Last Saturday, December 14, two shows were aired that treated with disrespect Jesus, Mary and Joseph and generally caricatured Catholic beliefs and traditions. Saturday Night Live and Mad TV  were replete with comedic attempts that disparaged Catholicism.

In Saturday Night Live, Rosie O’Donnell and Penny Marshall were portrayed as buffoon nuns. The nun played by Marshall was shown drinking liquor from a flask, and in another skit O’Donnell was shown speaking derisively of a nativity scene. In yet another scene, a figure of Baby Jesus was thrown to the ground.

Mad TV also caricatured the nativity scene with derision. Jesus was made the butt of laughter and a woman who played Our Blessed Mother announced, “The Virgin has arrived.” Mary spoke caustically of the Three Wise Men because the “cheap bastards” didn’t bring any gifts. A figure of Baby Jesus was thrown to the ground.

William Donohue of the Catholic League commented as follows:

“I know of no other religion which is treated with such utter disrespect on TV than Catholicism. Saturday Night Live and Mad TV are just the latest contributors to this effort. By choosing the Christmas season to slam Catholicism, the actors, writers, directors and producers of these programs show their hand as clear as day.

“That no figure of parallel significance to Jesus from any other religion is ever treated this way is revealing. It is not because the producers fear backlash from other religions, it is because such insult would offend their own moral code; it is a code which does not include respect for Catholics.

“It would be a worthwhile exercise for those in the entertainment industry to hold a symposium explaining to the public the source of their animus against Catholicism. But given the unethical treatment they accord Catholics, it is not likely they could do so without lying.”

The Catholic League is the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. It defends individual Catholics and the institutional Church from defamation and discrimination.

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