The March 8 premier of the “George Wendt Show” was a crude portrayal of the Catholic religious and clergy. It stereotyped nuns and priests in a most negative fashion, it repeatedly trotted out the old canard about “Catholic guilt” and it took liberties with statues of Catholic saints. But most disturbing was the way the Irish priest was characterized: he was not only cruel, he was fundamentally dishonest. From beginning to end, the show seemed designed to insult Catholics.
Dr. William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League, issued this remark about the show:
“It is no wonder that Variety labeled the script of the ‘George Wendt Show’ as a ‘mean, even vicious’ attack on the Catholic Church. It was surely that. But it was also one more example of the duplicity of CBS. This is the same network that would not dare offend African Americans with negative stereotypes, and that is why CBS refuses to show the reruns of ‘Amos and Andy.’
“We will notify our 200,000 members and every bishop in the United States about this show. And we won’t forget to contact the sponsors as well. If the producers of the ‘George Wendt Show’ think that this program was just fun and games, then I would ask that they persuade the officials at CBS to bring back ‘Amos and Andy.’ If this is unacceptable, we would surely want to know why.”
The Catholic League is the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. It defends the right of Catholics-lay and clergy alike-to participate in American society without defamation or discrimination.