.
New York, NY – The New York Daily News published a photo of a Holy Week procession in Spain. The caption explained that in the 15th century, penitents wore hoods to protect their identities. The photo, however, showed the penitents wearing white hoods with cone heads that Americans could easily mistake for hooded Klansmen.
Los Angeles, CA – A photo of a man dressed as a Catholic bishop appeared in the Los Angeles Times with the caption stating that “Archbishop Edmund Gilbert could face death by hanging.” The story noted that a “prominent churchmen stands accused of murdering a 15-year-old schoolgirl.” It was not until six paragraphs into the story that it is noted that the accused “archbishop” is a Baptist.
Worcester, MA – Jim Dempsey in the Telegram & Gazette wrote a column in which he described what it would be like if priests were holding a national convention in Worcester. Dempsey wrote that the priests would be going to bars and engage in all kinds of mayhem. When they leave, “we’ll have the problem of swaggering, cigarette-puffing altar boys to deal with.” The next day, editor Harry Whitin apologized for the column as “mean-spirited, anti-Catholic and crude.” Dempsey resigned his position as a columnist to take on a position as a reporter.
Northern New Jersey – On Easter Sunday, Suburban Trends ran a front-page picture of a local homeowner’s display of the Last Supper which substituted pink plastic flamingos for the Apostles.
New Jersey – Leader weekly newspapers published in New Jersey ran an editorial on the “poor taste” of an “infamous salute” used in Catholic churches. Parishioners at a Mass at St. Mary’s in Rutherford were seen raising their right arms in a way that the newspaper compared to the Nazi salute. In a follow-up editorial the papers did not apologize, commenting instead that if “a non-Catholic popped into Mass during the blessing, he or she would likely be confused or offended.” To which the Catholic League replied, “had you not been so ignorant of Roman Catholicism you would never have been offended in the first place.”
Winston-Salem, NC – The Winston-Salem Journal ran the Eternal Gospel Church’s advertisement, “Earth’s Final Warning.” The ad, among other things, depicts the Catholic Church as the “Whore of Babylon” and talks of a plan between the United States government and the pope to achievement world domination.
Fort Wayne, IN – In an editorial in defense of the decision of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) to host the play “Corpus Christi,” the newspaper cited academic freedom and artistic expression. In reviewing recent editorials, however, theJournal Gazette had taken to task sports teams that maintain Indian nicknames. Moreover, in an editorial in response to a “B.C.” cartoon that offended Jewish groups, the newspaper promised that it would never publish such offensive material again. The paper wrote that “anti-Semitic—or racist or anti-Christian or homophobic—comics can’t be ‘art’ except in some antiseptic, ivory tower and thus irrelevant sense.”
Houston, TX – In the Houston Chronicle, Washington-based columnist Cragg Hines commented on the papal trip to the Mideast by noting “in about 797 years a pope will go to Israel and apologize for John Paul II.” Hines wrote that the pope might be “an unhelpful player in the Middle East or even an accomplice to Palestinian violence?” He then referred to Pope Pius XII as being “unconscionably unmoved” by Nazi persecution of the Jews. The column also appeared in the Rock Island Argus and the Berkshire Eagle.
Southampton, NY – A Southampton Press letter to the editor charged that “The Catholic Church is tearing America apart with the abortion issue, so they can take over.”
Palm Springs, CA – A column in the Palm Springs Desert Sun by William Edelen, identified as a former minister at the First Congregational Church in Tacoma, WA, presented a wide-ranging attack against the Catholic Church. He accuses the Church of killing “millions and millions of human beings” through the centuries and leaving a “legacy that has produced sexism, racism, the desecration of the natural environment and the intolerance of other world spiritual traditions.”
Fort Worth, TX – The Star-Telegram ran a series of quotes in its pages under the title, “Words We Like.” Included was a quote from Erica Jong: “Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets the bullfights. Italy gets the Catholic Church. America gets Hollywood.”
Fort Wayne, IN – In a column in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, critic Steve Penhollow commended Terrence McNally’s play “Corpus Christi” as “good for Christianity.” The play portrays a Christ figure who has sex with the Apostles. Penhollow dismissed complaints about the play, comparing them to protests against “Yo Mama’s Last Supper,” a photograph at the Brooklyn Museum of Art where a naked woman replaces Jesus in a portrayal of the Last Supper.
Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara News-Press printed a column by William Elden titled, “Apology for Christianity.” Among Elden’s claims: “The Christian church all but wiped out education, science, medicine, art and commerce (in the years 500 to 1000).”
