The Catholic League has had an interesting relationship with HBO (Home Box Office) over the years. The bad news is that HBO airs its share of shows that are offensive to Catholics; the good news is that when we complain, they listen and make changes. Such was the case with the Denis Leary “Lock-N-Load” comedy show.

League members who saw the show called to complain. “The worst that I have ever seen.” “Totally blasphemous.” “Easily the most blasphemous, ranting, filthy-mouthed non-comedian I have ever heard or seen on TV.” Considering what Leary did, these remarks were hardly an overreaction.

The Catholic League conveyed its thoughts to HBO: “There are simply no words to adequately describe the offensiveness of this act—from Leary’s opening jokes about the crucifixion of Christ; to his flagrant determination to shock and offend by being flanked by sacred Catholic images throughout his orgy of profanity; to the closing segment in which he ridicules and caricatures priests and the sacraments, and hurls obscenities at Pope John Paul II.”

What was particularly disturbing about this show was Leary’s unmistakable intent: in an interview he had earlier granted to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Leary said he planned to use the show to defame the Catholic Church.

An HBO senior official whom William Donohue has dealt with previously responded in a professional manner. After hearing from the league, both he and the president of HBO watched the show and were also taken aback. They agreed it was outrageous and pledged not to air it again.

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