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Syndicated radio host Rabbi Shmuley Boteach accused Pope Pius XII of “mass kidnapping” of baptized Jewish children who were saved from the Nazis by the Catholic Church. He based his charge on an unsigned 1946 memo by an unknown writer that was found in a French church archive. The memo was soon discovered to be an inaccurate summary of an official Vatican document that called for the return of Jewish children to their families, even if baptized. Of Pius, Rabbi Boteach referred to “the rancid and hateful morals that defined this profound religious hypocrite.”
Landoverbaptist.org is a website dedicated to mocking the Catholic Church. The titles of articles posted on the website include, “The Shrine of The Virgin Mother’s Impenetrable Vagina” and “The Pope’s Message from Hell.” The site also features a store in which to purchase anti-Catholic buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers and even a “Holy Thong” with a picture of Jesus on it.
Misspoppy.com, an Internet store affiliated with the Landoverbaptist.org website, offers items like “Jesus Soap-on-a-Rope,” “psychedelic Crucifix Pope” and “What Would Jesus Do?” underwear.
Benjamin Uticone wrote on the “Online Journal” website that the religious right was the Taliban, “Except for headscarves and differing opinions on the topic of pork.” He also wrote that William Donohue “ought to spend less time telling people in AIDS ravaged Africa not to use condoms, and more time making sure that your priests aren’t raping children.”
The Internet site, cafepress.com, sold a bumper sticker that read, “So Many Right-Wing Christians, So Few Lions.”
An ad appeared on the Worldnetdaily.com website for the anti-Catholic group Tomorrow’s World. The group claims that the pope is the anti-Christ and that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon. An article about the “Anti-Christ” by Roderick C. Meredith stated, “Recent news reports from many nations have indicated that Roman Catholic persecution against religious minorities continues. Although the Roman Catholic Church has learned to smile and act agreeably in nations where Protestants or others are in the majority, the old demons of hate and authoritarianism come out very quickly when it is in control.”
CBS producer Bruce Rheins sought a patent for a wine he called “Jesus Juice.” This is the name that pop-singer Michael Jackson used when he allegedly served wine to his young accuser. On the label of the Merlot wine is a picture of Jackson in the image of Christ on the cross. Cafepress.com was the website where he was advertising the wine before it was pulled.
Christopher Dickey wrote in the “Periscope” section of Newsweek about Pope John Paul II’s health, saying he refuses to step aside and let someone else take his place. In an article entitled, “He has Willpower—But No Living Will,” Dickey questioned why the pope continued to make public appearances while sick. Dickey also said that “Even as the aged pope’s body shuts down in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease, his will to live—and impose his will on the Roman Catholic faithful—remains as stubborn as ever.”
William Donohue responded with the following statement: “When presidents like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt continue in office despite poor health, they are regarded as courageous, even heroic. But not Pope John Paul II—he has a duty to die. That’s because the pope, unlike presidents, stubbornly imposes his will on the people. What is really astonishing—and maybe Dickey could address this—is the extent to which this dictatorial pope is loved the world over.”
The Protestant magazine Christian Century published an editorial saying that conservative Christians are like Nazis because “the Nazis removed judges who did not follow their party platform and conservative Christians are doing the same thing.”
In an article published in the Archives of Dermatology, co-authored by four scientists, it was maintained that a 55-year-old man’s intestinal tract was infected with S marcescens, bacterium that produced a reddish stain on his clothes. The bacterium was also namedMonas prodigiosum, “the miracle bacterium”; the first reported account of this in Denmark occurred in 1169 and was found in a bleeding host. It was also written that the bacterium “thrives on starchy matter such as polenta, bread, and sacramental wafers and apparently flourished in the damp churches of medieval times.” This was fine, but what was not was the conclusion: “No doubt, S marcescens has contributed to human death more because of religious fanaticism than because of pathogenicity.” When Bill Donohue wrote to the lead author asking her to verify this remarkable conclusion, he received no reply.