Ft. Lauderdale, FL – In a letter to the editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Pius XII is identified as “the main inspirer and prosecutor of the policy in Vietnam.” The pope died before JFK sent troops to Vietnam.
Little Rock, AK – The Arkansas Democrat Gazette ran an editorial alleging silence on the part of Catholic popes. In particular, the piece criticized Pope John Paul II for not engaging in a debate with Syrian leaders when they made anti-Semitic statements while hosting the pope. It then compared the incident to the alleged “silence” of Pope Pius XII about the Holocaust during World War II. The editorial appeared in other newspapers as an opinion piece under the byline of Paul Greenberg. The charge is slanderous.
New Bern, NC – The Sun Journal ran a Paul Greenberg column titled, “How evil prospers: the silence of the popes.” Greenberg wrote that Pope John Paul II should have seized the moment and spoken out against Syrian leaders’ comments that were considered anti-Semitic. He then compared the incident to the alleged “silence” of Pope Pius XII about the Holocaust during Word War II. Such slander is not legitimate criticism.
Houston, TX – Cragg Hines of the Houston Chronicle wrote a column about Pope Pius XII’s alleged “silence” about the massacre of Jews during World War II. In rebuffing a letter from Bishop Joseph Fiorenza, Hines dismissed evidence that Pius was responsible for saving as many as 860,000 Jews during the war. Instead, he quoted Susan Zuccotti’s Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy, going so far as to say Pius failed not only the Jews, but members of his own faith as well. It was vintage Hines
Santa Barbara, CA – The Santa Barbara News-Press, under the banner “Memorable Quotes,” ran this comment comedian Bill Maher made on his television show: “Pope John Paul today confirmed his opposition to gay marriage. He said they were unnatural. Then he put on a pointy hat, his dress and returned to never having sex at all.”
New York, NY – The New York Press printed a comic strip called “Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles,” by Neil Swaab. The strip could not be reprinted in the Catholic League’s 2001 Annual Report on Anti-Catholicism because of its vulgarity. It featured a teddy bear-like character in a conversation with Jesus. The bear comes across a cat and ponders whether to kick it. He asks, “What would Jesus do?” Jesus answers, “I’d kick its face in…and just forgive myself afterward.” The bear kicks the cat as the Jesus character says, “Make that f—– bleed!”
Nickolasville, KY – The Jessamine Journal featured guest columnist Dwight A. Moody, dean of the chapel of Georgetown College. His column was titled, “If I Could Pick the Pope.” Moody’s tone went beyond normal criticism and ventured into disrespect and contempt. One of his main complaints was how the pope dresses. He wrote, “There is still too much pomp and ceremony, too many ornaments and vestments, bells and whistles, that distinguish this spiritual leader from both the Savior he obeys and the people he leads.” Moody also had a problem with priestly celibacy saying, “If I could pick the pope, I would look for a man with one wife and at least five children. That would make him a good Catholic and able to understand his people.”
Terre Haute, IN – The Tribune-Star accepted and printed an advertisement by the Eternal Gospel Church that attacked the Catholic Church. The “Earth’s Final Warning” ad called the Church the “Whore of Babylon.” Among other charges, the ad also claimed the pope and the United States were hatching a secret plan to achieve world domination.
New York, NY – The New York Press published a comic strip called “Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles,” by Neil Swaab. The comic strip was too obscene to reprint in the Catholic League’s 2001 Annual Report on Anti-Catholicism. It feaured a hypothetical conversation between a teddy bear-like character and Jesus. The bear asks Jesus, “How come I can only see you after I’ve been huffing aerosal for hours on end?” To which Jesus replies, “Because that s— f—- you up like nobody’s business.”
San Francisco, CA – Joan Ryan, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote a piece about Catholic bishops upholding the ban on tubal ligations and vasectomies at Catholic-run hospitals. She used the opportunity to take on the Church as an institution. She wrote, “…to follow Catholic doctrine in today’s world demands a suspension of common sense that surely challenges even the most devout followers.” Of the Catholic hierarchy she wrote, “One can’t help but wonder if the Catholic Church has been taken over by sociological researchers conducting a massive experiment on faith.”
Framingham, MA – Columnist Joan Ryan’s piece on the Catholic Church and its teachings appeared in the MetroWest Daily News.
Geneva, IL – Columnist Joan Ryan’s piece on the Catholic Church and its teachings appeared in the Kane County Chronicle.
Atchinson, KS – Columnist Joan Ryan’s piece on the Catholic Church and its teachings appeared in the Atchinson Daily Globe.
Griffin, GA – Columnist Joan Ryan’s piece on the Catholic Church and its teachings appeared in the Griffin Daily News.
