Raymond Khoury’s novel The Last Templar was released. The novel is about a couple that tracks down the diaries of Jesus. The diaries reveal that Jesus’ Resurrection, miracles and the idea of salvation are all a fabrication.
Steve Berry’s novel The Third Secret was released. The novel is about a couple that discovers that Church leadership hid the true revelation of the Blessed Mother of Fatima. In the novel, the Blessed Mother reveals that birth control and abortion are fine, priestly celibacy is wrong, the ordination of women is right, and homosexual marriage is noble.
Michael Baigent’s book The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in Historywas released. In the book, Baigent claims Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin birth and didn’t die on the cross, but rather went away to recuperate. Book publisher Harper San Francisco said the book’s release date was chosen more than a year in advance to coincide with Easter. Baigent was featured on NBC’s “Dateline” on April 2. He is also co-author of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a book released in 1982 that presents the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and their bloodline continues to the present day.
The novel The Expected One was released. In the book, author Kathleen McGowan claims she is a descendent of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. McGowan expected people to believe this without her providing any proof. The author had originally attempted to get her novel published as a non-fiction book.
New York, NY — Publishing company Hendrick teNeues held a reception at the Gramercy Park Hotel to celebrate the release of the book Katlick School, by Sante D’Orazio. The book features a model shown in a uniform typical of Catholic schoolgirls, and then shows the model in various stages of undress. The model is eventually shown nude except for a pair of thigh-high black boots.
The website marijuana.org claimed that the Bush administration was handing over the United States Supreme Court to the Catholic Church. A statement posted on the website about the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court was even marked by a siren and lights. Marijuana.org claimed that the appointment would be “bad news for marijuana smokers and women in America. Samuel Alito, Jr., who is married and has two children, would become the current court’s fifth Roman Catholic.”
Two celebrities wrote on the Internet site the Huffington Post about anti-Semitic comments that actor/director/producer Mel Gibson made while intoxicated, and took the opportunity to attack religion and the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” respectively. Comedian/commentator Bill Maher wrote:
Why, when Mels’s
Comedy Central began to show on its website the series “Good God.” The series centers on the daily aspects of life in God’s office. According to the Boston College paperThe Heights, “In the series, God appears more as an easily distracted average Joe with a play-before-work mentality that makes him a borderline incompetent CEO.” One episode of “Good God” features Jesus getting arrested for possessing marijuana. In the same episode, God goes to visit Jesus in jail. During an escalating argument, Jesus says to God, “You’re not even my real father.” God replies, “Oh yeah? Let’s see your real dad bail you out on a carpenter’s salary. By the way, until you can prove to me that you still belong, it’s just me and the Holy Ghost.” God also sticks his middle finger at Jesus and says, “F— you.”
The website atheism.about.com featured a section titled “War on Christmas Propaganda Posters” on its image gallery. One of the posters was from World War II, redone to reflect “The War on Christmas” as atheists see it. It showed the bottom part of a soldier’s leg; the leg was stepping on a crèche. The text on the poster read, “CRUSH A CRECHE!: Keep America free from a religious Christmas this year. It’s up to you!”
The cover of Rolling Stone featured a picture of hip-hop artist Kanye West wearing a crown of thorns and blood streaming down his face. Accompanying the picture was an article, “The Passion of Kanye West,” which described the rapper’s self-confessed passion for pornography.
Douglas Currie, in an article in The Weekly Standard, justified an episode of the Comedy Central show “South Park” including a depiction of Jesus defecating on the American flag. Currie wrote that Bill Donohue “missed the point entirely” in “South Park” including such an image. Currie wrote, “It wasn’t Jesus being mocked, it was Comedy Central.” South Park included the depiction in response to not being allowed to broadcast an image of Muhammad.
The Weekly Standard published Donohue’s response. He wrote “Although it’s entirely legitimate to highlight hypocrisy over the Danish cartoons, attempts to do so by gratuitously trashing Christianity… are plainly unjustified.”
Smithsonian printed an article titled “Who Was Mary Magdalene?” in which writer James Carroll, known for his attacks on the Catholic Church, used Mary Magdalene to slander the Church.
Carroll opened his article with the following: “The whole history of western civilization is epitomized in the cult of Mary Magdalene.” He also wrote, “In the gospels several women come into the story of Jesus with great energy, including erotic energy.” The article included numerous other references to sexuality. Carroll concluded, “But what most drove the anti-sexual sexualizing of Mary Magdalene was the male need to dominate women.” Carroll used Gnostic texts, as well as books by authors who don’t agree with Catholic doctrine, to make his point. One of the books Carroll cited was reviewed by Commonweal, a magazine not shy about challenging the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is what the magazine had to say about the book:
Marred with trivial errors of fact, reliance on tendentious sources as well as citations almost always culled from secondary sources (and, thus, mostly unusable), the author trumpets her own prejudices with wearying regularity.
Scholars who subscribe to the magazine and who had received the issue a week before it reached newsstands notified the Catholic League. Bill Donohue responded by sending a letter to the members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, the Board of Regents and the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. The Institution, publisher ofSmithsonian, is government funded. The magazine eventually published an edited version of the letter.
The Catholic League was informed of and sent a booklet, published by a media company called Tomorrow’s World, which claimed the Catholic Church, as well as some Protestant churches, “all have retained dozens of pagan ideas, and practices, that would have been utterly foreign to the early Church! Satan has indeed done a masterful job of creating a counterfeit Christianity.”
The Catholic League was alerted to products sold by the mountain biking magazine Dirt Rag. T-shirts bearing the Sacred Heart and the words “Dirt Rag” were available, as were pint glasses with the same image. The sales pitch for the shirt urged readers to “display your divine love of mountain biking with our new Sacred Heart shirt.” The pint glass was described as “sacred and strong, enduring and ever-lasting, our new sacred heart pint glass fuses the imagery of the Sacred Heart with the pastime of adventurous mortals.”
