Lewis Black released his book, Me of Little Faith. In his book, Black attacks the Church, Orthodox Jews and Mormons, but gives Islam a pass. Black’s chapter on Islam, titled “Islam. All I’m Saying Is, I Got Nothing to Say,” is the shortest chapter in the book (only three paragraphs). The chapter begins with the following: “I have nothing to say. Nothing. And let’s leave it that way.” But Black had no problem with saying that the “history of the Catholic Church is littered with more bull****” than he could put up with. He also stated that the Church has a “history of being greedy and violent and underhanded and a home for sexual predators.”
We said it was sickening that Black received praise for “pushing the envelope” and being countercultural. In a news release we told the media: “There is nothing courageous about pushing buttons that everyone knows are safe.”
The blogsite, Wonkette, slammed both the Catholic League and the Eucharist. A posting, “Thin-Skinned Catholics Offended by ‘Deep Fried Christ,’” referred to the league’s reaction to the anti-Mike Huckabee skit that trashed the Eucharist. The site’s editor posted the following:
“Anyway, this is apparently a big deal because there are very serious crazy people who don’t want you to say the wrong thing about how you put a cracker in your mouth and it turns into a little little Jesus, and if that gets stuck in your throat just drink his blood because, hey, vampires!” (Original italics)
On her blog, columnist Michelle Malkin slammed the Catholic Church’s immigration policies in a post on her website. In a blog entry she wrote: “Open borders benefit Catholic churches looking to fill their pews and collection baskets. The Vatican and American bishops, led by radical L.A. Cardinal Roger Mahony, have long promoted anarchy and lawlessness.”
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, did more than lecture Pope Benedict XVI after his successful visit to the U.S. in April—she blamed him for making the sexual abuse scandal worse. Her evidence? None. But she did make the case that homosexuality has absolutely nothing to do with the scandal. However, she did not explain why the majority of the victims were postpubescent males. Instead, she blamed “homophobia” for creating the scandal. The entire tone of her column was condescending and smacked of a deep-seated bias.
Sally Quinn, a Washington Post journalist and founder of the blog On Faith, posted why she decided to take Communion at the funeral Mass for Tim Russert. Quinn, who was an atheist most of her life, posted the following:
“Last Wednesday I was determined to take it [the Eucharist] for Tim, transubstantiation notwithstanding. I’m so glad I did. It made me feel closer to him. And it was worth it just to imagine how he would have loved it.”
Quinn also admitted the following: “I had only taken communion once in my life at an evangelical church. It was soon after I had started On Faith and I wanted to see what it was like. Oddly I had a slightly nauseated sensation after I took it, knowing that in some way it represented the body and blood of Jesus Christ.”
We noted that Quinn’s statement reeked of narcissism and showed a profound disrespect for Catholics and the beliefs they hold dear. We also stated that if she really wanted to honor Tim Russert, she could have done so without trampling on Catholic sensibilities.
The website NewsBlaze ran an article by Robert Paul Reyes called, “The Pope Should Ditch His Red Designer Loafers.” In the article, Reyes comments that Pope Benedict XVI should act more like Jesus and not dress “like a clown.” Reyes also says that the pope’s wearing of red designer shoes is enough to “make a drag queen blush.”
September 29 – October 18
Over 40 videos depicting the desecration of the Eucharist were posted on the websiteYouTube by a young man, Dominique (who’s username is fsmdude). What he did was to flush the Eucharist down the toilet, put it in a blender, feed it to an animal, drive a nail through it, etc.
On September 29, Bill Donohue wrote to YouTube CEO Chad Hurley asking him to remove the offensive videos. When Hurley didn’t respond, Donohue called him. After no reply, a video of Donohue registering his protest was posted on YouTube on October 6; a news release on this subject was issued the next day.
After being pummeled by angry Catholics responding to our news release and video, a YouTube official called Donohue on October 15. She informed Donohue that a decision had been made to “age-gate” the videos, meaning that they were not available to the general public—age confirmation was required. Moreover, the viewer would be informed that the video’s material might not be appropriate.
The official stressed that this was a “preliminary step,” part of an ongoing review process. In other words, YouTube took our complaints seriously. On October 16, we issued a press release and we also posted a video on YouTube wherein Donohue discussed the outcome. A few days after YouTube “age-gated” the videos, fsmdude removed his desecrations from the website.
A copycat video was placed on YouTube by “Discipline01” pledging to continue the work of “fsmdude.” He vowed to continue the “DESECRATION OF THE EUCHARIST AND THE BIBLE…AND ALL THINGS HOLY…IN HONOR OF FSMDUDE!”
In Columbus Monthly, a section called “A Year of Fools and Foibles” highlighted the magazine’s 2007 Annual Awards. In that section, a quip was made about Columbus (OH) Bishop Frederick Campbell’s mild heart attack. The magazine implied that he suffered his heart attack because “he met a straight priest.”
An issue of Colorado AvidGolfer featured an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a picture of golfer Lauren Ochoa’s face in place of the Virgin Mary’s. The image appeared with an article that celebrated the success of the golfer. The editor of the magazine followed with an apology to anyone that was offended by the image stating that the magazine “did not intend to show disrespect to anyone.”
In a Newsweek article “Why This Pope Doesn’t Connect,” Lisa Miller stated that the pope cannot bridge the gap between “what the Church teaches and what the American laity practices.” In her article, Miller said:
“Benedict is not the man for this job. His defenders know this, or his advance team of bishops, archbishops and theologians wouldn’t have been out there spinning in the weeks before the papal visit, telling anyone who would listen how very, very kind and gentle the Holy Father really is. Feeling is not Benedict’s strong suit. It’s not just his unfortunate visage that puts people off, or his predilection for the more outré aspects of papal fashion (antique chapeaux and ermine-trimmed capes), or his decades employed as John Paul’s theological enforcer. It’s that Benedict is a Christian believer first and an intellectual second, a man who shows little comfort on the global stage with the messiness of human life and politics.”
Of course, Miller’s article looked foolish after the successful papal visit. The Holy Father showed his compassionate side on many occasions, including his meeting with victims of clergy sexual abuse.
The online magazine Slate ran a piece by William Saletan on virginal restoration. Saletan’s piece followed articles in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Timesabout Muslim women in France who have elected to have their hymens surgically reattached. On the homepage of Slate’s website, Saletan’s column was flagged by a picture of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; below the image was the inscription, “A Defense of Virginity Restoration Surgery.” We asked why Slate could not find any suitable Muslim images to draw attention to Saletan’s article; we called them gutless for taking a cheap shot at Catholicism.
The Mexican edition of Playboy ran a cover showing a nude woman depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary. After a protest led by the Catholic League, the publisher apologized.