Connellsville, PA – Columnist Joan Ryan’s piece on the Catholic Church and its teachings appeared in the Daily Courier.
Sun City, AZ – Columnist Joan Ryan’s piece on the Catholic Church and its teachings appeared in the Daily News-Sun.
Memphis, TN – Accompanying a column on the national embryonic stem cell research by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, the Commercial Appeal printed a cartoon showing those opposed to the federal funding of the research as living in a cave and opposing scientific advances throughout history. It clearly stoked the fires of anti-Catholicism.
West Corvina, CA – Columnist Joan Ryan’s piece on the Catholic Church and its teachings appeared in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Evansville, IN – Evansville Courier-Press columnist Ross Meny wrote an article about the Catholic Church’s alleged involvement in electoral politics. It was replete with deliberate misrepresentations. He wrote, “To accomplish these
San Francisco, CA – Stephanie Salter wrote a piece in the San Francisco Chroniclecritical of the Bush administration’s position on abortion and embryonic stem cell research. But she could not stop at disagreement on the issue. She went on to say, “George W. Bush, along with the ever-regressing Catholic hierarchy and similar radical Christian bullies, insists that the practice [harvesting stem cells from human embryos] destroys ‘life’ and is therefore the same as abortion, or their definition of murder.”
New York, NY – The New York Press ran a comic strip called “Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles” by Neil Swaab. The strip, which was too vulgar for the Catholic League to reproduce in its 2001 Annual Report featured a conversation between a teddy bear-like character and Jesus. The non-sensical conversation ended with the bear aluding to a homosexual experience only to tell Jesus, “Relax Jesus, I’m just f—— with ya.”
San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Chronicle published an ad by the Sweetwater Seventh Day Adventist church called “Earth’s Final Warning.” Among other things, the ad calls the Catholic Church the “Whore of Babylon” and accuses the Vatican of conspiracy with the United States government for world domination. Brian Kokes, national advertising manager for the newspaper, said prior to publishing the ad, the Chronicle staff reviewed and approved it for both the morning and evening editions.
Philadelphia, PA – The Northeast Times printed an editorial on an internal controversy at St. Anselm’s Elementary School. The mother of a former student wanted to award scholarships to 10 graduating students in memory of her son, a firstgrader who died from a seizure. But school policy dictated that the faculty determine who gets any scholarships. The two sides could not agree on the awarding of the scholarships. The Northeast Times editorial blamed the situation on the school officials. It said they “should have stepped aside” and lectured them about their own “house rules.” No instance of the Northeast Times editorializing on the internal practices of other religions has been seen.
New York, NY – The New York Post, in its on-going fake gambling column on its sports page, contained the following extra note: “Father Tim Pasek’s Tips for Dating Priests (second in a series by the newly wedded former Queens pastor): Practice safe sex religiously, but never, ever, use a holey [sic] condom.”
Portland, OR – The Oregonian newspaper printed an advertisement for a website. The heading on the ad was, “Wanted: The Virgin Mary—Dead AND Alive.” The reader was then directed to a web address. The website advertised a free book advocating anti-Catholic rhetoric as it pertains to Catholic beliefs about the Virgin Mary.
San Jose, CA – The alternative newspaper The Wave published a satirical piece about unusual phobias. Among them was “Papaphobia,” or fear of the pope. It said the following: “People who fear the pope obviously have a good sense of history. Popes in the late-middle-ages declared war on other countries for the sake of acquiring land, Renaissance popes fathered children and insisted on their nephews succeeding them (hence the term, nepotism), and—recently documented in the book Hitler’s Pope—Pope Pius XII was aware and yet remained ambivalent to Hitler’s plans during World War II. Need we say more?”
Boise, ID – The Idaho Statesman printed the “Earth’s Final Warning” advertisement calling the Catholic Church the “Whore of Babylon” and accusing the Vatican and the United States government of conspiring to control the world. The ad was placed by the Eternal Gospel Church.
San Francisco, CA – On September 20, the San Francisco Examiner published an article by one of its contributors, Kimberly Blaker, that accused the Catholic Church of organizing and supporting “clones” of Islamic terrorism. In addition, the Catholic League was branded a “violent” organization.
After criticizing Rev. Jerry Falwell for his remarks blaming the ACLU, gays and lesbians, et al. for secularizing America (thus contributing to the reasons why the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked), Blaker wrote, “The irony is that the Islamic terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11 fatalities are merely clones of America’s own Christian Right extremists, sheathed in a different religion.” Later in her column, she wrote, “The Catholic Church is one of the main organizers and supporters behind the Christian Right.” Blaker also hurled charges at the Catholic League, saying that “while less violent in nature” than some other groups, the league was still a threat to liberty.