Frances Swaggart, in her husband Jimmy Swaggart’s magazine The Evangelist, wrote that the Catholic Church’s hierarchy is “outside the Biblical model.” She also wrote, “Church law is a roadblock to the Cross.” The article was part 15 of an ongoing series titled, “Catholicism: A Modern Babylon.”
The Catholic League requested permission from The American Prospect to reprint an article that appeared in the magazine about the reaction to Pope Benedict XVI’s speech at Regensburg University. We were denied permission because of our stances on abortion and gay rights.
The documentary “Rape of the Soul” was released. The movie claims to expose pornographic and satanic images in religious artwork. The documentary also claims some of the artwork was located in Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, and that the Catholic Church has attempted to keep these images from being detected.
The above letter was published in the New York Times on March 6, 2006.
“The Da Vinci Code” opened in movie theaters worldwide, without a disclaimer stating that the film was a work of fiction. The film was based on the Dan Brown novel of the same name. The book includes certain “facts,” which are actually lies. The first of these is that a secret society known as the Priory of Sion has known that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and kept this secret alive. The second “fact” claims that Opus Dei is an evil organization, even though it is actually a Catholic lay group. The third “fact” claimed that the novel was based on historical documents that show the divinity of Jesus was forged in the fourth century.
Bill Donohue saw the movie and said, “This was one of the most inane films I have ever seen.” He said, “It takes forever to get going,” and when it finally does, “fails to sustain the momentum.” He concluded, “because it fails to persuade, this is one movie practicing Christians have nothing to worry about.”
It was announced that “The Da Vinci Code” would open on May 26 in India with the following disclaimer at the beginning and the end of the film: “The characters and incidents portrayed and the names herein are fictitious, and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.” The disclaimer came following negotiations between Sony Pictures and India’s censorship board. Sony had, a week earlier, agreed to put a similar disclaimer at the beginning and the end of “The Da Vinci Code” in Thailand. The Catholic League responded, “Some people will do anything for a buck. Having run up against a brick wall in India and Thailand, Sony caved and delivered on the disclaimer they said wasn’t necessary.” We concluded, “It shouldn’t take the presence of a censorship board to persuade Sony to do the right thing—ethics alone should dictate.”
In a Scripps Howard News Service story, vice president for marketing of Provident Films (owned by Sony) Kris Fuhr was quoted as saying someone at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) told her that the movie “Facing the Giants” was awarded a PG rating because the film “was heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions.”
The Catholic League confirmed Fuhr’s account of the conversation. Attempts to discuss them with the appropriate MPAA employees were unsuccessful. We wrote to MPAA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Glickman on June 13, requesting that Glickman look into the matter, and encouraged our members to contact Glickman as well.
MPAA ratings board chairman Joan Graves contacted us on June 16. She said that although they normally don’t comment to the press about individual films (besides providing ratings and the reasons behind the ratings), because of the misunderstanding in this case, she felt obliged to respond. She said she was the person who spoke with Fuhr. Graves said she told Fuhr that “Facing the Giants” received a PG rating because of other issues, including depression, matters relating to pregnancy and sports-related violence—not for being overtly religious. The Catholic League was satisfied with the response and happy to know the MPAA doesn’t give movies a PG rating for being “too religious.”
A film from writer-director Greg Pritkin titled “Surviving Eden” opened in select cities. The movie is a comedy about a down-on-his luck fellow who wins a “Survivor”-type reality show. It features one character, Sister Agnes O’Malley, who is a vehicle for pot-shots against the church. Sister Agnes is a contestant on the show, which involves living naked on an island. She informs the other characters that not all nuns are virgins. There is also a bit of dialogue between Sister Agnes and another character, Maria. After Sister Agnes reveals she is a nun, Maria says, “That must suck.” When Sister Agnes asks why, Maria responds, “Cause priests only like boys.” The filmmakers included this in the film’s trailer.
The documentary “Deliver Us From Evil” was released. The movie focuses on the predatory behavior of a former priest, Oliver O’Grady, a notorious pedophile. The Catholic League would not find it anti-Catholic, per se, for any director to produce a documentary about sexual abuse in the Church. The reason we objected to “Deliver Us” was that the director of this movie, Amy Berg, was not a disinterested observer.
For example, on the Huffington Post on October 4, Berg wrote,
The Catholic Church would like us to believe that the clergy abuse scandals are behind us. ‘Old news’ they say. But with the revelation that Mark Foley was sexually molested as a teenager by a member of the clergy, this issue is clearly not behind us. It is not old news. We don’t know the full extent of Foley’s abuse as a teenager, but we see clearly how the long term effects of this kind of exploitation, which took place nearly 40 years ago, is causing havoc today in the lives of many people…. If you want to understand more fully the behavior of Congressional leadership, watch the disturbing depositions of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony and his lieutenants in Deliver Us from Evil.
Religion writer Charlotte Allen wrote the following on Beliefnet.com about “Deliver Us”:
Had Berg stuck to this quadrangle of O’Grady, Mahony, the victims, and their parents, she would have had a riveting film. Instead, she decides to turn it all into a generalized anti-Catholic screed. Talking heads appear and reappear, mostly disaffected Catholic priests and victims’ lawyers, who blame priestly celibacy for the O’Grady and numerous other sex-scandals that have recently torn apart the church… Another culprit cited in the film is the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist, the teaching that the bread and wine at Mass become Jesus’s body and blood. How’s that again? Somehow there’s supposed to be a connection, one of the talking heads explains, between denying holy communion to a politician who supports abortion and molesting a youngster… The movie also attempts to finger then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) as responsible for the sexual transgressions and states—falsely—that President Bush granted the pope “amnesty” in a victim’s civil suit. (Actually, a court ruled that there was no jurisdiction over the distant pontiff.)