When asked for a comment by the media entertainment outlet, TMZ, Bill Donohue said: “Playboy’s juxtaposition of the sacred with the profane is a game that many have played, but to exploit Catholicism and insult Latinos in the same breath is novel. The December cover of its Mexican edition demonstrates once again that when it comes to good taste, Playboy remains quintessentially virginal.”
To make matters worse, the apology was insincere. “The image is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe or any other religious figure,” said publisher Raul Sayrols. “The intent was to reflect a Renaissance-like mood on the cover.”
When Rick Sanchez of CNN asked Donohue whether he accepted the apology, he replied, “They are liars. I mean everybody knows it has nothing to do with the Renaissance.” Sanchez then asked whether it would have made a difference had they not lied. “No,” Donohue said, “I wouldn’t be okay with it. But at least I wouldn’t call them dishonest.”
The film “Bloodline,” which claims Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, had children and was entombed in France, opened in New York. Bruce Burgess, who previously made documentaries exploring the Bermuda Triangle and searching for Bigfoot, produced “Bloodline.”
Bill Maher’s movie, “Religulous,” opened and it was clearly more absurd than it was hateful. Because of Maher’s history of smearing Catholicism, we expected more of the same in the film, but in fairness this did not happen.
Apparently the public didn’t care too much for the movie either. The film came in 10th after its first weekend out, and dropped to 13th the next weekend.
Palo Alto, CA – The documentary “Immaculate Confession” played at the United Nations Association Film Festival held at Stanford University; it focuses on people who left the religious life “for love.” The film is directed by Simone Grudzen and produced by her sister Corita; they are daughters of a former nun and priest.
The film baited Catholics by altering a photo used in the film’s poster to make it look like a priest and a nun were engaged in a sensual embrace; in the original picture the man and woman were dressed in lay clothes.
Bill Donohue wrote to the managing editor of the Times Herald Record (NY), about the omission of a story regarding Christmas vandalism. The Walton Firehouse in Chester, New York, had its Infant Jesus statue decapitated and the crèche vandalized for the second straight year. Local news outlets covered this story but the Times Herald Record deemed it was not newsworthy. It is interesting to note that incidents of Christmas vandalism had attracted the attention of national newspapers such as theWashington Post but still garnered not a peep from the Times Herald Record.
Although we received no response from the newspaper, we were happy to send our gratitude to the parish of St. Columba in Chester for their help.
The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an editorial about a defrocked priest and called for the statute of limitations to be suspended for sex abuse claims after the priest faced no criminal charges after allegedly abusing eleven minors in 25 years. Bill Donohue wrote to the editors offering Catholic support, but only if public and private institutions were placed under the same legislation.
The Palm Beach Post (FL) ran an editorial by Steve Gushee, a long-time enemy of Catholics, slamming Pope Benedict XVI on several accounts. Gushee criticized the pope’s revision of the Good Friday liturgy asking that the Jews acknowledge Christ as their savior. Gushee wrote that the new prayer would be a step back from the Catholic-Jewish progress that had been made under the pontificate of John Paul II.
Gushee filled his piece with snide comments and bashed the pope for granting indulgences to those who visited Lourdes, France during the year. Gushee called the declaration of indulgences a “fund-raising marketing tool that mocks the mission of the church, the theology of Scripture and the justice of God.”
The column ended with Gushee demanding that Benedict decide where he would stand in world affairs. He stated:
“The pope needs to choose the role he wants to play. He can act as the cult leader catering to the emotional needs of his followers and the power lust of his institution. He can take a responsible place in the world’s religious community, embrace his ‘elder brothers (Jews)’ and give up the indulgence fantasies.”
The Star Ledger ran an ad for The Church of Christ that stated the teachings of the Catholic Church were “The Doctrine of Demons.” We responded by writing a letter to John Dennan, the General Manager of the Star Ledger.
On March 4, we received a letter from R. Wayne Wedgeworth, the Star Ledger’s Local Retail Advertising Director. He apologized for any offense that the advertisement may have caused but said that doctrine and religious interpretations are “not generally afforded the same protections” as cultural or ethnic groups. He finished his letter by saying: “We take your position seriously and will balance it with our commitment to allow voices in our newspaper to express opinions and positions that might be adverse to others if they are legal and in good taste.”
On February 24, an op-ed column by Joe Feuerherd in the Washington Post attacked the United States bishops.
Feuerherd said he was proud to vote for a pro-abortion candidate in the Maryland primary, namely Barack Obama, even if it meant that the bishops had consigned him to Hell. Indeed, according to Feuerherd’s interpretation of what the bishops had said, it meant that he put his “soul at risk,” all but assuring himself of a “ticket to Hell.” He concluded by charging, “the bishops be damned.”
For example, the bishops’ document that Feuerherd referenced, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, says at one point that “It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens…may affect the individual’s salvation.” Two paragraphs above that one it explicitly says that when all candidates “hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil,” the voter may decide not to vote or to “vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.” In the next paragraph it says, “In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.” Does this sound like the bishops have condemned him to Hell?
Feuerherd would have us believe that the document lists as “intrinsically evil” such things as “abortion, stem cell research and same-sex marriage.” He is twice wrong. The document does not call either stem cell research or same-sex marriage “intrinsically evil.” There are eight acts which merit that label: abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, the destruction of embryos, genocide, torture, racism and targeting noncombatants in war.
As we said to the press, “Feuerherd is angry because issues like ‘affordable housing’ are not given the same preeminent status as killing the innocent. He is entitled to his opinion, but he is not entitled to bash the bishops or distort their words, not even in his quest for martyrdom.”
We weren’t the only ones that took notice of Feuerherd’s antics. Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the director of media relations for the USCCB, wrote an article in theWashington Post that denounced Feuerherd. She called Feuerherd’s column a “screed” that was full of “demeaning and mocking words” and epitomized the “incivility” of the campaign season. She also slammed him by saying, “The crude reference to the Eucharist as ‘the wafer’ should be beneath anyone who respects people’s religious sentiments, let alone an acknowledged Catholic.” Finally she points out that the “damning of the bishops, is unworthy of both Feuerherd and The Post.”
March 25 & 26
Only a few weeks before the pope arrived in the United States, The Journal Newsconducted an online survey of lapsed Catholics. The newspaper, which is owned by Gannett and covers the Lower Hudson New York counties of Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam, posted the following survey:
“Are you Catholic? As part of The Journal News’ coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to New York next month, we’re hoping to interview Roman Catholics who consider themselves lapsed or non-practicing on their views about the pope’s visit. If you’re willing to be interviewed please contact Ernie Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org”
After we saw this survey, we returned the favor and secured the e-mails of 134 Journal News employees, ranging from Publisher, Michael J. Fisch, to the Gardening and Horticultural Editor, and sent them the following survey:
“Protestants: Given that no religious group switches denominations more than Protestants, can you tell us what it feels like to bounce around from one contiguous neighborhood to another in search of the ideal church?