Charles Gasparino, business writer for Newsweek, attacked Pope Benedict XVI over comments that he made about the Harry Potter novels several years ago. On the MSNBC program “The Situation with Tucker Carlson,” Gasparino responded to a question posed by Carlson about calling the pontiff “insane.” Carlson followed up by questioning, “The pope is insane?” Gasparino reiterated, “I think so.” Later in the interview Gasparino stated, “Listen, if you want to know why the Catholic Church is becoming increasingly irrelevant, it’s because these guys are doing this. They’re not paying attention to the pedophiles.”
In the September edition of Maxim magazine, the “How To” section listed four ways to meet women at religious services, or “Score At Church.” It also featured pictures of three scantily clad women, one receiving Communion and the other two sitting in a pew. One of the women was quoted as saying “Should I confess again, Father? I just had another dirty thought.”
In the November issue of Atlantic Monthly there was a brief article by Tyler Cabot titled “The Rocky Road to Sainthood.” He wrote of Padre Pio, “Despite questions raised by two papal emissaries—and despite reported evidence that he raised money for right-wing religious groups and had sex with penitents—Pio was canonized in 2002.” Cabot made no mention of the fact that the priest who accused Parde Pio of sex with penitents later recanted his story and repented on his deathbed.
The November/December edition of the Chick publication “Battle Cry” contained two anti-Catholic articles. The first article, “Jesus Wafer Auctioned On Ebay; Priests Horrified,” was about three recent auctions of the Eucharist on eBay. One passage in the article snidely explained the Eucharist as follows:
So, how could a simple, round orb of wheat create such a stir? The answer is in the “consecration.” Catholicism teaches that when a priest is “ordained,” he receives the magical power to change the “substance” of the wafer into the actual “body, blood and divinity” of Jesus Christ.
The second article discussed the recent synod and how Protestants are gaining ground on the Catholic Church in Africa and Latin America. “Millions of people are discovering that they can trade the dry rituals of Catholicism for a dynamic relationship with Jesus Himself instead of depending on a harried priest to connect them to their wafer god or Virgin Mary goddess,” the article said.
A JoAnn Wypijewski piece in Mother Jones magazine attacked Padre Pio and the Vatican document on gays in the seminary. She claimed that Padre Pio had “sexual dalliances with women” and was addicted to drugs when he died, but offered no documentation to support these scurrilous charges. She also accused the Church of engaging in an anti-gay witch-hunt.
The movie “Constantine,” starring Keanu Reeves, opened. The movie is based on the “Hellblazer” comic books about a man with the ability to recognize the half-breed angels and the demons that walk the earth in human camouflage. Constantine is depicted as being suicidal, and as one who is doomed to Hell because of his failed suicide attempt. Moreover, Constantine is alerted to a crisis by an alcoholic priest and begins performing exorcisms with a holy shotgun. According to the Scripps Howard News Service, “He’s well known to the Big Guys both upstairs and downstairs, as well as to their lieutenants, Gabriel and Balthazar.” The movie also misrepresents Catholic teaching on suicide.
The Oscars showed Hollywood’s true colors. Movies that were nominated painted positive portraits of murderers, pedophiles and abortionists while a film about religion was snubbed. Films based on perverts like J.M. Barrie (“Finding Neverland”) and Alfred Kinsey (“Kinsey”) were rewarded for spinning a positive picture of their lives, instead of telling the truth about their lifestyles. Two films were nominated based on the topic of euthanasia (“Million Dollar Baby” and “The Sea Inside”); another extolled the virtues of an abortionist (“Vera Drake”); and yet another painted a positive picture of the Latino thug, Che Guevera (“The Motorcycle Diaries”).
By contrast, Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” received three nominations for cinematography, makeup and original score, but failed to be nominated in any of the major categories.