The Dimension Films movie “Black Christmas” opened in theaters. The horror film is about college girls being terrorized during Christmas. The reason this warrants entry in this report is the people behind the movie: Bob and Harvey Weinstein. They previously gave us movies including “Priest” (about priests who are dysfunctional as a result of being priests), which they attempted to release on Good Friday in 1995, until the Catholic League pressured them to change the date. The Weinsteins were also behind “40 Days and 40 Nights” (about a Catholic who is ridiculed for giving up sex for Lent), which opened during Lent of 2002. The fact that the Weinsteins again chose a holy day to release their latest movie further illustrated their pattern of offenses.
Los Angeles, CA — The pop singer Madonna, during her “Confessions” tour, wore a crown of thorns and hung from a mirrored cross in front of a screen flashing images of the Third World, all while singing her ballad “Live to Tell.” On August 4, she performed the same act in Rome, two miles from the Vatican.
In a published interview, musician Elton John said he would “ban religion completely,” claiming it “has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people.” The singer also contradicted himself, saying, “But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion.”
Washington, DC — The alternative Washington City Paper, in its “Post Secrets” section, printed a picture of Rosary beads with the text, “I use religious icons as masturbation aids.” The same picture with the same text was reprinted in the February 10 edition, accompanying a letter that denounced the paper for printing the picture. The paper titled the letter “Beads of Fury.”
New York, NY — Michael Kimmelman wrote a story in the New York Times, titled “A Startling New Lesson in the Power of Imagery,” about a Danish newspaper publishing cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammed. Kimmelman recalled how the Catholic League protested the 1999 “Sensation” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art that featured a “collage of the Virgin Mary with cutouts from pornographic magazines and shellacked clumps of elephant dung.” Kimmelman noted that in contrast to Muslims, “No protester torched the museum or called for beheading anybody.” The New York Times refused to reprint the cartoons of Muhammed, but on the same page as Kimmelman’s article printed a reproduction of the insulting Virgin Mary portrait.
Chicago, IL — The Chicago Tribune printed a column by cartoonist Pat Oliphant in which the cartoonist criticized a Danish newspaper’s decision to print cartoons of Muhammed that Muslims violently protested. Oliphant wrote, “I have to say that the point of these Danish cartoons eludes me, except as a needless and useless provocation.” He claimed he is able to accomplish his aims “without resorting to gratuitous ridicules of their religion or religious icons attached to it.” The Tribune printed on the same page a reproduction of another of Oliphant’s cartoons that depicted the “Celebration of Spring at St. Paedophila’s—The Annual Running of the Altar Boys.” The cartoon showed priests chasing children out of “Saint Paedophila’s Catholic Church.”
Pittsburgh, PA — The Catholic League contacted Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, to request permission to reprint an anti-Catholic article by Dan Collins from February 10 and the reply from Catholic League board member Robert Lockwood on February 14. McNickle denied our request. On February 19, in response to Lockwood’s commentary, McNickle wrote in the Tribune-Review that he would never be ashamed to print “points of view contrary to the conventional wisdom,” because to do so would mean “the beginning of the end of a robust free press.” He wrote this even though he denied the Catholic League permission to reprint the original articles.
Hartford, CT — The Hartford Courant printed a cartoon by Bob Englehart that showed a monk burning a scientist at the stake for the “crimes of abortion, birth control, evolution, stem cell research….” On the Courant’s website, Englehart wrote that, throughout history, religious conservatives “have tried to stop every human advancement in science, medicine or enlightenment.” In fact, no institution in either western or eastern civilization has pioneered science more than the Catholic Church. The burning of people at the stake was a practice utilized more by secular authorities than ecclesiastical ones.
Chicago, IL — The Chicago Sun-Times ran a long article by a local columnist from another newspaper titled “Bless Me Father, for You Have Sinned: A Suburban Newspaper Columnist Tells the Story of How He Fell Prey to a Predatory Priest.” It was a detailed account of what allegedly happened to him in 1979 at the hands of a now deceased priest. Meanwhile, the Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA) began an eight-day series that focused on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The series looked at sexual abuse by priests over decades and was complete with accounts from alleged victims and portraits of their alleged victimizers. Titles assigned to each story were revealing: “A Culture of Catholicity”; “Victims Tell Their Stories”; “Unholy Fathers”; “Raising the Bar”; “Are the Children Protected”; “The Effect on the Good and Holy”; “The Support Groups” and “Apology and Forgiveness.” The series, as well as the Sun-Timesarticle, singled out the Catholic Church four years after the sex abuse scandal broke. There were no new allegations reported.
Boston, MA — A Boston Globe editorial criticized Massachusetts Governor Mitt Rommey for endorsing a bill that would have allowed Catholic Charities to continue to provide adoption services without servicing gay couples. The editorial lectured Rommey that he was the “governor, not a Catholic bishop,” and it also accused Romney, a Mormon, of “accepting instruction on public policy from the pope.”
Rochester, NY — Frank De Blase, in an article appearing in Rochester’s alternative weekly City Newspaper, called Catholic icon statues “so g–d— morose.” He said the icon statues in his home shared space with “naked lady statues.”
Phoenix, AZ — Robert Pela, in a story written for the Phoenix New Times, called the consuming of the Eucharist “pretending to eat the flesh of God” and the eating of “a hunk of pretend flesh from some dead guy.” The article was titled “Bite o’ Christ.”
San Francisco, CA — In his “Bad Reporter” comic strip in the San Francisco Chronicle, Don Asmussen wrote, “‘A Day Without Homosexuals’ closes the nation’s Catholic churches.” The swipe against the church was a reference to the May 1 rallies in which illegal aliens, and those who support them, did not show up for work and instead rallied for immigrants’ rights in streets around the U.S.
San Francisco, CA — Don Asmussen, in his “Bad Reporter” comic strip in the San Francisco Chronicle, included a panel titled “Louisiana, Missouri rush to ban Jesus’ right to marry.” The panel goes on to detail how Jesus’ “marriage to Mary Magdalene” in one state would not be recognized in another. Asmussen also wrote that this was a result of “The Da Vinci Code,” and how its “plotline has stoked fear throughout red states.”