Catholic League president William Donohue asked the San Francisco Examiner to provide him with the evidence, drawn from criminal records, that the Catholic League is a violent organization. Michael Stoll, an official at the newspaper, told Donohue that while his criticisms were “valid,” what Blaker wrote was nonetheless her opinion.
Bronx, NY – The Parkchester News contained an article about Islam by Daniel Gesselein. In one paragraph Gesselein wrote, ” ‘A Mosque is nothing more than four walls and a floor,’ Mohammad said. This is because unlike Catholicism, Islam does not believe in idol worship. There are no statues or paintings of any religious leaders including the Prophet Muhammad.”
Following a number of complaints, Gosselein wrote a correction saying the line should have read, “unlike Catholicism, Islam does not believe in the placement of statues or stained glass windows in their house of worship.”
Leesburg, FL – The Eternal Gospel Church, a splinter group of the Seventh Day Adventists, placed an ad in the pages of the Daily Commercial newspaper. The ad demonized the Catholic Church as the “Whore of Babylon” and as a conspirator for world domination. The Catholic League protested, as did local Catholics, and Jim Perry, the publisher, apologized.
Boston, MA – Boston Globe columnist Maureen Dezell wrote positively about playwright Christopher Durang, who is famous for “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You.” Dezell wrote that when the play opened in Boston a number of years ago, it was criticized for “anti-Catholic bigotry.” She puts the phrase in quotes so readers know she doesn’t think the play is anti-Catholic. After mentioning that the Catholic League protested the play when it opened, Dezell calls the league “a headline-grabbing group that has no official connection with the Catholic Church and represents the views of a minority of the church’s members.”
At the time of the play, the Catholic League’s protest was joined by the Anti-Defamation League, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the American Jewish Committee. Dezell failed to mention this.
New York, NY – The Village Voice had a piece on the “Best of NYC”—the best of New York City. One of its items was the “Best Place to Spill Beer on the Pope.” It was the only religion-related item in the article.
New York, NY – Randy Cohen in the New York Times wrote a piece on the online bookstore, Amazon.com, that discussed how the company deals with issues of censorship. Cohen gratuitously mentioned that Amazon.com still carries Roman Catholic books even though the Church does not allow women priests. He failed to mention that Orthodox Judaism doesn’t allow women rabbis.
New York, NY – An article in the New York Press by Michelangelo Signorile equated Pope John Paul II with Osama bin Laden. The story started, “Flash! This just in: All the while that Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban has been protecting Osama bin Laden, Italy has been harboring another omnipotent religious zealot, one who equally condemns us Western sinners and incites violence with his incendiary rhetoric.” The pope, Signorile said, was guilty of “inspiring thugs across the globe who commit hate crimes against homosexuals, a form of terrorism if ever there were one.” The article was titled, “The Gay-Bashing Pope.”
Minneapolis, MN – The Star Tribune printed on its op-ed page a “Counterpoint” piece by Joe Selvaggio of Minneapolis about the practice of re-using condoms. Selvaggio blamed the Church’s opposition to condom use for the fact condoms were being re-used. He ended his piece by writing, “I pray [the pope] will soon have the courage to apologize to the millions of poor who have suffered and even died because of the church’s attitude toward condoms.”
Grande Island, NE – The Grande Island Independent newspaper ran the “Earth’s Final Warning” advertisement placed by the Eternal Gospel Church. The ad alleges a conspiracy between the Vatican and the United States government. Among the charges against the Church is that it is the “Whore of Babylon.”
The January issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet featured an article that alleged Germany and the Vatican were plotting to take over the world. The article was called “Holy Blitzkreig.”
The January 2001 issue of Esquire presented a satirical “sermon” from the Vatican’s “Pontifical Academy of Life.” The “sermon” was presented as the Vatican’s response to the Clinton administration’s allowing of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The “sermon” has the Vatican refuting that “God is good” and concludes by stating that “God hates the Jews.”
In the January-February issue of FHM, billed as a “men’s magazine,” under the headline “Cure for boredom” is a report on a website where one can dress up Christ on the cross in everything from bunny slippers to a tuxedo. The magazine reports that “users can dress the miraculous wine-maker in a variety of hip and fashionable outfits,” and place a “Hang in there, Baby!” sign on the Cross. “It’s up to you to decide whether the Son of God is suiting up for the Packers, heading for a dip at the local Y or making a grand entrance at a 70s party.”