“Kingdom of Heaven,” the film by Ridley Scott about the Crusades, depicted Christians as violent, warlike people and Muslims as the peaceful heroes. Don Feder, head of Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, said it best in his review of the film:
“Kingdom is the latest in a long line of films that smear Christianity. Entertainment Weekly notes ‘the film’s prominent villains are militant Christians behind centuries of bloodshed in the medieval Middle East.’ French actress Eva Green, one of the film’s stars, predicts, ‘I think Muslims will be extremely proud and happy, because they’re seen as noble, chivalrous characters.’ Green continues: ‘Especially in this crusade, the Arab people behaved in a more noble way than the Christian people. Saladin was such a great character. He was the hero of his time.’ Any resemblance between ‘Kingdom’ and history is purely coincidental. They should have called it ‘Dances With Camels.’
“Saladin was not the noble soul portrayed in the movie, but a tyrant who presided over savage slaughters and personally beheaded captives—sort of like the founder of his religion. In the movie, when he conquers Jerusalem, the gracious Saladin gives Europeans safe conduct to Christian lands. The historical Saladin allowed Jerusalem’s defenders to ransom themselves. Those who could not were enslaved.
“But ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is more than revisionist history seeking to sanitize Islam. It’s also yet another heavy-handed indictment of religion per se, and Christianity in particular. In ‘Kingdom’ there’s an inverse relationship between decency and a commitment to Christianity. The more overly Christian a character is, the more he’s sadistic, bloodthirsty, callous, cowardly or hypocritical. On the other hand, the casual Christians are uniformly wise, generous and courageous—like the movie-land Muslims.”
William Donohue’s remarks about the film “Kingdom of Heaven” appeared in the New York Post: “Britain’s leading authority on the Crusades, professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, labeled the movie ‘rubbish,’ ‘ridiculous,’ ‘complete fiction’ and ‘dangerous to Arab relations.’ But it is being defended by the Council on American-Islamic Relations as ‘a balanced and positive depiction of Islamic culture during the Crusades.’ It is not likely that both are right, but if they are then the Muslims should be embarrassed. It is a matter of historical record that Muslim violence—in the form of a jihad—was responsible for Christians striking back, hence the Crusades. Yet in the film, it is the Christians who are the bad guys. This is on the order of doing a movie on the Warsaw ghetto and blaming the Jews for all the violence.”
Richard Linklater, the director of the remake of the “Bad News Bears,” discussed concerns he had with making sure the movie was PG-13. “We were worried about the line where Engelberg tells Billy Bob, ‘You better shut up before I tell someone you touched my pecker!’ Oooo, talking about genitalia? That’s an R! So I shot an alternate line— ‘You better shut up before I tell someone you got all Catholic on my privates!'”
Brookline, MA—The film “School of the Holy,” directed by Norifumi Suzuki, was screened at the Coolidge Theater as part of “Naughty Catholic Fantasy Night!” The movie is about a young woman who joins a convent “and as soon as the doors close, she finds herself immersed in a world of unholy sin: blasphemous rites, sadistic torture practices, burning sapphic desires, and a lecherous, god-hating archbishop who’s at the very center of this debauchery.”
Prior to the screening of the film an acoustic group called “Systyr Act” preformed. “Systyr Act” is three men dressed as nuns playing music. Also, there was a “Hot Nun Wrestling” event.
In the Jewish weekly the Forward, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen accused Pope Pius XII of issuing a post-World War II directive to “kidnap Jewish children, perhaps by the thousands.” The charge was based on an Italian newspaper’s discovery of an unsigned French-language document found in a French church archive. The document falsely claimed that the Vatican’s policy was to refuse to return baptized Jewish children to their families. The document was soon discovered to be an inaccurate summary of an official Vatican directive written in Italian that ordered the opposite. The Catholic League did not quarrel with calls from Goldhagen and others for a further opening of the Vatican’s archives; rather it condemned the baseless charges that the Church took part in a criminal enterprise.