Nashville, TN — Nashville Scene editor Liz Garrigan wrote in the alternative newspaper about Nashville Bishop David R. Choby, “you’d think he were a cult leader afraid that his flock might actually think for themselves.” The remark was part of a response to a letter the bishop wrote that appeared in the diocesan newspaper the Tennessee Register. Bishop Choby, in his letter, said that a pro-abortion theologian, Daniel C. Maguire of Marquette University, was scheduled to speak at a parish without the Bishop’s endorsement. The theologian’s appearance at the parish was later cancelled.
New Orleans, LA — Movie critic Michael Kleinschrodt, in the Times-Picayune, provided a list of five movies, in addition to “The Da Vinci Code,” “that got a thumbs-down” from the Catholic Church. Kleinschrodt also provided “What’s not to like,” or reasons why the Church objected to each movie. It’s unlikely the paper would show a similar disrespect to Muslims or Jews by providing lists of movies they would not like.
Washington, DC — Columnist Richard Cohen in the Washington Post wrote that Pope Pius XII was “silent” during the Holocaust and that Father Maximilian Kolbe was an anti-Semitic bigot. Cohen also questioned whether Pope Benedict XVI thought “the Nazis were okay” because the pope, in talking about the Holocaust during a visit to Auschwitz, asked, “Why, Lord did you remain silent?”
In fact, on Christmas Day of both 1941 and 1942, The New York Times wrote editorials that praised the pope as a “lonely voice” among an otherwise silent Europe. As for Father Kolbe, another journalist who had, at first, criticized the priest for publishing “an anti-Semitic rag” later retracted this comment, and said Kolbe acted charitably toward Jews. As for Cohen’s comment on Pope Benedict XVI wondering whether the Nazis were okay, this remark was so outrageously indecent that it is better to let it stand without a rejoinder.
White Plains, NY — The Journal News printed an article with the headline “Catholic schoolboy, 13, accused of drug possession.” This article, and two follow-up articles on June 15, gratuitously highlighted the fact that the boy and a girl involved in the incident were Catholic.
Portland, OR — The Portland Tribune featured an article about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a self-described “Order of queer nuns” who are really men. The headline of the article read, “Nuns with condoms and fake lashes? Don’t tell the pope!”
Rapid City, SD — An editorial in the Rapid City Journal had this to say about Governor Mike Rounds’ decision to halt an execution: “With one stroke of the pen, Gov. Rounds managed to satisfy death penalty opponents and his pro-life Catholic base while saying to law-and-order constituents that he favors the death penalty—but it has to [be] done legally.” While this may not prove bias, it emitted an unnecessary odor.
Wading River, NY — Wading River Baptist Church began a series of advertisements in the weekly Community Journal that attacked the Catholic Church. The first ad on September 21 attacked the pope’s authority, saying, “We must remember that New Testament Christianity knows nothing about any ecclesiastical hierarchy consisting of priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, or a pope.” The second ad on September 28 questioned the Catholic Church as the interpreter of scripture, saying, “No lay person has the authorization to make a final determination as to the interpretation of the biblical text.” The third ad on October 5 questioned the clerical hierarchy of the Catholic Church, writing,
Jesus, in teaching his disciples how to address religious leaders, was saying to them that sinful men are not to be given unwarranted spiritual authority. Nevertheless, Rome has established its own hierarchy consisting of priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and the pope.
East Hampton, NY — The Independent printed an article, written by Rick Murphy, about St. John Vianney’s heart, and the fact that it was touring different parishes. In the article, Murphy ridiculed the idea of the heart on tour, joking that it may “be opening for the Rolling Stones….” He also wrote, “Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Center [sic] is scheduled to offer mass while the Heart is on display in Merrick. A spokesman assured there will be no little boys molested during the show.”
Philadelphia, PA — The Evening Bulletin ran a syndicated cartoon in which cartoonist Mike Shelton used former Congressman Mark Foley’s disgrace to paint all Catholic priests as sex abusers. The cartoon itself did not surprise us, but Bulletin publisher Thomas G. Rice took the extraordinary step of printing an apology in his paper and the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s Catholic Standard and Times. He also stated that he was not aware of the cartoon’s content prior to the paper going to press. He nonetheless took responsibility for it appearing in The Evening Bulletin.
Philadelphia, PA — The Philadelphia Daily News printed the following letter from a reader:
Recently, I’ve read a number articles reporting how the Catholic faith has been praying for the Amish community. Don’t the Amish have enough difficulties? Isn’t that arguably the equivalent of Charles Manson praying for Gandhi?
The Catholic League dismissed the writer as a typical anti-Catholic bigot. Our concern was rather with the Daily News’s decision to print this letter. Since newspapers print letters at their discretion, we wondered if the Daily News editors shared this letter writer’s views.
October 25, 2006
San Francisco, CA — San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Don Asmussen featured a fake New York Times cover story with the headline “Vatican to consider removing saunas from U.S. churches.” Below that, the faux story read, “Pope Benedict admits the rooms may be ‘a thing from another time.'” Accompanying the text was a photo of two scantily clad men.
Syndicated columnist Dear Abby (Jeanne Phillips) had this to say about a priest who made a remark on a wedding video that the bride found offensive: “I can think of only one excuse for your priest’s behavior—he must have had two sips too many of the sacramental wine.”
Syndicated cartoonist Mike Luckovich’s comic featured a priest talking to a layman in a church. The priest points to a booth with his right index finger and a door with his left thumb. He says to the layman, “That’s the confession booth. This is the closet where we keep the gays.” The door where the church “keeps the gays” is overflowing with people.
Washington, DC — Washington Post Magazine featured an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with the heart replaced by the symbol of the Democratic Party, a donkey.