New York, NY – The January 4-11 issue of Time Out New York, a glossy magazine with a gay edge that covers New York social and cultural events, featured a “best and worst” of 2000. Under the Gay and Lesbian section, the top listing for “Best” was: “Cardinal John O’Connor kicks the bucket: The press eulogized him as a saint, when in fact, the pious creep was a stuck-in-the-1950s, antigay menace. Good riddance!” After protests from the Catholic League, Time Out New York issued an apology that the league rejected. A resolution condemning the comment unanimously passed in the New York City Council.
The online magazine Salon.com featured an excerpt from “The Erotica Project.” The excerpt was written by Lillian Ann Slugocki, co-author of the volume with Erin Cressida Wilson. The excerpt is a graphic description of Christ and Mary Magdalene having oral sex.
Women.com, a feminist website, ran an ad in the March issue of Redbook. Among the listings in the ad was the comment that for every hundred women, “.5 carry an insurance policy against immaculate conception.”
The Industry Standard featured an opinion column by Steve Bodow that is listed under “Religion.” The entire column was a satirical “letter” to the pope. The pope is commended for forbidding “the taking of communion via Federal Express” and banning the cell-phone administration of the Last Rites. The writer takes exception to the recent announcement that Confession may never be over the Internet, because “It turns out that our faithful besmirch themselves a great deal more often, in more ways and with far greater enthusiasm than we had previously had any reason to believe.”
He writes of other concerns, such as the new computer system diverting the “venal [sic]” sins to mortal. He asks if the viewing of “unclean” websites is more or less offensive if you pay the fee. He points out that “repetitious penances” are useless because you can copy and paste the prayers. The pope is addressed as “Your Whiteness.” The statement is made, “In stark contrast to you, Your Grace, our technical team is in fact deeply fallible.” At the end the pope is asked to e-mail or “send me something on vellum.”
The magazine folded in August.
Edmund, OK – The August edition of the Philadelphia Trumpet contained two features dealing with the Catholic Church. One called “The Last Crusade” claimed there are plans underway for another crusade and “it will be the bloodiest of all.” The second, “Final Pieces Fall Into Place,” claims a conspiracy between Germany and the Vatican in the Balkans.
FHM, billed as a “men’s magazine,” included a section called “100 Mighty Sex Facts!” by Keith Beardon. Included in a list of homosexual or bisexual people are Pope Paul II and Pope Julius III. Another section lists the “man on top position” as the only sexual act acceptable to the Catholic Church. Another “fact” listed is that 15% of priests and nuns “break their vows of chastity.”
Contained in the same issue is an article about a man who dresses like Jesus to lure women into having sex with him.
Cornerstone Publishing issued a booklet called Behold He Cometh spouting the same anti-Catholic elements of the “Earth’s Final Warning” newspaper ads. The booklet charged the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon” and misrepresents the Bible.
Wired published a story and pictures about a display of mock products by the Boston-based collective “Release1,” which was on display at Boston’s Revolving Museum. One of the items was called “Mass-snax: an EZ-open, single-serving pack of holy wine and communion wafers for drive-thru Christian culture.”
Esquire magazine published a series of comedic poems called “This Way Out” by Mike Reiss. One poem was titled “Papal Bull-N., A decree of Church Dogma.” It read:
I never read a papal bull,
Nor do I hope to read one.
But judging from their staple bull
I’d rather read than heed one.
New York, NY – A story and photo article in New York magazine about unusual dogs in New York City showed a full-page photo of a dog dressed in a nun’s habit, wearing a big cross around his neck. There was no other religious imagery anywhere in the photo spread.
San Diego, CA – On the “Lynn Harper Show” on KOGO-AM, the host started to bash Mother Teresa. Callers who tried to defend Mother Teresa were dismissed. One caller then joined the host in bashing Mother Teresa and Catholics, particularly Catholics in Mexico.
New York, NY – On the “Curtis and Kuby” radio show on WABC, the hosts used news of the papal consistory in Rome to say that the Catholic Church burns incense to chase away evil spirits. They advised listeners to forget about calling the rock artist Eminem a homophobe and misogynist because the real homophobes and misogynists were in Rome.
Washington, DC – “The Don and Mike Show” broadcast on WJFK-FM aired a segment called “Ass Wednesday.” Don Geronimo and Mike O’Meara, the hosts, had a contest to find the listener with the biggest buttocks. The contestants were then brought into the studio where they were “blessed” by using brown lipstick to paint a cross on their forehead while saying, “In the name of the Father…” The hosts then got into a discussion over O’Meara’s “Catholic guilt.”