“Jews: Given that the vast majority of Jews do not attend synagogue and that 52 percent of them intermarry, can you tell us what it feels like to be a non-Jewish Jew?
“Muslims: Given that Muslims who convert may be murdered, can you tell us if you’ve at least fantasized about converting?”
We ended our news release by asking our members to contact The Journal News. After the publication was bombarded with e-mails, they asked us to call off the dogs.
Michael Sean Winters wrote a piece in the Washington Post entitled, “Wholly Different Angles On The World.” The article focused on the political differences of the Vatican and the United States. Winters predicted the pope would denounce the U.S. for its occupation of Iraq during his speech to the United Nations.
His piece was one of the first salvos thrown by left-wing Catholics. It proved to be utterly baseless—the pope did no such thing, instead he focused on natural law and natural rights.
The Chicago Tribune ran a piece, “Ghostwriting for the Pope,” by Robert McClory, a former priest. McClory offered to the readers what he wished Pope Benedict XVI would say during his visit to the United States. The following is what the ex-priest hoped the pope would say:
“I [Benedict XVI] am therefore inaugurating a series of international conferences, dialogues and debates on some of the most disputed church issues, including its position on the ordination of women, homosexual acts, marriage after divorce, stem cell research and artificial birth control. (Our italics)
“I want these issues to be openly considered from all sides, not just by bishops and other clergy but by theologians and biblical scholars, by educators and catechists at all levels, and by experts in the social sciences….
“In addition, I will invite input from Orthodox and Protestant churches, whose traditions in these matters have great significance….”
McClory seemed to realize just how absurd his wishful thinking was; he quickly acknowledged that the reader might dismiss his idea as “the product of an unhinged imagination.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an editorial entitled, “The Catholic Church; Who will be left to speak and hear?” The editorial accused the Church of helping to create the shortage of priests by “insisting on ancient disciplines such as priestly celibacy and the bar against women in the clergy.” The editorial also noted that there is much to be ashamed of in the Church “including the Inquisition and an often ambiguous response to Nazism in World War II.”
Bill Donohue followed these outrageous allegations by writing a letter to the editor:
“The editorial on the Catholic Church was a classic. You blame celibacy for the declining numbers of priests yet fail to recognize that all of the mainline Protestant denominations, which do not require celibacy, are hurting big time. Your history is also suspect: it was civil authorities, not the Church, which played the lead role in the Inquisition, and the Church’s efforts in rescuing Jews during the Holocaust were surpassed by no other religion or institution.”
Emmett Coyne, a Catholic priest, wrote an editorial in the Washington Post titled, “A Time for Penance, Not Pomp.” Coyne stated that Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States should be penitential and not celebratory due to the sex abuse scandal. The editorial stated, “Benedict’s visit to America ought to be in purple, scarlet or black robes, penitential colors—not triumphal white or gold.”
If the pope addressed the scandal, the priest stated that the papal visit could be Benedict’s “Obama Moment,” referring to Barack Obama’s public address concerning the controversial remarks of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Coyne also wrote, “A true leader hits head-on, rather than ducking, vexing issues,” almost as if to compare the pope’s leadership qualities with Obama’s.
The News-Press (FL) ran an editorial prior to the papal visit. The editorial stated that Pope Benedict XVI “owes it to the church to address his congregants’ concerns.” Among the concerns the editorial stated were: ordination of women, gay rights and the ban on contraception. The editorial went on to say that the clergy sex abuse scandal “dented the church’s moral authority, leaving many Catholics divided, damaged and demoralized.”
Rick Casey of the Houston Chronicle wrote a column titled “Equal Justice for Prophets and Priests.” In the column Casey addressed the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints compound that was raided in Texas and the state’s protection of children. Casey stated: “You can, however, wish the state of Texas had shown similar vigor in protecting the children of some other religious groups with sexual practices that seem out of touch with modern society. Say, for example, the church that prescribes celibacy for its priests.” Casey goes on to criticize Texas for turning a blind eye and abetting the Catholic Church for years.
In the opinion section of the Kansas City Star, Barbara Shelly wrote a piece titled, “Archbishop Seeks Improper Church-State Mix.” Her column focused on Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s request that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic, refrain from receiving Holy Communion because of her support for abortion rights.
The archbishop censured Sebelius after she vetoed the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act, a bill the archbishop described as an attempt to “protect women.” Shelly determined that this bill was designed to “diminish women’s authority to make medical decisions and ease the way for lawsuits against providers.”
Shelly finished her piece by stating: “Naumann’s harsh request is more likely to alert the public to an uncompromising stance that forces Catholic politicians to choose between ethical public service and participation in their church.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education published a letter to the editor from a philosophy professor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. An excerpt from the letter follows:
“From reading Musgrove’s column, you would never know that Catholic colleges have fired or silenced Catholic professors such as Charles Curran, who evidently carried critical thinking too far. Nor would you know that the Roman Catholic Church continues to teach that it has a unique and superior knowledge of truth and reason in religion and morality…. But let’s not forget the dark side of Catholic higher education, whose main victims are Catholic students and faculty members.”
An editorial titled “Church can’t have it both ways,” appeared in the Berkshire Eagle. The editorial lectured the Diocese of Springfield (MA) on church-state separation because it exercised its freedom of speech in promoting traditional marriage. The paper also scoffed at the diocese’s opposition to a local government official requesting a moratorium on local church closings. The editorial smacked of anti-Catholicism.
Mark Morford, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote a satirical piece attacking the Catholic Church. Throughout the article, Morford implied that all priests were pedophiles.
He wrote that the Church issued “a decree under which all priests of Rome must undergo a brief medical procedure in which a tiny electrical device is implanted just beneath the foreskin. The microsensor, known as God’s Little Cherub, measures holy heart rate, heaviness of breathing and blood flow to the penis and is designed to deliver an electric shock ranging from ‘mild’ to ‘Cazzo!’ when the priest comes into proximity with nubile flesh.”
Morford also mentioned that priests should wear special sunglasses designed to dim the “bright light of a child’s tantalizing innocence…”
The New York Daily News ran a front-page story about a priest who was arrested for sending graphic images of himself through e-mail to an undercover cop; there was a follow up on the story the next day. Only a few days earlier, on October 7, the Daily News buried a story about a rabbi who had sex with his daughter for 10 years, beginning when she was 9.
Bill Donohue wrote to the Daily News’ editor-in-chief, Martin Dunn, asking him why the story about the priest garnered front-page attention, but the story about the rabbi was relegated to page 18. Donohue also mentioned that neither the New York Times nor the New York Post covered the story, yet Dunn’s paper decided to make it a lead story.