Minneapolis, MN — In the alternative weekly City Pages, Scott Foundas wrote a review of the film “The Nativity Story” titled “Knocked Up.” Above the headline was another attention grabber that read, “Conception is far from immaculate in teenybop ‘Nativity Story.'” In the article, Foundas wrote, “it’s clear that underage moms having babies out of wedlock was no more fashionable back then than it is today, even if the father did happen to be The Father.” A picture of Keisha Castle Hughes, the actress who plays Mary, accompanied the article; below the picture was a caption that read “Mary, not quite contrary: Keisha Castle-Hughes in ‘The Nativity Story.'”
San Francisco, CA — Columnist Mark Morford, discussing the subject of meat in theSan Francisco Chronicle, wrote of “all those millions of pounds of ozone-eating methane gasses the cows expel like the Catholic Church pumps out misogyny.”
Potsdam, NY — The Daily Courier Observer printed a cartoon by Rick Stromoski that ridicules the Eucharist. In the comic, one boy asks another if he believes that we consume the body and blood of Christ. The other boy answers that it doesn’t matter, because his family is vegetarian.
Philadelphia, PA — Carlin Romano, writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, accused Pope Benedict XVI, when he visited Turkey, of not condemning the Armenia genocide that took place in Turkey in 1915. He also suggested that the reason the pope did not condemn the genocide is because the victims were “non-Catholic Christians.” In fact, the pope made mention of “very tragic circumstances such as those experienced in the last century” without getting too specific. He did this because, as Patriarch Mesrob II said, “It would have been a huge headache for us” if the pope used the term “genocide.” Romano’s comments in the Inquirer smacked of pure ignorance.
Washington, DC — Harold Meyerson wrote the following about Pope John Paul II in theWashington Post:
John Paul also sought to build his church in nations of the developing world where traditional morality and bigotry, most especially on matters sexual, were in greater supply than in secular Europe and the increasingly egalitarian United States, and more in sync with the Catholic Church’s inimitable backwardness.
This statement smacked of elitism, anti-Catholicism and racism.
Trenton, NJ — Craig Carton and Ray Rossi, hosts of the “Jersey Guys” radio show on WKXW (105.1 FM), discussed a group of Catholic high school students who protested the opening of a strip club in their neighborhood. The hosts suggested bringing the boys to the strip club and dressing the strippers like nuns. One of the hosts mentioned a stripper doing something sexual with Rosary beads. They also suggested selling Communion wafers at the strip club for $2 a hit and giving out all the red wine people can drink. After a letter from the Catholic League, the station’s program director admitted the radio hosts were out of line and stated that he instructed them not to make such comments in the future.
Syndicated talk-show host Michael Savage said the Catholic Church is pro-immigration because it needed to “bring in people from the Third World who are still gullible enough to sit there and listen to the molesters.” He also said that the church needed to “import dummies.”
Bill Donohue was scheduled to appear on Savage’s radio show that day. During the pre-interview (a half hour before Savage’s comments on the church), Donohue let a producer know he did not share Savage’s position. The producer, after checking with Savage, told Donohue he would not appear on the show. Days later, Savage spent the better part of an hour discussing Donohue’s response to the radio host’s tirade.
On his CBS radio show, Penn Jillette said that Mother Teresa “had this weird kink that I think was sexual” about seeing people suffer and die. He also said, “Paris Hilton is so far above Mother Teresa on the moral scale.” Jillette made the comments in reply to a rumor that Hilton might play Mother Teresa in a movie. The Catholic League demanded that CBS Radio fire Jillette, warned that CBS needed to protect its reputation and had better take some disciplinary action. Bill Donohue then had a confidential discussion with CBS officials, after which he said it’s highly unlikely the problem would need revisiting.
Los Angeles, CA — Al Rantel on his KABC radio program said of Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Cardinal Mahony, “Cardinal Phony pretends he’s interested in social justice for Mexicans, when all Mahony wants is to fill the pews with people who will fill the Church’s coffers to pay for pedophilia.” He was referring to Cardinal Mahony calling for a day of fasting and prayer over the immigration issue.
Los Angeles, CA — Rob Nelson, a substitute host for Al Rantel on KABC radio, talked about Archbishop Roger Cardinal Mahony’s call for a day of fasting and prayer. He said that Mahony was a phony and that the Church is hypocritical. He also stated that if Jesus were to come back to earth, the first thing that he would do is destroy the Catholic Church.
In an interview with Associated Press Radio, actor-producer Rob Reiner spoke of Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic remarks after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Reiner used the drunken incident to label Gibson’s work as anti-Semitic. He said Gibson must acknowledge that “his work reflects anti-Semitism,” particularly “The Passion of the Christ.” Reiner also said,
When he comes to the understanding that he has done that, and can come out and say, you know, “My views have been reflected in my work and I feel bad that I’ve done that,” then that will be the beginning of some reconciliation for him.
November 3, 2006
On the “Opie & Anthony Show,” co-hosts Opie, Anthony and Jim Norton were discussing the movie “A League of Their Own,” specifically the character “All The Way Mae,” who in the movie is implied to be promiscuous. Opie mentioned that his great aunt Mae played in the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Jim Norton then described Opie’s great aunt having sex in an alley. Opie also mentioned this aunt has been a nun her whole life. Norton followed with another description of a sexual encounter, saying that was the reason Opie’s aunt became a nun.
The NBC medical drama “ER” aired an episode titled “If Not Now” about a 15 year-old girl who was raped and became pregnant. Her parents were pro-life and believed she should carry the baby to term. The girl consulted with a Catholic doctor, named Doctor Kovach, at the hospital. Another doctor believed they should have someone else counsel the girl, someone who isn’t Catholic. After thinking it over, Dr. Kovach concluded that the girl should have an abortion. He inserted a device into the girl that aborted the baby, and urged her to tell her parents that she miscarried. The girl asked the doctor if what she did was a sin and he told her that it was not. As he inserted the device, Dr. Kovach quoted the Bible in an attempt to reassure her that there is no life before birth.
