On December 14, two shows were aired that treated with disrespect Jesus, Mary and Joseph and generally caricatured Catholic beliefs and traditions. Saturday Night Live andMad 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 offered the following comment to the press:

“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.”

Donohue sent a letter to both shows expressing his outrage. Members can send letters to: Mr. Lorne Michaels, Executive Producer, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Rm. 1719, New York, New York, 10112; and to Ms. Emily 

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