On May 5 and 7, CBS aired the mini-series, A Season in Purgatory, based on the novel by Dominick Dunne. It was vintage Catholic baiting as the following selections from the show indicate. The transcript was made available thanks to the Media Research Center, headed by Brent Bozell.
“A Season in Purgatory is the story of the wealthy, influential Bradley family. The father uses his wealth to get everything he wants, including covering up his son’s crime of murder. Harry and Constant grew up in a Catholic school. One night Constant murders a young girl next door, and Harry helps him bury the body. Mr. Bradley pays off Harry in order to keep the secret. Even the mother, who is a devout Catholic, lies to the police and says that Constant wasn’t involved, when she knows that he did it. Mr. Bradley pretends to be a devout Catholic, but is only interested in his own good.”
TOPIC: CATHOLIC Kit tells Harrison that she and her friends talk about sex all of the time at Sacred Heart, the Catholic school she attends. She then says, “God, if the nuns only knew. Poor nunny bunnies.”
TOPIC: CATHOLIC Mr. Bradley has the Cardinal talk with the Director of Constant’s parochial school. The Cardinal convinces the director to let Constant back in after he was expelled for having porno pictures. Shows the Cardinal to be easily persuaded when an important wealthy businessman asks him for a favor.
TOPIC: VIOLENCE Constant rapes and then kills the girl next door.
TOPIC: CATHOLIC The mother is a devout Catholic, however she covers up for Constant by telling the girl’s mother that Constant was in bed asleep during the time of the girl’s death.
TOPIC: CATHOLIC Constant’s lawyer asks the family to look very “holy,” in order to portray wholesomeness in public.
TOPIC: CATHOLIC Constant and his mother go on a national television show and talk about how Constant has always gone to Mass and that no one who is so dedicated could commit such a crime.
TOPIC: CATHOLIC The head of the Catholic school that Harry and Constant attended confesses that he withheld information when the police asked him about the murder 13 years ago. He did so because the foundation for the new Bradley building at the school had just been put down and he felt he owed it to the family.
The Catholic League registered its concerns to CBS in the following letter sent by Dr. Donohue to CBS CEO Michael Jordan. “Enclosed you will find a partial transcript of your May 5 showing of A Season in Purgatory. It is one more example of the preoccupation that some in the media have with Catholics and the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, given the way CBS likes to portray Catholicism, it is a preoccupation that raises serious questions about the intentions of your writers and producers. It just won’t do for us to get another ‘If you were offended, we’re sorry’ letter: did you think Catholics wouldn’t be offended? And it is a sad statement on CBS’s part that no one was offended when the script was presented.”
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