Long Island, NY – On the “Chaz and AJ” morning show on WRCN-FM, the hosts mocked celibacy and took several general shots at priests. The general manager apologized after receiving complaints.
On the syndicated “Bob and Tom Show,” a comment was made on a news story concerning the body of Pope John XXIII being found incorrupt during an exhumation. The hosts commented, “Was an altar boy found with him in the coffin?”
Boston, MA – WRKO talk show host Howie Carr discussed the topic of allowing priests to marry. He commented that if Catholic priests were allowed to marry it would cut down on the incidents of pedophilia. Carr fielded several callers who made allegations such as all the popes of the Middle Ages had sons. The callers went unchallenged.
Rockford, IL – WNTA-AM aired the “Good News Radio Program,” hosted by Gary Petty and produced by the United Church of God. The show referred to the seat of Rome spreading an ancient religion of Babylon and the woman riding the beast. It then referenced the Catholic Church as a religious and political enemy stripping the liberties from those who do not follow it.
San Francisco, CA – KSFO talk show host Lee Rodgers read a “listener’s joke” about the Virgin Mary. The joke, told on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, said Mary was impregnated by Joseph the same way African Bishop Emmanuel Milingo impregnated his wife. In declining to apologize following a written complaint from a Catholic listener, Rodgers went further, writing in an e-mail to the complainant, “I know the Catholic Church has a long record of trying to stifle dissenting opinion, but I had no idea modern Catholics were so determined to pursue even a silly little joke.
Cody, WY – KTAG-FM ran an advertisement for Maverick Country Stores featuring a bus load of nuns on the way to Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine. The ad makes ridiculing reference about the nuns stopping at the country store and buying rulers, fish, wafers and wine.
Leesburg, FL – Dr. Daniel Civic made several derogatory statements about the Catholic Church in his role as radio host on WLBE-AM. On his show “Voice of the Truth,” Civic said, among other things: the September 11 terrorist attacks were the fault of the Catholic Church; Catholic religious leaders deserve to be in prison and should be executed; Islam is part of the Catholic religion; and the Catholic Church started World Wars I and II to destroy the Jews, Protestants and Muslims.
Oklahoma City, OK – Two men were executed in Oklahoma for a 1985 murder at a local grocery store. During a broadcast on KOCO-TV the day of the execution of one of the men, reporter Steve Voelker discussed the Catholic upbringing of the man. The fact that he was a nephew of a Catholic priest was raised often during news reports of the execution. When the second man was executed, no mention was made of his background.
Bill Maher, host of ABC’s “Politically Incorrect,” apologized for a January show in which he stated that dogs “are like retarded children.” Maher has never apologized for previous anti-Catholic remarks broadcast on the show. On the February 8 broadcast, Maher inserted Christ into a discussion of Alcoholics Anonymous, which then led to attacks on religion. Comedian Richard Belzer charged that Mother Teresa “took tons of money from very shady people.” She was then accused of never opening a clinic for dying children in Calcutta.
Ellen DeGeneres played a nun on NBC’s “Will and Grace.” Degeneres’ character stated that she was taken to the convent when she was three, thinking she was going to the zoo. “All I wanted to do was see the penguins. Ironic, isn’t it?” she said, dressed in an old-fashioned habit. The show concluded with the nun declaring, “Big day for me. I’m not wearing a bra.”
The CBS show “60 Minutes” did a segment on the DeBeers company’s worldwide control of the diamond industry. James Twitchell of the University of Florida was asked if there was ever a time in history when one institution exercised this much control. He replied, “Holy Roman Catholic Church, which was selling a different kind of product—salvation, generically.” The Catholic League questioned why the statement, a non-sequitur that had nothing to do with the issue at hand, was included in the “60 Minutes” segment.
FOX’s “Ally McBeal” depicted a dream sequence where the main character is on a flight to visit her boyfriend. A nun sitting next to her questions her about her sex life with her boyfriend and begins to recommend various contraceptives such as condoms, diaphragms, etc.
The season finale of NBC’s “The West Wing” featured the President character Josiah Bartlett engaging in a diatribe (half in English, half in Latin) against God after his assistant had been killed in a car crash. Among the things he said were, “To hell with your punishments. I was your servant on Earth. And I spread your word and I did your work. To hell with your punishments. To hell with you.”