In his letter Donohue said, “What is disturbing is the flagrantly different standard that the Daily News uses in running stories on clergy sex scandals.” Donohue concluded his letter by asking Dunn, “Could you please explain why the Daily News decided not to do a front-page story on a rabbi who raped his daughter?”
October 19 & 22
The New York Times ran two articles praising the Terrence McNally play, “Corpus Christi.” The play features Jesus as an ordinary person who has gay sex with his apostles.
In the October 19 edition of the Times, Mark Blankenship said those that protested the play when it opened in 1998 offered “stark reminders of lingering homophobia.” Bill Donohue responded by saying, “So when anti-Catholic homosexuals like McNally feature Jesus having oral sex with the boys, and Catholics object, it’s not McNally who is the bigot—it’s those protesting Catholics. One wonders what this guy would say if a Catholic made a play about Barney Frank showing him to be a morally destitute lout who ripped off taxpayers. Would he blame objecting gays for Catholic bashing?”
On October 22, the Times’ Jason Zinoman applauded the play for its “reverent spin on the Jesus story.” To which Donohue said, “One wonders how debased a performance against Catholicism must become before this guy would call it irreverent. Moreover, one wonders what this guy would say if the play substituted Martin Luther King for Jesus.”
On our website and in our e-mail blasts, we asked Catholics to contact the paper’s ombudsman, Clark Hoyt. To our surprise, Hoyt contacted Donohue and wanted to know more about our reaction to what happened. On November 9, Hoyt ran an article about the controversy, stating Donohue’s concern. Donohue didn’t object to the Times’ coverage of the play, but to the two articles about it.
The comic strip “Agnes” appeared throughout the country and compared Pope John XXIII to a mass murderer. In the strip, the character Agnes shaves her head in preparation for Halloween; she was attempting to look like Samuel B. Krotty, a 12th century mass murderer. When her friend tells her that Krotty’s head wasn’t shaved, Agnes says that the picture she had of Krotty featured John XXIII on the other side and she forgot which one was which. The cartoon—created by Tony Cochran and syndicated by Creators Syndicate—appears in prominent newspapers such as theWashington Post.
An editorial titled, “Vatican’s Gay Hunt,” appeared in the Berkshire Eagle. The editorial was strewn with factual errors claiming that the Church has a “pedophile problem” and shows “antipathy toward homosexuals.” We didn’t object to the fact that the editorial was wrongheaded, but because it shows the deep-seated bias against Catholicism that we have noticed in the paper for a long time.
The Times Record ran an ad from Tony Alamo Christian Ministries Worldwide that took unwarranted shots at the Catholic Church. Alamo claims that because of the sex abuse scandal, “The Catholic church and schools are far too dangerous for children, both boys and girls, to attend. They are also extremely dangerous for adult men and women.”
Roll Call made a big splash on its website with a “Breaking News” story on Father Coughlin. The headline, “Chaplain Managed Abusive Priests,” gave the impression that Coughlin either did something illegal or something immoral. The fact of the matter is that he did neither.
In the November 20 print edition, Roll Call discussed how Coughlin ministered to troubled priests in Chicago. For example, it said that he played the role of “caretaker, providing services ranging from room and board to spiritual support and advocacy.” Coughlin admits to “pastoring priests” and the article mentions that he “was not responsible for overseeing the men.”
So that was the story. Father Coughlin, before being named House Chaplain, tended to the needs of troubled priests. Instead of being smeared—which in fact Roll Call did—Coughlin should have been applauded.
We issued a release calling on Morton Kondracke, the executive editor of Roll Call, to extend an apology not only to Father Coughlin, but also to the Catholic community as well for exploiting the issue of priestly sexual abuse.
Kondracke refused to apologize.
A letter to the editor appeared in The Commercial Appeal that smacked of bigotry against the Catholic Church and had no legitimate role in public discourse. The writer called the Church hierarchy “a bunch of silly old geezers” that has no say in the sexual morality of the public.
The Long Island Press ran an ad from Tony Alamo Christian Ministries Worldwide that took unwarranted shots at the Catholic Church. Alamo claims that because of the sex abuse scandal, “the Catholic church and schools are far too dangerous for children, both boys and girls, to attend. They are also extremely dangerous for adult men and women.”
Salt Lake City, UT – Utah’s National Public Radio station, KCPW, trashed the Eucharist on the show, “Fair Game with Faith Salie.” The skit was aimed at making fun of presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, but offended Christians instead.
The following is a transcript of the offensive segment:
[Woman’s voice]: “And now another Huckabee family recipe leaked by his opponents.”
[Male Voice]: “Tired of bland unsatisfying Eucharists? Try this Huckabee family favorite. Deep-fried Body of Christ—boring holy wafers no more. Take one Eucharist. Preferably post-transubstantiation. Deep-fry in fat, not vegetable oil, ladies, until crispy. Serve piping hot. Mike likes to top his Christ with whipped cream and sprinkles. But his wife Janet and the boys like theirs with heavy gravy and cream puffs. It goes great with red wine.”
[Woman’s voice]: “Now that is just ridiculous. Everyone knows evangelicals don’t believe in transubstantiation.”
After we issued a news release, the producers of the show, Public Radio International, called Bill Donohue to apologize and pulled the skit from its rotation, as well as from the show’s archives. Importantly, it also issued an on-air apology.
Washington, DC – During Holy Week, WTOP ran a commercial that ridiculed the Sacrament of Confession. The spot, paid for by a local Presbyterian church, mimicked a man confessing his sins to a priest. The priest repeated the man’s sins back to him, and with each sin (e.g., having lustful thoughts while watching lingerie ads and coveting a neighbor’s lawn equipment) a cash register clicked, as if to tally up the sum of each sin. At the end, a voice told listeners that with the Presbyterian Church their spiritual journey doesn’t have to be a “guilt trip.”
We received many complaints regarding the ad and contacted WTOP. They confirmed the ad and played it for us. After Catholics complained to members of this Presbyterian Church, they agreed it was offensive and pulled the ad.
On NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” the panel discussed the papal visit. During the discussion, panelist Roy Blount Jr. was asked the question, “What will be the next gift which the pope receives from President Bush?” Blount said that the president would give the pope a “notorious rough and wild bronco,” which was reputed to be able to “separate the men from the boys.”
George Knapp, who was the guest host on the “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” radio program, had on filmmakers René Barnett and Bruce Burgess, the directors of the anti-Catholic documentary “Bloodline.” The film claims Jesus was not divine and was, in fact, married to Mary Magdalene and that the two had a child and escaped to the South of France following his crucifixion.
August 8 – 11
The daily Internet show “Keith and the Girl” took a cruise with listeners on Carnival Cruise Line and staged a “Mass” in which they desecrated the Eucharist. The “Mass” was staged in protest over the University of Central Florida Host-stealing incident.