The comedy/drama “The Book of Daniel” debuted on NBC. The show chronicled the life of an Episcopal priest addicted to painkillers. The priest’s family included a wife who was a drunk, a drug-dealing daughter, a homosexual son, another son who was a womanizer, a bisexual sister-in-law, a thieving brother-in-law, and the priest’s father who was an adulterer. A Catholic priest had ties to the mafia. Jack Kenny, a self-described “recovering Catholic,” wrote the show. The program was canceled after only four episodes.
The ABC program “Boston Legal” featured a girl who was raped and became pregnant. She sued the Catholic hospital that treated her because it denied her emergency contraception. Thus did she invite the state to trump Catholic doctrinal prerogatives.
A Carlos Mencia standup comedy special that aired on Comedy Central featured a 20-foot-tall marionette of a lollipop-holding, pedophile priest as the backdrop of the stage. Mencia also delivered a five-minute monologue on the pope going to heaven and engaging in bizarre sexual practices. Mencia began his rant with this comment: “The pope is in heaven finally getting some good
During Mencia’s special, a commercial aired for the new season of his program “Mind of Mencia” on Comedy Central. It depicted a priest sitting on a park bench reading a Bible. A group of Boy Scouts walked by and the priest stared at them. Mencia was seated next to the priest on the bench and turned to him after the Boy Scouts walked off with a disgusted look on his face. As Mencia opened his mouth to make a comment a voiceover said: “Warning: The contents of Carlos Mencia’s mind may contain jokes about religious figures and their hobbies. Not recommended for people who write hate mail. You think it, Carlos says it.”
On the NBC program, “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” host Jay Leno associated the Catholic Church with accused child molester Michael Jackson. Leno stated: “Last week authorities shut down Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Hey guys, what’s the hurry? You thought FEMA was slow to respond to a crisis. More bad news, you know who bought it? The Catholic Church.”
The second season of the Comedy Central program “Mind of Mencia” began with the show’s host, Carlos Mencia, in a confessional asking for forgiveness for making fun of everyone last season. He told the “priest” that he did not want to do the same thing this year. The “priest” told him that there is nothing to forgive and that God loves him. The “priest” said that God was even a big fan of his. Mencia asked if God got mad when he “makes fun of beaners, crackers and big fat whores.” The “priest” told him that God made those big fat whores and thought that Mencia could go even further in his mockery. Mencia asked, “In the name of God?” And the “priest” answered “yes.” Mencia said, “This is the s–t [Then he made the sign of the cross]. I am a mother-f—ing messenger of God. It’s on b–ch. Season two.” After Mencia left the confessional, the priest’s door opened, revealing the devil. The devil said, “I can’t believe he bought that s–t.”
The NBC sitcom “Scrubs” featured a Catholic priest character who said he was pro-choice. During the show a doctor yelled out “abort the babies.” When the doctor later apologized to the priest for making the statement, the priest responded, “That is ok, I am pro-choice.”
VH1’s program “Best Week Ever” included a skit called “Father 90210,” in which comedian Greg Fitzsimmons played a Catholic priest who heard the confessions of celebrities. After asking Sharon Stone (the footage of Stone was from the film “Basic Instinct 2”) to cross her legs, Father 90210 said, “I’m not even gonna ask what you did with those rosary beads.” Father 90210 advised Jessica Simpson to “adopt a mile of highway” instead of adopting children. Lastly, after Paris Hilton confessed “to everything,” Father 90210 verbally reprimanded her, using expletives that were edited out. None of the celebrities were present for the skit and did not participate in the show.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Chairman Vince McMahon ridiculed religion in an episode of the WWE program “Raw.” McMahon, among many offenses, tried to wash his hands with holy water and came up with his own list of commandments, which included, “I am the boss. There are no other bosses before me.” On an April 17 broadcast of “Raw,” McMahon announced that he had created his own religion called McMahonism, the idea that Vince McMahon is the lord, master and god of all sports entertainment.
The History Channel aired a documentary in which Pope Pius XII is falsely accused of doing virtually nothing to help Jews and those who opposed the Nazis in two separate incidents in Rome during World War II.
The Documentary Channel aired “Women In Black” throughout the month. The documentary has been described as “a kaleidoscope of baby boomers’ memories” with adults describing “childhood experiences of physical and psychological punishment during their education by Catholic nuns, especially in the Fifties and Sixties.” Claudia Sherwood, who directed the film, said she actually “became ill at times when research required me to contact the archdiocese, a nun or clergy.” Additionally, a Catholic League member notified us that he saw this same documentary on the Discovery Channel in December.
Cable television channel A&E aired a documentary based on the work of Simon Cox, an author who had researched the “facts” behind Dan Brown’s novel Angels & Demons. The documentary, which was aired three times, is filled with lies and inaccuracies about the Catholic Church and Jesus. The people interviewed for the documentary claim, among other things, that the Catholic Church teaches that Peter was the first person to see Jesus when he rose from the dead (the Church does not teach that), the church is anti-science (in fact, no institution has contributed more to science than the Catholic Church) and “would still kill Galileo today” (Galileo was not killed). Had A&E accessed serious scholars, these embarrassing errors would have been avoided.
Standup comedian Carlos Mencia, in his weekly Comedy Central program “Mind of Mencia,” performed a History Channel-type spoof depicting Jesus’s life if he had married Mary Magdalene. Among the scenes depicted: Jesus returning to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection and Mary claiming Jesus cheated on him.
The Catholic League received an e-mail message about a cable access program that discusses where the Catholic Church has “gone wrong.” The program “What Every Catholic Should Know” is hosted by former Catholic priest Richard Bennett and was available in 13 cities around the U.S. According to a website for the program, the show’s goal is to “simply call the Roman Catholic individual to examine carefully the contradictions between the Bible and the Catholic Catechism.”
On NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” host Jay Leno made the following joke regarding Jack Black in the movie “Nacho Libre”: “He plays a priest who moonlights as a wrestler. Well, that’s got to be every altar boy’s worst nightmare.”
ABC’s “World News Tonight” aired a report that led viewers to believe eight women would be ordained Catholic priests. The focal point of the story was the Episcopal Church electing its first female presiding bishop. In ABC’s coverage, the story included the following:
Most evangelical denominations and the Catholic Church steadfastly refuse to ordain women. However, that is changing. In late July, Joan Clark Hauk [sic], a grandmother from Pennsylvania, will be ordained as a Catholic priest, along with seven other women. It will be the first ceremony of its kind in this country, but one the Vatican will not condone.
The problem with this report was that it gave Houk’s “ordination” credence, which it did not deserve. The Catholic League sent a letter to ABC News requesting that ABC make an on-air clarification. On June 21, we received a letter from Greg Macek, associate director of news practices at ABC News. His letter, while respectful, was not satisfactory: he disputed the Catholic League’s view, saying he didn’t think the story was skewed.
On NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” host Jay Leno said in his opening monologue, “Paris Hilton announced that she was going to be celibate for an entire year…. Celibate for a year. That is longer than most Catholic priests.”
Village Voice writer Michael Musto, as a guest on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” commented on Mel Gibson’s drunken, anti-Semitic remarks about Jews subsequent to an arrest. Musto was not content to simply criticize Gibson’s behavior. He took the opportunity to lash out at Christians when he said, “He doesn’t work with anybody else, and his audience is already deeply anti-Semitic, so they’re deeply proud of him after this.”
Comedy Central re-broadcast 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 last year, 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.”
On the HBO comedy “Lucky Louie,” a priest absolves Louie of his sins in a confessional even though he knows Louie is not Catholic. When Louie is told to stop eating in church, he responds, “They are all up there eating Jesus, why can’t I have this?”
In an episode of the FX drama “Rescue Me,” Tommy (played by Denis Leary) comes home to discover his roommate Lou has had sex with a nun. Lou tells Tommy, “She’s only been with two other guys. One was some clown way back in high school, and the other is, you know [covers his mouth and muffles the next word], Jesus.” Lou tells Tommy that the nun is leaving the order at the end of the month. Tommy asks if that means the nun is cheating on Jesus with Lou. Lou responds, “I got a hundred pounds on the guy and look [holds up his hands], no holes in my hands. Bring it on, Jesus!”
NBC began airing the children’s animated television show “Veggie Tales,” which tells Biblical stories with vegetables for characters, with references to God and the Bible removed.
Actress-comedienne Rosie O’Donnell, in just her sixth show as co-host of ABC’s “The View,” said, “Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state.”
KFI radio host Bill Handel made the following remark on Glenn Beck’s television show on CNN Headline News, when asked if he was “coming out” (revealing he was gay): “No, I’m not coming out. Listen, let me tell you. No, I’m not. I’ve never been an altar boy. I’ve never had the experience.”
On ABC’s “The View,” Rosie O’Donnell made fun of the Catholic Church’s teaching on receiving the Eucharist. She said
Oh, well it was big because my mother used to say when you have that Host in your mouth don’t let it touch your teeth because it was against (inaudible) so you know the pressure on the child getting it, you know the priest would put it right on your tongue [Rosie twists her face pretending to swallow it without having it touch her teeth].
What happened on the show was not an extension of “Sister Act” comedy—it was a below-the-belt attack on Catholicism.
On the Fox program “Mad TV,” a skit used the pope’s address at the University of Regensburg to smear the Catholic Church. In the skit, a child (played by an adult) reads a newscast, while crayon drawings are shown. The child reads, “Daddy says the pope said those things because he’s a celebrit [sic] and has blue balls which make you frustrated. Daddy also says there’s plenty of love to go around the Catholic Church.” During this last line, a drawing of a priest between two altar boys is shown. The picture that followed showed the altar boys not wearing any pants.
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) aired a documentary that accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) of covering up sexual abuse in the priesthood for 20 years. The documentary also claimed Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge of enforcing a 1962 Vatican document that was allegedly written to cover up these crimes. Cardinal Ratzinger was, in fact, not put in charge of investigating the sexual abuse scandal until after it broke in 2002. In addition, the 1962 document imposed harsher penalties on priests who in any way make a sexual advance. The document also penalized anyone who learned of sexual abuse and did not inform the bishop within 30 days. In essence, the documentary warranted an apology from the BBC for its false claims.
On ABC’s “The View,” Rosie O’Donnell falsely claimed, “the person who was in charge of investigating all the allegations of pedophiles in the Catholic Church from the eighties until just recently was guess who. The current pope.” She said her source was the movie “Deliver Us From Evil.”
On an episode of the ABC television show “Ugly Betty,” Betty’s family watched a Spanish-language soap opera. In the soap opera, a pregnant woman and a priest passionately kissed and touched each other. The priest was holding a Bible and a rosary in one hand. The pregnant woman pulled back, slapped the priest, and said (in Spanish) “I am naming him after his father… Father!” The priest made the sign of the cross and said something in Spanish. The pregnant woman then grabbed the priest and they returned to their kissing and touching.
On CNN’s “American Morning,” cartoonist Mike Luckovich was interviewed. The interview began with a conversation about the Mark Foley scandal. During his exchange with anchor Miles O’Brien, one of Luckovich’s cartoons was shown, and the cartoonist said,
The new pope wanted to—wants to ban homosexual priests, so you are going to have to lose 80 percent of the priesthood if that happens. But—so I’ve got a bishop here saying—he’s looking down at his vestments, and he’s saying, ” Does this make me look gay?”
Luckovich also said, “I was thinking about maybe making [Speaker of the House] Denny Hastert maybe like an archbishop and somehow, you know, making the comparison that way.” Hastert, during this time, had been accused of knowing about disgraced congressman Mark Foley’s inappropriate e-mail messages to Congressional pages and not doing anything about it.