Louisville, KY—The Courier-Journal, a Gannett-owned newspaper, published a full-page version of the notorious advertisement, “Earth’s Final Warning.” The ad, which calls the Catholic Church “the Mother of Harlots,” is the work of Eternal Gospel Church of West Palm Beach, Florida, a breakaway sect of Seventh Day Adventists. Courier-Journalpublic editor Pam Platt responded to complaints about the ad in a column pointing out that the newspaper has a policy not to accept advertising that “unfairly attacks, criticizes or casts reflection against any individual, firm, race, religion, organization, institution, business or profession.” Although “Earth’s Final Warning” clearly violated these guidelines, Platt wrote that “I’m not sure the ad wouldn’t have been printed” if the matter had been discussed ahead of time. She concluded: “I am genuinely conflicted about the matter.”
National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. wrote a newspaper column for Universal Press Syndicate entitled “Death for the Pope.” It began: “At church on Sunday the congregation was asked to pray for the recovery of the pope. I have abstained from doing so. I hope that he will not recover.” Later in the piece, Buckley asked, “So, what is wrong with praying for his death?” (Had Buckley simply said it was time for Pope John Paul II to resign, the Catholic League would not have objected.)
Pittsburgh, PA—A column by Dimitri Vassilaros printed in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review charged that celebrating St. Valentine’s Day in public schools constitutes a breach of church and state. The column asked, “Since public schools embrace Valentine’s message and allow their children to celebrate it, should the schools do the same for Jesus Christ?” Even Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, did not share the column’s objections about Catholicism still being thought of on St. Valentine’s Day, saying: “I think this day has been so denuded of religious significance in the culture.”
New York, NY—The March 2-8 edition of the New York Press, a free weekly paper, featured a photo of Pope John Paul II on the cover, with the headline, “THERE’S NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THIS MAN DYING—OR IS THERE?” The cover story contained 52 crude and vulgar jokes about the pope’s death. They included:
* Beetles eating Pope’s dead brains.
* Gurgling sound during embalming process; real fluids in dead Pope’s body sucked out into jars.
* Doctors examining the body discover that the Pope was not only a woman, but also Hitler.
* Can’t move. Can’t reach penis.
* Throw a marble at the dead Pope’s head. Bonk!
St. Could, MN—The following two ads appeared in the “Personal Notice” section of theSt. Could Times: “DOES Jesus eat swine? Oh yes, he eats worms, rats, dogs, or anything that moves.” The other said, “WE see this Catholic nonsense on TV. Abortion? Why do Catholic girls commit fornication?” After being contacted by the Catholic League, the paper’s ad manager stated that such ads would not be accepted in the future.
Pittsburgh, PA—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Michael McGough referred to William Pryor, a nominee for the federal bench, as a “Papist puppet” in his column “Murmur in the Cathedral.”
Raleigh, NC— An ad titled “Celibate Priests” ran in the News and Observer that stated celibacy is “an unnatural aberration producing the evils presently rocking Catholicism…Isn’t it likely that a system which for so long has taught error relative to celibacy is wrong also concerning the salvation of your soul?”
Ludington, MI—The Ludington Daily News ran a column by Jim Waum that was a vicious attack on Catholicism. He called Catholic doctrine an “elaborately constructed straw house.” Waum also accused Cardinal Ratzinger, who headed Congregation of Doctrine of the Faith before being named Pope Benedict XVI, of continuing the Inquistion. In addition, the Catholic Church was blamed for the AIDS crisis. Waum concluded his piece by saying, “It’s more likely that one final straw added to the flimsy structure swaying in the wind will bring the house down under its own weight.”
The New York Times published an op-ed piece by Arthur Hertzberg, a visiting professor of humanities at New York University, that slandered three popes. He wrote that Pope Pius XII remained “Silent while Europe’s Jews were murdered.” He also charged that John Paul II taught Catholics that the “sin of letting the Holocaust happen at its doorstep need not haunt the church.” Hertzberg concluded his attack with this remarkably anti-Catholic statement: “What Cardinal Ratzinger did not do… was question the orthodox Catholic position that though individual Catholics can err morally, the church and the pope cannot. Until the Vatican reconsiders that outlook, one of the Holocaust’s greatest wounds will continue to fester—namely, the major European institution that stood for morality looked away from genocide.”