The Showtime movie channel aired a filmed production of “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You,” a vicious anti-Catholic play written by Christopher Durang. The play features a malicious nun confronted by four of her past students, all of whom are dysfunctional in some way as a result of their Catholic upbringing. Catholic belief and devotions are bashed throughout the play and, at the climax, the nun kills two of her former students. The director of the performance, Marshall Brickman, justified the play’s attack on Catholicism by stating that “any institution that backed the Inquisition, the crusades and the Roman position on the Holocaust deserves to be the butt of a couple of jokes.” In a full-page ad that appeared in the May 14, 2001 edition of Variety, the Catholic League asked Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, to condemn the production. Mr. Redstone refused to do so.
CNN newsperson Greta Van Susteren reported the recent marriage of renegade Catholic archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. She interviewed George Stallings, a former priest who was excommunicated in 1989 when he broke with the Catholic Church. No Catholic priest in good standing was interviewed to comment on the other side of the issue. In her opening remarks, Van Susteren said, “If there’s one thing the Catholic Church doesn’t like, it’s a loose cannon.” She then said in reference to Milingo’s marriage, “there were no best wishes from the Vatican.”
MTV’s “Andy Dick Show” featured the star performing a rap song that had numerous references to Jesus. One line was (speaking as Jesus), “For me to get out of pain, all I need is to spend some time with Mary Magdalene. All you have to do is 69, to change the water into wine.”
The “Howard Stern Show” on E! Entertainment television featured an appearance by porn star Rebecca Lord. When she said she had a comment to make about religion, Stern gave her the okay. Lord complained about the Catholic Church for being critical of her line of work. At that point Stern jumped in saying, “Catholic priests are having sex with young boys.”
Stern added that those who work in the pornography industry were healthier than Catholic priests. In an angry voice, he charged that priests show boys pornography so they can molest them. Then his companion Robin Quivers commented that the Catholic Church would like to stop Lord from practicing her profession.
The Catholic League asked the major sponsor of the show, Miller Brewing Company, to drop its sponsorship of the show. The company said it would stick by Stern because the decision to sponsor the show is based on what “our customers are telling us they want to see and hear.”
The show “Witchblade” on TNT (Turner Network Television) featured a story involving time travel, Hitler and Pope Pius XII. The hero of the series goes back in time to World War II. In the course of her investigation, it is revealed that there was “an unholy bargain” between Pope Pius XII and Hitler. Under the alliance Hitler agrees to leave the Vatican alone as long as the pope remains silent about Nazi atrocities. As a symbol of the deal, Hitler is given the witchblade.
Hollywood, CA – Aaron Sorkin, executive producer and chief writer for the NBC series “The West Wing” told the New York Times he wanted to push the limits of dialogue on television even further than currently exists. Sorkin said he hopes to break the longstanding network taboo this coming television season. He wants a character to curse in a way that uses the Lord’s name in vain.
The Jerry Lewis Telethon featured a segment with comedienne Cathy Ladman. Her routine included a story about going to a Catholic wedding and how it took so long to receive Communion. She said when she finally got to the priest, she stuck out her tongue and yelled, “Give me some Jesus.” She then went on to say she understands why Catholics see “apparitions” and were “delusional”—because “they were starved.”
The NBC show “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” had a story line that revolved around a sexton murdered by a junkie. The junkie, who works at the parish, is then killed by another priest. The killer priest is also guilty of embezzling church funds. The priest tells the police that the junkie was his lover. Later in the show it is revealed the priest was lying: the junkie is actually the priest’s son. It is now clear that the real motive for killing the junkie was to protect the young boy’s mother—the woman the killer priest had an affair with 20 years earlier.
The Catholic League noted that the “Law and Order” series has a long track record of story lines that portray Catholics negatively.
The NBC miniseries “Uprising,” about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, depicted a priest on Easter Sunday closing the church’s windows and proceeding with the service after detecting smoke from the ghetto’s burning buildings and bodies. The show’s author, Jon Avnet, was quoted as saying that his account is historically accurate. The Catholic League asked that Avnet supply the evidence that this priest did what he was accused of. Avnet never replied.
The website Usqueers.com started a new feature called “Good Riddance.” It was based on the piece in 2000 by the alternative New York periodical Time Out New York in which the publication praised the passing of John Cardinal O’Connor. Usqueers.com said Time Out New York didn’t go far enough. Therefore, the Internet site planned to name people who die—and opposed their views when they lived—under the banner, “Good Riddance.”
The online magazine Salon featured an excerpt from “The Erotica Project,” written by Lillian Ann Slugocki, co-author of the volume with Erin Cressida Wilson. The excerpt is a graphic description of Christ and Mary Magdalene having oral sex.
A website called “Father Frankie’s Drive-Thru Confessional: The Roamin’ Cadillak Church” is hosted by Stairwell Studios. The website consists of three pages: an introduction, a page to “confess” your sins, and an “absolution” page.