We wrote to Carnival to notify them of the event that was scheduled to take place on their cruise; we did not receive a response.
Bill Maher bashed Christianity during an appearance on the NBC program, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” Maher commented on the highly publicized speech made by presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, explaining the role of religion in the government.
“You can’t be a rational person six days of the week and put on a suit and make rational decisions and go to work and, on one day of the week, go to a building and think you’re drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old space god. That doesn’t make you a person of faith…That makes you a schizophrenic.”
Looking uneasy, O’Brien followed up by asking Maher whether or not anyone who is religious is schizophrenic. He responded, “Well, yes, sort of, because they have walled off a part of their mind.”
“Comedy Central Presents Stephen Lynch” featured a song, “Craig Christ,” by the comedian. In the song, Lynch sings about Jesus’ “brother” Craig and the lifestyle he leads. “Craig Christ” accuses the Apostles of homosexuality, grows marijuana with Judas and “layin’ every lady in the Testament.”
Lynch is also known for his song, “Priest,” which is about a priest being tempted to sexually molest an altar boy.
On his HBO program, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher was joined in a discussion about UFOs with some panelists. Here is what he had to say about the possibility of UFOs:
“But I think it is much more likely that there could be space ships from outer space, than what a lot of things people believe. People still believe, you know, excuse me I know I may inject religion into every show but UFOs are a lot more likely than a space god [that] flew down bodily and you know who was the Son of God and you know had sex with a Palestinian woman…”
On CNN’s “Larry King Live,” comedian Bill Maher railed against religion. Maher exclaimed:
“They accuse me of being a Catholic bigot. First of all, I don’t have it out especially for Catholics. I think all religions are coo-coo. Ok? It’s not just the Catholics. I’m not a bigot. Just because I wish for the demise of an organization that I think is entirely destructive to the human race, that doesn’t make me a bigot.”
On Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” comedian Ed Helms introduced a Homometer; a radar device that determined the “gayness” of things. One of the items that he tested was a statue of the Holy Family outside of a church. When Helms waved the Homometer over the statue it said, in a stereotypical gay voice, “Oh my god that’s so gay! Oh my god that’s so gay!”
On NBC’s “Tonight Show,” host Jay Leno lashed out against priests, citing a news report about the Vatican and sex scenes in movies:
“Oh, I love this story. Did you see the pope at the Vatican today? Oh, they came out. They’re very strict. The pope and the Vatican asking actors not to do sex scenes in movies. They don’t want actors doing any sex—good luck! They can’t keep priests from doing sex scenes! What are you talking about? [Laughter and applause.] Come on! Please!”
On ABC’s “The View” the panel of Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Sherri Shepherd made fun of the Church’s canonization process. Behar exclaimed that “some of [the saints] may have been psychotic” because they heard the voice of God. She also stated that there are not as many saints in current times, because people can take medication to stop the voices in their heads.
During the Weekend Update segment on “Saturday Night Live,” guest correspondent Tina Fey opined about Hillary Clinton’s struggling presidential campaign. Fey said:
“What bothers me the most is people say that Hillary is a b****. Let me say something about that. Yeah, she is. So am I…You know what? B****es get stuff done. That’s why Catholic schools use nuns as teachers and not priests. They’re mean old clams and sleep on cots and are allowed to hit you. At the end of the school year you hated those b****es, but you knew the capital of Vermont. I’m saying it’s not too late; Texas and Ohio get on board. B**** is the new black!”
On ABC’s “The View” the panel discussed a Pew Research Center study on religion in the “Hot Topics” segment of the show. The conversation turned to Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s dislike of the Sacrament of Confession and why she left the Church.
When she spoke about why people change religions, Hasselbeck said: “I guess I can kind of relate to this. I grew up in a Roman Catholic Church…and I found at some point I kind of wanted to—I moved to a more nondenominational church. I think it was some of the structural things in the Catholic Church that just for me felt manufactured…and I questioned all the time, like going to confession. Since second grade I would be in detention because I didn’t want to go.”
On NBC’s “Tonight Show,” Jay Leno commented on a report about teenage sex:
“According to a new report on teenage sex by researchers…4% of teenagers lost their virginity in a car, and 56% lost it in their homes. When they heard this, child development experts said it might help if teenagers talked to someone like a teacher or a priest, which is how the other 40% lost it.”
Fox reran an episode of “MADtv” which featured a skit of priests, wearing only Roman collars and bikini bottoms, chasing frightened boys around a campsite, dancing obscenely with one another and boasting about sexual molestation. Bill Donohue wrote a letter to Marcy Ross, Fox’s Programming Executive Vice President, regarding this episode and asked that Fox refrain from airing anti-Catholic episodes in the future.
The episode first aired in 2002.
Comedy Central aired the first show in a new series, “Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil,” in which Black played a judge ruling on who was more evil—the Catholic Church or Oprah Winfrey.
The episode featured two comics, Greg Giraldo and Paul F. Tompkins, debating the evilness of the Church and Oprah. Giraldo held the task of proving the Church was the more evil of the two.
Giraldo focused his attacks on the sex abuse scandal, the Blessed Virgin, the Inquisition, and Pope Benedict XVI. The following are excerpts of his vitriol:
· “The Church is sack tickling its way into bankruptcy.”
· “The Catholic Church is also evil because it has such a grip over the mindless masses that they’ll wait in line, thousands of them in the rain for hours, just to get a glimpse of a pork rind in the shape of the Virgin Mary…God impregnated Mary. We have a whole religion based on one woman who really stuck to her story.”
· “Let’s not forget the Inquisition. In the 1400s, Jews and Muslims in Spain were forced to convert to Catholicism. And to test the sincerity of these conversions, thousands were tortured.”
· “The pope, to me, is a hypocrite in his Prada loafers and his ball gown. How can he condemn homosexuality when he dresses like he is on his way to nickel comso night at the Veiny Shaft Tavern”?
The day after the premier episode, we slammed the show. We pointed out that it is estimated that public school teachers are a hundred times more likely to molest minors than are priests (see the work of Dr. Carol Shakeshaft.) Yet it was not the public schools that were labeled evil by the show.
We also wondered why it was the Church that was singled out and not Muslims. We noted that radical Muslims behead their enemies, real and contrived, terrorize non-combatants, fly planes into buildings, shoot nuns in the back, kidnap and kill bishops, burn churches to the ground and legally murder those who wish to convert. Despite all of this, the show did not have the guts to call them out.
On ABC’s “The View” the panel discussed the controversy surrounding Barack Obama and his pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Elisabeth Hasselbeck compared Wright’s inflammatory comments, such as “God damn America,” and “The U.S. of KKKA,” to the reason she left the Catholic Church.