San Francisco, CA—Printed in the middle of Neva Chronin’s article, “The Father. The Son. The Holy Joke,” was the cartoon character of a woman crucified with the words, “LIVE! RUDE! GIRL!” underneath it. It appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN—B.R. Simon Rosser, a professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, wrote a column for the Star Tribune castigating the Vatican for its policy of banning people from Communion who wear rainbow sashes. Actually, there is no Vatican “policy” on this issue. Moreover, the sashes are meant to symbolize public dissent with the Church’s teachings on sexuality, and that is why many bishops refuse to give them Communion. But no matter, Rosser equated this with Nazism.
The last time homosexuals were ordered how to dress was by Adolph Hitler, who ordered them to wear a pink triangle prior to dentition and, in any cases death in concentration camps. Thus, this directive is particularly odious to a community that suffered under the Holocaust, even more so when coming from an ex-German solider who served under Hitler.
Rosser also stated that “the church perpetuated the largest and first truly global child sex ring in history.”
Miami, FL—Jack King, a columnist for the Sun Post, claimed in a column that the Sisters of Mercy bribed a neighborhood association so that they could build a small medical office and parking garage. He also wrote that the “new pope was a member of the Hitler Youth and he has a real problem with anyone who is not of the real white race.”
New York, NY— Nicholas Von Hoffman’s column in the New York Observer claims that Christians cannot and do not keep religion to themselves. “Like the Islamist, with whom they are brothers under the skin, they are intent on imposing a Christian form of sharia on believers and non-believers alike.” He also compared Christian missionaries to communist operatives of 50 years ago.
Los Angeles, CA—Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer dubbed the Catholic Church “one of the most sexually repressed institutions in human history” that is responsible for a “horrific drumbeat of child molestation revelations” led by a new pope who is “a longtime leader of a vicious church attacks on ‘evil’ gays.” Pope Benedict XVI was also accused of scapegoating the media.
Portland, OR—The Portland Press Herald printed five separate stories on the priest sexual abuse scandal after the Attorney General of Maine released the names of nine dead priests accused of sexual abuse. The paper showed its anti-Catholicism because some of the priests had been dead for 15 years and had no way to defend themselves against questionable accusations.
Marci Hamilton wrote in her USA Today column that the best way to stop the sex abuse crisis is to take away the Catholic Church’s tax-exempt status. Hamilton falsely claimed that “pedophile priests” were the cause of the scandal, ignoring the fact that most of the abuse was committed by homosexual priests abusing post-pubescent males.
New York, NY—In her column on Father’s Day for the New York Post, Cindy Adams suggested the following gift-giving idea: “And to your holy fathers, your parish priest, a sampler cross-stitched with: Abstinence makes the Church Grow Fondlers.”
Long Island, NY—Columnist Ed Lowe of the Long Island Press attacked Pope Benedict’s proposed policy barring active gays from the priesthood. He claimed that banning gay priests would “wipe out the Church in America.” Lowe also said, “You also may aspire to and earn the Roman collar if you are a man not sexually attracted to any element, animal or plant, in the universe, which is to say, if you are an inhuman man, an oxymoron.”
“The Roman Catholic Church could have a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court if Samuel Alito is approved to join the body” (our emphasis). That’s how the United Press International (UPI) saw the possibility of Alito joining the high court.
Wichita, KS—The Wichita Eagle printed a letter about the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court that read, “How many more Catholics does Bush intend to pack the Supreme Court with? We might as well save money by shutting down the government and letting the pope tell us what to do.”