On the Drudge Report website a picture of actor Robert Blake appeared dressed as a priest in a story about his alleged role in killing his wife. Blake is known primarily for his role as a detective on “Baretta.” After the Catholic League complained, the photo was removed.
“Wired.com” ran an article about computer viruses sent via e-mail, and how their titles are designed to get people to open the e-mails. In using a virus named after Jennifer Lopez as an example, author Michelle Delio quoted computer expert Marquis Grove as saying, “To someone who doesn’t care about Lopez this worm is roughly the same as saying, ‘CLICK HERE to see Mother Theresa [sic] butt naked.’ Frankly, I don’t think there is enough beer in India that would convince me to click that button. I simply have no interest and I could care less what Mother Theresa [sic] looks like in the buff. And oh my god [sic], now I have that image in my mind and I can’t shake it out…argh! The Horror…the horror.”
Cartoonist Neil Swaab featured on his website material from his book of cartoons, the title of which is too vulgar to reprint. One of the cartoons was of a Catholic school girl saying, “My daddy loves me…he loves every night…but I won’t tell Mommy because it’s our little secret….One day Daddy caught me making out with a boy and he called me a slut and sent me to Catholic school…now I know it’s wrong to love anyone but God and Daddy. Hail Satan!” In the right-hand corner of the cartoon was a cross.
The website “thedude.org” under the heading “In God We Trust” posted a picture of Christ kneeling down with a child’s head in his lap with his hand on the child’s neck. The website has a special effect that makes the Christ figure pull the child’s head into his midsection back and forth, simulating fellatio.
The website “suspectthoughts” ran an article by Ron Gibson titled “St. Agnes g— d— on the Virgin Mary.” The article was a fictional story of sexual fantasy involving priests, saints and other Catholic images.
The website “jesusfoodnetwork.com” was dedicated to ridiculing believers in Jesus by offering different “recipes” for eating Jesus including Roast Suckling Jesus, Kentucky Fried Jesus, Braised Jesus and pasta and Jesus Pot pie. The website’s main page including a quote from the Gospel of Matthew, “Take, eat, this is my body.”
The Internet magazine Bits n’ Bites, which bills itself as containing strange facts and trivia, featured a section about popes called “Famous Figures.” Among the charges made in this feature: Pope Leo X denied the existence of Christ; Pope John XII raped female pilgrims to Rome; Pope John VII was actually a woman. The publication gave absolutely no sources for the allegations.
A website called “iVillage: Where women find answers” contained an article about safe sex. Next to it was a picture of a nun holding forth a condom.
The Internet magazine Salon carried an interview with Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. In the interview, Flynt said, “For two millennia Catholicism has been to trying the wring the neck of every other organized religion in the world.”
Annapolis, MD – Hackers attacked the website of St. Mary’s Church. The face of Rev. Denis Sweeney was replaced by a blinking, devilish goat’s head inside a pentagram, followed by a message about Satan. Police believe a group called “hacking for Satan” was responsible for this and other attacks against websites of religious groups.
The website “Papal Porn” shows images of nuns, priests and popes that turn into pornographic images when the cursor is placed over the pictures. The site advertises itself by saying, “This site contains pictures of naked Nuns and Priests and Catholic School Girls engaged in the Holy sacrament of Sex.”
The Internet portal Yahoo! displayed a bias against Catholics that it refused to correct. When the word “Catholic” is typed in the search engine, the second of the Category Matches has a listing called “Christian History > Catholic Inquisition.” By clicking on that category, the listings of “Torture” and “Witch Hunts” appear. No such negative topics associated with other religions were listed.
When “Catholicism” was typed in, the first listing under Web Site Matches was “The Case Against Catholicism.” It consists mainly of the work of “Joseph McCabe’s Rationalist Encyclopedia.” The second listing is called “Gay and Lesbian Catholicism”; it was loaded with criticism of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. Interestingly, the official Vatican website, “The Holy See,” was listed fourth.
The Internet auction site eBay featured an item for auction called the “Weird Tattooed Jesus Statue.” It depicted Jesus with three eyes, vampire teeth and a dagger on his chest. The base was covered with roses and green painted skulls. The item was pulled from the eBay site following a complaint from the Catholic League.
The Internet auction site eBay had up for auction a compact disc by the British band The Grey Wolves. The name of the CD was “Catholic Priests F— Children.” There was a sketch of naked boys and girls on the cover and a picture of a Catholic priest. The item was pulled from the listings by eBay following a complaint by the Catholic League.