Hasselbeck stated that when she “found out the heads of the Church were up to things that were not good…I left. I say, ‘you know I don’t want to be a part of that at all.’”
On the Bloomberg Channel’s “Political Capital,” host Al Hunt was speaking with guests Bob Novak and Margaret Carlson about the 2008 election. In response to Novak bringing up the controversy with Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, Carlson brought up “pedophile priests.” The following is a transcript of what was said:
Novak: “Howard Dean is a joke. But don’t count Hillary out yet. The problem is Obama is fading in the polls. In the Gallup poll he is behind her. In several other polls he is behind McCain. It is because of this flak over his pastor. I would say that the Obama campaign right now is on a very serious problem with this racial divide in the party. And that is the only hope for Hillary is the divide is going to push her over. What that means for the Democratic Party in this year’s election is something Democrats don’t want to consider.”
Carlson: “I’m so glad I don’t have to answer for the pedophile priests in my parish. I don’t know if you have any in yours.”
Carlson’s attack on the priesthood was unwarranted and gratuitous. This had absolutely nothing to do with what Novak was talking about.
The pope set off a firestorm by baptizing a Muslim-born journalist at the Vatican’s Easter Vigil. The pope’s critics had a field day with his baptism of Magdi Allam, an outspoken critic of Islamic extremism. The critics blew this situation way out of proportion and helped set off a media firestorm. The following is a sample of the attacks that the Holy Father received from around the world:
· “I cannot understand the Vatican’s motivation. Why with preparations for dialogue underway…would the pope revive antagonism this way?” [Sheila Musaji, founding editor, The American Muslim]
· “What amazes me is the high profile the Vatican has given this conversion. Why couldn’t he have done this at a local parish?” [Yaha Sergio Tahe Pallavicini, VP of the Italian Islamic Religious Community]
· “The problem lies in the vindictive atmosphere surrounding the conversion ceremony.” [Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh]
· The baptism was a “deliberate and provocative act…made into a triumphalist tool for scoring points.” [Aref Ali Nayed, head of Jordan’s Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre]
· “A new provocation for the Islamic world.” [Mohamed Yatim, commentator for the Moroccan daily, Attajdid]
· “The Vatican’s act seems unnecessarily incendiary and irresponsible.” [Calgary Herald editorial]
· “The problem is that he was baptized by the Pope in public and in front of satellite TV cameras. This is a hostile act against Islam….We were looking for a different approach from the Pope after his anti-Islam remarks two years ago. But the Pope’s baptism of a person who is known for his enmity to Islam and the Qur’an made us stick to our previous decision to suspend the IUMS relationship with the Vatican.” [Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars]
In our news release we credited the Jerusalem Post for its spot-on analysis of the controversy: “Allam was not a practicing Muslim, was educated in a Catholic school as a teenager, has been married for years to an Italian Catholic, and credits Pope Benedict for having influenced his decision…[and] he has been living under police protection for years, primarily because of his criticism of Islamic terrorism and defense of Israel—which, of course, is the real story here.”
NBC’s Jay Leno apologized for asking actor Ryan Phillipe to give his “gayest look” during an earlier episode of his “Tonight Show.” The actor was uncomfortable with Leno’s quip and the late-night host came under fire by gay rights groups for his remarks.
We issued a statement blasting Leno for his duplicity saying, “We have a fat file on Leno’s anti-Catholic comments, and with the lone exception of his phone call to [Bill Donohue] apologizing for his Catholic-bashing rant on February 7, 1997, we haven’t heard a word from him regarding our many complaints.” We closed our release by stating the only conclusion that could have been drawn from his lack of regret for anti-Catholicism: Gays and Jews are protected classes in Hollywood, but Catholics are not.
Bill Donohue wrote a letter to Fox Broadcasting’s President of Entertainment, Peter Ligouri, regarding an episode of “Family Guy.” The episode in question first aired in 2000, and features Peter Griffin receiving a chalice from a priest and drinking the Blood of Christ with the accidents of wine. Peter coughs and says of Jesus, “Man, this guy must have been wasted 24 hours a day, huh?” This clip was airing as part of a commercial for the program.
Donohue stated that Catholics are not without humor, but disparaging the Body and Blood of Christ crossed the line. We requested that Fox retire the episode in question and cease using the clip in its promotions.
April 11 – 18
On “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the comedian saw the papal visit as an opportunity to slam the Church and in particular attack the Holy Father. On Monday, April 14, we slammed Maher for his bigotry and lies.
On the “New Rules” segment of his show, Maher addressed the raid on a polygamist compound in Texas, but quickly turned his attack to Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. The following is his bigoted rant:
“And, finally, New Rule: Whenever you combine a secretive compound, religion and weirdos in pioneer outfits, there’s going to be some child-f***ing going on. In fact, whenever a cult leader sets himself up as ‘God’s infallible wing man’ here on earth, lock away the kids.
“Which is why I’d like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult. Its leader also has a compound. And this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. [Photo of pope shown] That’s right. The pope is coming to America this week, and, ladies, he’s single!
“Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Bill, you can’t be saying that the Catholic Church is no better than this creepy Texas cult! For one thing, altar boys can’t even get pregnant.
“But, really, what tripped up the ‘little cult on the prairie’ was that they only abused hundreds of kids, not thousands all over the world. Cults get raided. Religions get parades. How does the Catholic Church get away with all of their buggery? VOLUME, VOLUME, VOLUME!
“If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you ‘Pope.’
“It’s like if you can’t pay your mortgage, you’re a deadbeat, but if you can’t pay a million mortgages, you’re Bear Stearns, and we bail you out. And that’s who the Catholic Church is, the Bear Stearns of organized pedophilia. Too big to fail.
“When the—when the current pope was in his previous Vatican job as John Paul’s Dick Cheney, he wrote a letter instructing every Catholic bishop to keep the sex abuse of minors secret until the statute of limitations ran out. And that’s the Church’s attitude: ‘We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.’
“Which is fine. Far be it from me to criticize religion. But, just remember one thing: if the pope was, instead of a religious figure, merely the CEO of a nationwide chain of daycare centers where thousands of employees had been caught molesting kids and then covering it up, he’d be arrested faster than you can say, ‘Who wants to touch Mister Wiggle?’”
Maher’s anti-Catholic bigotry was nothing new; he had been on our radar long before. But this time Maher literally made things up.
Maher lied when he said the pope “used to be a Nazi.” Like all men in Germany at the time, Joseph Ratzinger was conscripted into a German Youth organization (from which he fled as soon as he could). Every responsible Jewish leader has acknowledged this reality and never sought to brand the pope as a Nazi. But Maher was right there to chime in.