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN—Diablo Cody’s article entitled “Finding My Religion” in City Pages discussed, “What’s a lapsed-Catholic former sex worker who doesn’t like religious dogma to do when she finds out she still believes?” The accompanying illustration, by Dan Picasso, depicted an image in which the Blessed Mother is shown with a spiked haircut, a bracelet of spikes, and a nose-ring. The Sacred Heart was on her chest, but it was pierced by a dagger and a fountain pen. It was also decorated with jewels. Cody described her Catholic upbringing as follows: “We had drunk the consecrated grape juice. We were the best kind of disciples: blindly obedient and willing to believe anything that was said in that massive red brick church with the bats in the rafters.” She added, “Well-schooled by geriatric nuns and priests whose sensibilities were formed long before Vatican II, we often invoked obscure dogma that even our parents had forgotten about.”
Los Angeles, CA—LA Weekly published an article by Greg Burk titled, “Virgin/Whore; The Catholic Church and women—can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.” Here’s a sample of what he wrote: “Most of the faithful worldwide, grappling against real-world pitchforks of overpopulation, tribalism, political chaos and economic collapse, are giving the big finger to Rome’s medieval pronouncements on birth control. And you might’ve heard a word or two about priests and boys—kind of a pain in the ass, not to mention the wallet. The Holy Father’s even under legal assault for molester shielding. Pity the Pope. Or, what the hell, piss on the pope. Especially if you’re a woman.” There were two other anti-Catholic articles within the same issue. One was entitled “Immigrant Women Speaking About Leaving the Church” and the other was “My Life With the Radical Nuns.”
Syndicated radio talk-show host Tammy Bruce commented on her show that Pope Benedict XVI should admit he was in the Hitler Youth (this is not something he has ever denied, rather the pope has related that he was conscripted against his will) and said he is probably a child molester. She also claimed that the Church permitted abortions until the time of Napoleon, when Napoleon convinced the Church to outlaw it as he wanted more troops. She has no evidence to support this outrageous theory.
New York/New Jersey—The host of the Spanish radio program “El Vacilon de la Mañana” on WSKQ (la Mega 97.9) accused Monsignor Mark Giordani, pastor of John the Baptist Cathedral in the Paterson Diocese, of being a child molester despite there being no proof or even any accusation of it.
Albany, NY—Peter Berle said on his radio show that Pope “Benedict XVI could pope really well if he removed doctrinal objections to safe sex. If not, he could go down in history as the greatest threat to human health in our time.”
Los Angeles, CA—On a KABC radio talk show, listeners were urged to donate to hurricane relief efforts, but they were also warned not to give to Catholic Charities. The reason offered was that the “Catholic Church is totally corrupt and molest young boys.” An on-air apology was issued on September 24 that was satisfactory to the Catholic League.
Chicago, IL—While discussing the National Catholic Reporter’s survey on issues within the Catholic Church, sports talk-show host Mike North alleged that the Church does not want to get rid of celibacy because “they would have to give up their boys’ club.”
Chicago, IL—WSCR AM 670 radio sports talk-show hosts Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers implied that all Catholic priests are pedophiles. They also stated that Catholic bishops are involved in a cover-up and that gay orgies are ongoing in the seminaries.
National Public Radio reporter Dahlia Lithwick expressed misgivings over the specter of too many Catholics being on the Supreme Court: “People are very, very much talking about the fact that [Samuel] Alito would be the fifth Catholic in the Supreme Court if confirmed.”
Burbank, CA—During an episode of the NBC-TV sitcom “Committed,” a Jewish character was mistakenly given Holy Communion at a Catholic funeral. Not knowing what to do with the Host, he and his Protestant friend tried slipping it into the pocket of a priest; it was dropped on a tray of cheese and crackers. At one point, the priest, portrayed as not knowing the difference between the Host and a cracker, went to grab the “cracker” from a tray of appetizers. After initially balking when he discovered it to be the last one, he changed his mind and decided to eat it, saying, “Oh, what the hell.” The most offensive scene occurred when what was thought to be the Host was flushed down the toilet.