On an episode of the ABC drama “Boston Legal,” a homeless man was on trial for cremating his friend and eating a portion of that friend’s leg. During the trial, the homeless man’s lawyer says,
One billion and half Christians routinely go to church on Sundays and ceremoniously eat the body of Christ. Drink his blood. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him. Jesus said that.
The judge responded, “How dare you take the Holy Sacrament literally?” The judge also said, “You have acquainted it with a vile and despicable act.” The lawyer responded, “I apologize your honor. I certainly don’t mean to indict Holy Communion.”
On ABC’s “The View,” Joy Behar had this to say about Mel Gibson, following his interview on “Good Morning America” during which he discussed his drunken, anti-Semitic remarks: “I can’t stand him. [To co-host Barbara Walters] You should do a special, ‘The Ten People You Will Meet In Hell.'” Behar also referred to “The Passion of the Christ” as “a somewhat anti-Semitic movie.” She said Gibson “needs to be taken out of show business.” When Walters read a letter from a viewer pointing out that it’s okay to say bad things about Catholics and Christians, but not okay to say anything bad about Jews, Behar replied, “You can arouse people’s anti-Semitic feelings very easily and it is not like just a joke. It becomes ‘Lets round them up and kill them.'”
NBC announced it would cut Madonna’s “mock crucifixion” segment from the singer’s concert special. NBC decided to make this edit after pressure of a boycott. On September 29, a letter was sent to NBC Universal Chairman and CEO Bob Wright by Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, and Bill Donohue, warning Wright that they would organize a boycott of one of the sponsors of the concert special if the “Mock Crucifixion” part were not excised. In addition to the Catholic League and the Parents Television Council, the following groups said they would have joined the boycott: American Family Association, Morley Institute, Christian Film and Television Commission, Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, Traditional Values Coalition and Women Influencing the Nation.
On an episode of the CBS drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (the episode was titled “Double Cross”), a woman was found crucified in a church. A priest admitted to having had sex with the victim and said he was responsible for the woman’s death, but did not kill her. The priest later admitted to killing the woman, but Gil Grissom, the lead investigator, didn’t believe him. When told that the priest confessed to the murder, Grissom responded, “He is a Catholic. They are full of guilt.” It is later revealed that another person, not the priest, committed the murder.
Amy Berg, the producer of the film “Deliver Us From Evil” (about a predatory, pedophilic former priest), was a guest on ABC’s “The View.” Co-host Joy Behar stated that priests guilty of molestation were pedophiles and not gays, ignoring data to the contrary. Another lie (or mistake) occurred when co-host Rosie O’Donnell and Berg concurred, “The current pope was the person who was supposed to investigate these charges of sex abuse in the Church in the last 20 years.”
On ABC’s “The View”, the co-hosts discussed the fate of someone who acts in a pornographic movie. Joy Behar said, “In my day if you had done a porno flick, you would not have a career. You would have ended up at the Sisters of the Mary Magdalene.” She added, “They put you away in a home. Now you become a big star.”
In an episode of CBS’s “Without A Trace,” a girl was missing after a priest performed an exorcism of her. One FBI agent who was assigned to investigate the case stated he believed in turning himself over to a higher power but not in the hocus pocus of exorcisms. It was later discovered that the priest and the exorcism had nothing to do with the girl’s disappearance.
On ABC’s “The View,” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck demonstrated one of the rules of hunting by stretching her arms out. Co-host Joy Behar commented, “Notice the Christ-like position she puts herself in.”
On the Fox News television program “The O’Reilly Factor,” host Bill O’Reilly responded to a comment by a cardinal from the Vatican regarding immigration. Cardinal Renato Martino used the word “inhuman” to describe the idea of putting up walls along the United States-Mexican border. In covering this story, O’Reilly said that “the Vatican is calling the proposed fence on the southern border inhuman.” As he said this, a picture of the pope was shown on the screen. O’Reilly was incorrect in attributing what Cardinal Martino said to the Vatican. O’Reilly also said “the Vatican needs to wise up or shut up.” Simply disagreeing with the Vatican would not warrant entry in the Catholic League’s Annual Report, but disrespectfulness such as this is another matter.
On the website for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” a poll was posted that asked, “Should Catholic Priests Be Allowed to Marry?” The poll was open to anyone, thus allowing non-Catholics to voice their opinions on an internal stricture of the Catholic Church. The Catholic League responded by releasing its own poll asking people of all backgrounds, “Should Orthodox Jews Be Allowed to Eat Ham Sandwiches?” and “Should Muslim Women Be Allowed to Wear Mini Skirts?” We asked that people send their responses to the supervising producer of “Good Morning America.”
New York, NY — On the WNYE program “Backdrop NYC,” the short film “Jesus Henry Christ” was shown. The film is about a Catholic school that suppressed the ideas of one of its students; the student expressed the idea that Karl Marx was a hero. The student was sent to the school’s principal, a priest, who proceeded to paddle the boy. The speaker system in the principal’s office transmitted the paddling for the entire school to hear.
Comedy Central featured a series of shows and movies they called “Sacrilicious Sunday.” Included in the day’s events were the movies “40 Days and 40 Nights” (about a Catholic who is ridiculed for giving up sex for Lent), “Dogma” (which, among other things, has a descendent of Jesus working in an abortion clinic) and “Superstar” (a Catholic school student is convinced she smells bad). Also included in the lineup was Carlos Mencia, the comedian who did a show on the sex life of Pope John Paul II in heaven.
The Cartoon Network aired a special Christmas episode of the show “Moral Orel.” In this episode, Orel believes his brother Shapey is the second coming of Jesus Christ. During one part of the show, Shapey trashes a nativity scene. Orel, seeing the Jesus statue lying on the sidewalk, trashes the rest of the nativity.