In the days following Maher’s outburst, many media outlets picked up on our news release and pounded Maher for his bigotry. Mike Gallagher, Investor’s Business Daily, Steve Malzberg, Les Kinsolving of WorldNetDaily, Newsbusters, Newsmax, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cunningham, the Culture and Media Institute, Relevant Radio’s Drew Mariani and others were justly outraged.
On April 17, Bill Donohue received a phone call from an HBO executive regarding the league’s news release of April 14. The executive told Donohue that Maher was expected to apologize on his Friday, April 18 episode of “Real Time,” for accusing the pope of once being a Nazi. After researching this matter, HBO concurred with our assessment. Apparently, so did Maher. Maher acknowledged the pope was never a Nazi and mentioned that the Catholic League called this issue to attention. But Maher didn’t stop there.
After apologizing for accusing the pope of being a Nazi (which we accepted), Maher reiterated the point that if the pope were the CEO of an institution that housed molesters, he would have been fired. To suggest that Pope Benedict XVI was in charge of policing molesters, and failed in doing so, was patently absurd. As Pope John Paul II’s right-hand man, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s principal job was to make sure that theologians were faithfully presenting the teachings of the Church. He was not in charge of enforcing codes of conduct. Indeed, it wasn’t until after the scandal hit the newspapers in 2002 that he was put in charge of dealing with predatory priests, and by all accounts did so effectively.
On ABC’s “Nightline,” there was a segment on the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church that focused on Chicago Archbishop Francis Cardinal George. The segment took him to task for the way he handled a case dealing with Rev. Daniel McCormack. We blasted “Nightline” for its failure to deliver the whole story and ABC for its glaring hypocrisy.
In the segment, “Nightline” focused on the decision of Cardinal George to allow Rev. McCormack back into the ministry after the police found him innocent. This is what happens every day in America—those found not guilty resume their jobs. Cardinal George’s decision was the logical consequence of innocent until proven guilty. The fact that McCormack was later found guilty of groping a male doesn’t change what’s at stake. Moreover, “Nightline” failed to tell the whole story.
In the initial case, the police and Cook County prosecutors found no credible allegations against McCormack. Interestingly, the Department of Children and Family Services concluded that McCormack may have been guilty but never notified the archdiocese or the school where the priest was working that it was conducting an investigation. To top it off, the agency didn’t even bother to tell them after it suspected he might be guilty.
What was really mind-blowing was ABC’s hypocrisy. In 2003, Steve Bartelstein, a New York anchor at WABC-TV, was accused of sexually harassing and stalking a male writer and producer at the station. WABC launched an investigation and concluded there was no evidence to remove Bartelstein and allowed him to keep his job; he was fired in 2007 for another matter. And last year in Miami, ABC reporter Jeff Weinsier at WPLG was arrested for carrying a loaded gun on school property while investigating school violence. He kept his job, too. If ABC had subjected them to their Cardinal George standard, they would have been canned immediately.
We called on ABC to make an apology to Cardinal George and all priests. They failed to do so.
April 17 – 21
After addressing the Catholic Church’s failure to act responsibly in handling the sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the social context in which the scandal took place, asking, “What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?” CNN’s Lou Dobbs took issue with the pope’s words and blasted him on two occasions. After we issued a news release challenging Dobbs to either a debate or apology, he quickly changed his tune.
The following are remarks made by Dobbs on April 17:
· “The idea that the pope would come here and criticize the United States this way is, I think, first of all bad manners. I don’t care if you’re infallible [sarcastically].”
· “It is absolutely out of all proportion with the world scale. The most welcoming nation, the most generous nation on the face of the earth. And for the pope to have this attitude and to make these comments is, in my opinion, absolutely repugnant.”
· “It seems to me that if one is going to reach to the level that he did, you have to have some moral standing for it. And what has been happening to this Church…seems to leave open his standing, cleaning up his own house.”
On April 19, Dobbs bashed the pope again:
· “Well, he’s in America, partner. And you know what, when we’re in Rome, we’ll do as Rome does. But when Rome comes to America, how about a little salute and stay out of our politics.”
· “I don’t care if he listens or not, but I’m going to send him the message [of staying out of politics] because I really don’t appreciate the bad manners of a guest telling me in this country and my fellow citizens what to do.”
Following Dobbs’ outburst, we demanded that he either apologize or invite Bill Donohue for a debate. Although he did neither, our pressure got to him. During his CNN show, on April 21, Dobbs hosted a discussion about Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to the U.S. Unlike previous nights, his panelists showed nothing but respect for the pope; Robert Zimmerman and Ed Rollins were particularly fair. But the biggest surprise came from Dobbs. The following is an excerpt from the discussion:
Rollins: “I thought the pope saying illegals should be treated in a humane way is not saying that they should stay here. I think he’s basically saying you shouldn’t mistreat them when they are here. Send them home, but don’t mistreat them.”
Dobbs: “You know, I could sign on with that….We’re going to have to take this all in. I like Pope Benedict XVI, is what [the conversation] just taught me here….By the way, I can close this out with one thing. He [the pope] changed the minds of a lot of priests around the country I believe.”
To his credit, Dobbs pivoted away from his previous remarks about the pope and conducted himself in a most professional matter. What cannot be picked up from the transcript was the sincerity of his comments. In doing so, he put to rest any concerns we had.
On MSNBC’s “The McLaughlin Group,” panelists Pat Buchanan and Eleanor Clift were discussing the Obama/Wright controversy. After Buchanan questioned how Obama did not know about Wright’s beliefs “when he [Obama] knew him 20 years,” Clift responded, “Because you didn’t know what the priests in your church were doing all those years you sat in the pews.” So instead of pointing out a few miscreant priests, Clift decided to make a sweeping generalization of the 40,000-plus priests as molesters. This was an unqualified and unprovoked attack on the Catholic Church.
On the ABC program “Boston Legal,” David E. Kelley, the show’s creator, once again displayed his hatred for Catholicism. The episode focused on the plight of an oppressed woman—she was being oppressed by the Catholic Church. The woman desired to be a priest and she sued the Catholic Church for discrimination. The same clergy strictures apply to Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Islam and Orthodox Christianity; why didn’t Kelley go after them? The answer is simple: those religions don’t count; it is the Catholic Church that Kelley sets out to attack.
There were other lies that were perpetuated in the episode. For example, lies were told about the Catholic Church’s alleged support for slavery, the execution of witches and the Inquisition. [Note: It was the Catholic Church—not any other religion—which first opposed slavery and for the most part, it was the civil authorities, not the Church, who punished witches and were responsible for the Inquisition.] At the end of the show the Catholic Church’s tax-exempt status was revoked.