William Donohue immediately e-mailed Alan Wurtzel, chief executive for NBC’s Department of Broadcast Standards and Practices, asking that this particular episode never be aired again. After reviewing the episode, Wurtzel agreed to Donohue’s request.
New York, NY—The Comedy Central program, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” ran a segment entitled “This Week in God” that mocked the Catholic Church and its teachings, while poking gentle fun at Muslims and Orthodox Jews. For example, Stephen Colbert, the segment host, after reporting that the Vatican teaches that condom use is immoral, exclaimed, “What would high Catholic Church officials know about immoral sexual conduct?” The segment also featured a wheel with religious symbols on it, one of which was labeled “the Immaculate Contraption known as the God Machine.”
The program “Wonder Showzen” aired on MTV2, a sister network of MTV. The show, which is styled like the PBS program “Sesame Street,” contained gratuitous sexual references and lewd portrayals of all things Christian. In one skit, a scrolling tape reading “Catholic Church approves condom-flavored breath mints” ran across the screen during a mock newscast. The show aired seven more episodes with anti-Catholic skits in them. For example, there was a scene where an animated Bible receives oral sex from a prostitute and then a priest is shown reading from the Bible in Church. Then Jesus is shown coming down from the cross, only to begin break dancing with Church statues that have been transformed into bikini-clad blondes.
An episode of the CBS program “Cold Case” titled “Revenge” depicted a priest breaking the Seal of the Confessional when he revealed to authorities that someone confessed involvement in a kidnapping during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priest’s behavior was not shown to be aberrant.
A “Saturday Night Live” skit on NBC depicted a debate between cardinals for the election of the pope. While much of it was not offensive, it was uncalled for to show “Cardinal Urbino” giving the finger while making rude remarks. And a character who played Al Sharpton said of the Catholic Church, “there is not enough touching of people’s hearts and too much touching of people’s kids.”
An episode of the drama “Crossing Jordan” on NBC had an investigator looking into the death of a cloistered nun. The nun was pregnant and died during child birth. The main investigator, a lapsed Catholic, commented about the nuns: “These women have shut themselves off from the real world. They would rather hide from life than to live it.”
The Fox News Channel ran a segment on “Dayside with Linda Vester” about a Baptist minister who got in trouble for denouncing John Kerry from the pulpit. The segment used footage of a Catholic Church, Catholic nuns in habits receiving ashes, and Catholic priests bowing. The Catholic League asked producers why Catholic footage was shown during a story about a Baptist minister, and they apologized.
Showtime’s “Penn and Teller” program aired an episode titled “Holier Than Thou” that attacked Mother Teresa in a most vile way. Penn Jillette accused her of exploiting the poor and letting them suffer, providing neither beds nor bathrooms. “She had the f—ing coin and pissed it away on nunneries. They had to suffer so that Mother F—ing Teresa could be enlightened,” he said. Penn also referred to William Donohue, who appeared in the piece, as “Catholic Boy.” The program also aired May 24 and 27.
After Donohue launched a protest, he received a call from the producer of the show on July 18. She apologized profusely saying she never would have gone along with the program had she known that it was a set up to mock Mother Teresa. She said she was asked to draw up a list of questions to give to a member of the technical crew so that he could interview Donohue (the questions were not disrespectful). After the filming was completed, her involvement ended and the editing was turned over to Penn and Teller’s crew. She expressed horror at the end result and told Penn and Teller’s executives that she would never work with them again. She also informed Donohue that a decision had been made never to show this particular episode again.
On August 17, Donohue received a hand-delivered letter from Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone. Redstone defended Showtime’s airing of the show, saying Showtime “frequently airs programs with controversial, differing points of view” and that “we as an organization are committed to artistic freedom.” Redstone went further when he stated that “it is tolerance for that which may be uncomfortable, unpopular and perhaps even offensive to some that defines and protects the liberties that all of our society enjoys.” Why Showtime seems preoccupied with making Catholics feel uncomfortable—and not others—he did not say.