PBS aired the documentary “Tal Como Somos” to educate on the experiences of homosexual, bisexual or transgendered Latinos and the difficulties they face. The following is a part of a discussion by a gay couple:
“My foundation is Catholicism….I grew up like most Catholics, and I’ll dare say this, most Catholics grow Catholic by tradition, not by faith….Being gay and Catholic. Wow….Before I came out it was a big issue for me because I’ve always identified myself as very Catholic due to my parents’ upbringing, of course, and of course being something that’s not accepted by the religion or the Church but yet my conflict was, wait a minute, God loves me for who I am but yet I’m not accepted in the Church. I realize that if I am consciously going to a place where I’m not accepted and I am being stigmatized…why would I want to part of that group? It’s the same thing as me going to the KKK and saying, ‘You know, I’m a gay Mexican but I want to be part of the KKK although they hate me,’ I wouldn’t want it.”
On the E! Television show, “Chelsea Lately,” host Chelsea Handler commented on actress Anne Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend, Raffaelo Follieri, who had been arrested for fraud. Handler made the following comment regarding his claim that he was the chief banker of the Vatican: “Anne Hathaway has broken up with her Italian boyfriend who is—he’s been arrested now on 12 counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, and was accused of telling an investor that he had been appointed as the chief financial officer of the Vatican. First of all, you cannot mess with the Vatican. That’s like the Oprah of Italy, okay? We’ve seen what the Vatican does to the boys they don’t like or they do like, sorry. Sorry, screwed that up. Let’s just start over. Just kidding, go ahead.”
July 15 & 16
The Cartoon Network re-aired two episodes of its Adult Swim program “Robot Chicken.” The episodes in question, “Tapping a Hero” and “Celebutard Mountain,” mocked the life of Jesus.
“Tapping a Hero” features a sketch based on the movie “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” It is replaced with a trailer for the “33-Year-Old Virgin.” The parody focuses on the life of Jesus as a virgin and how He loses His virginity to Mary (Magdalene). The final scene shows the two of them laying in bed and Mary saying, “It looks like you’re ready for a second coming.”
“Celebutard Mountain” features a sketch based on the CW show “Everybody Hates Chris,”; the spoof is called “Everybody Hates Christ.” In the parody, Christ is scourged, crucified and ridiculed in a slapstick manner as a laugh track plays in the background.
Comedy Central re-aired a special featuring comedian Stephen Lynch. In the special Lynch sings a song named “Craig Christ,” in which he sings about himself as the sexually promiscuous brother of Jesus. In the song, Lynch also mocks Jesus and accuses Him and His Apostles of being homosexuals.
Comedy Central re-aired a “South Park” episode titled “Bloody Mary.” The particular episode centers on a statue of the Virgin Mary “bleeding out her ass” and spraying people with the blood. In December of 2005, an executive vice president at Comedy Central told the Catholic League that there were no plans for the cable channel to re-air “Bloody Mary.”
Comedy Central re-aired “Comedy Central Presents Ted Alexandro,” in which the comedian attacked the Catholic Church over the sex abuse scandal. Here is an excerpt of what he said:
“The pope was dying, Michael Jackson on trial. Tough times for the pedophilia industry, huh? Yeah. When it rains it pours. I think Michael Jackson gets too much press though, ‘cause he’s one guy. The Catholic Church is like the Microsoft of pedophilia, like giants in the industry…. Jesus juice, that was brilliant. You know priests had to be like, damn, why didn’t we think of that? It was right in front of us the whole time!”
“Late Night with Conan O’Brien” ran a skit that featured two foul-mouthed priests that were portrayed as fools. At the end of the skit, it was implied that Mary’s relationship with God was sexual. While most of the skit bordered on the objectionable, the way it concluded pushed it over the line.
We wrote to the show’s executive producer, Jeff Ross, and voiced our objection to the portrayal of the Blessed Virgin. We noted that it is a central tenet of the Catholic faith that Mary became pregnant by an act of God and that she remained a virgin.
Comedy Central aired an episode of “The Gong Show” that featured a duo, the Vava Sisters, who performed a “Stigmata Striptease.” The duo wore Catholic schoolgirl uniforms, carried Bibles and had the stigmata; they also took each other’s clothes off and fed each other a Communion Host.
On the Fox program “Bones,” the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation was ridiculed. The show, which features a female forensic specialist, Temperance “Bones” Brennan, and a male FBI agent, Seeley Booth, began with an exchange regarding a female Protestant minister who was reported missing.
The following is how the conversation went:
Booth: “She’s a pastor. Yeah. Looks like one of those grassroots community churches.”
Bones: “Huh. She was preparing for a sermon.”
Booth: “A pastor with augmentation and veneers.”
Booth: “A spiritual leader shouldn’t be so vain.”
Bones: “The pope sits on a throne. He wears robes worth hundreds of dollars. Isn’t that vanity?
Booth: “Oh really? You’re going after the pope now?”
Bones: “One pastor gets her teeth whitened, and the other drinks wine on Sunday mornings and tells everyone that it’s been miraculously transformed into blood. Which of those is more outlandish?”
We issued a news release the following day and said:
“It does not matter that non-Catholics may not accept what happens at Mass. What matters is that they show respect. And to just throw this line in while the opening credits are running—about a minister, no less—shows how mean-spirited the writers are. If only they thought of Catholics as if they were an indigenous people, we’d be fine.”
On the Fox program, “Family Guy,” characters Brian (a dog) and Stewie (a baby) traveled back in time to rescue Mort Goldman (a Jewish friend) from the Nazi invasion of Poland. After Brian and Stewie dress Mort up as a priest to sneak him out of the country, a Nazi officer asks Mort, “Are you sure you’re a real priest?” Stewie replies, “Yeah, yeah, I can vouch for him, he’s real. He’s molested me many, many times.”
On the FX program, “The Shield,” a Catholic priest was portrayed as someone who allowed gang members to deal drugs under his watch, clipping a share of the profits for himself.
In another scene, the priest is accused of being a child molester. At this, the priest explodes, stating, “Just because some sick perverts decide to live out their fantasies through the collar doesn’t mean that every priest is a gay pedophile.” The confrontation continues and the priest admits to fathering a child with the gang leader’s sister.
“The Simpsons” aired its annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode and mocked Catholicism in the process. In the episode, the character Millhouse makes a declaration of faith to the “Grand Pumpkin” which was based on the Apostles’ Creed:
“I believe in the Grand Pumpkin, almighty gourd, who was crustified over Pontius pie plate and ascended into oven. He will come again to judge the filling and the bread.”
On the season finale of the HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the bigoted comedian said the following of Father Jay Scott Newman, a South Carolina priest:
“A Catholic priest in South Carolina has told his congregation: If you voted for Obama you can’t receive Communion. That’s right. The cracker won’t let you get the cracker. He said supporting Obama constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil. Then he proceeds to pass around the plate so everyone could chip in to payoff the child f***ing lawsuits.” (Note: Newman did not say what Maher attributed to him)