On “This Week in God,” a recurring segment on the Comedy Central program “The Daily Show,” Stephen Colbert commented that the Vatican traditionally waits five years after someone dies before the cause of sainthood commences. He noted, however, that Pope Benedict XVI waved it for Pope John Paul II, adding, “what are you going to do about that, bitch?” Colbert then said that the reason why Mother Teresa’s canonization has been held up was due to a film, “Mama T Goes Wild 6: Calcutta Nights.” When he said this the program showed a picture of Mother Teresa made to look like she was flashing onlookers.
The Comedy Central channel re-aired a standup appearance by comedian Dane Cook where he mocked the Eucharist and the Mass. Cook joked that he wanted more than one Host at Mass so he could take the “whole dish” and fill it with milk and eat it like cereal.
The FX program “Rescue Me,” starring Denis Leary as New York firefighter Tommy Gavin, had an episode wherein Mary Magdalene and Jesus visited Tommy. In one dream sequence, Tommy has sex with Mary Magdalene. Jesus catches the pair and declares Tommy is “just like Judas,” and then shoots him. In another episode, when Tommy was worried about the fate of a young burn victim and was waiting for Jesus to appear, Mary Magdalene informs Tommy that Jesus is “full of goddamn promises”; she said she had been “waiting for a ring since three weeks before the Last Supper.”
Max Kellerman, ESPN radio host and HBO boxing host, said on the CNN show, “The Situation with Tucker Carlson,” that he has “a problem with the Vatican being considered a foreign state.” He was referring to the diplomatic immunity that was afforded Pope Benedict XVI with regards to the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. Kellerman went on to say that “If you mean to tell me—because it almost puts American Catholics in a position where they’re committing treason being Catholic. You mean to tell me that the head of a foreign state dictates the behavior of tens of millions of Americans? I have a problem with that.”
On the morning ABC talk show “The View,” Barbara Walters and her fellow co-hosts slammed the Catholic Church on the issue of sexuality and celibate priests. Walters, who is also the producer of the program, read a section of the Catholic Catechism about homosexuality and wondered aloud what the phrase “objectively disordered” meant. Co-host Joy Behar then chimed in and called the Church’s view “perverse.” Behar also asked “Why can’t you believe in God and also in sex?” During crosstalk she derided the Church again. Walters responded by saying that celibacy was “unnatural.”
Ken Schram, a commentator for the ABC-TV affiliate in Seattle, KOMO, said that a piece of art, which depicted a nude man reaching for a nude boy, should be called “the priest and the altar boy.” The Catholic League made several complaints and finally got Schram to apologize on October 7, but only after it contacted Fisher Communications, the Seattle-based firm that owns KOMO.
On the program “College GameDay,” while discussing the upcoming Purdue-Notre Dame college football game, ESPN broadcaster Lee Corso made a mock sign of the cross and said “they’ll beat the Catholics.”
On the CBS sitcom “Two and Half Men” it was asked, “Do Catholic priests make good babysitters?” The reply was, “Is the pope Catholic?”
On “Back in Black,” a recurring segment on the Comedy Central program “The Daily Show,” Lewis Black focused on organizations that have lowered their standards. He then attacked the Catholic Church by saying, “One institution refuses to lower its standards, the Catholic Church. It has started to investigate some of its seminaries for evidence of homosexuality. I’m sure they will find it. You can’t even spell seminary without semen. Why is it suddenly so important for the sex a priest is not having to be with a woman?” They also showed a clip of Msgr. Francis Maniscalco, the director of communications for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), saying that homosexuality and pedophilia are not the same thing. To which Black said, “Of course they are not the same thing. Homosexuality has no cure, pedophilia can be cured by a transfer to another diocese.”
On the CNN program “Larry King Live,” CBS reporter Mike Wallace made reference to a remark by the mother of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito to the effect that her son is “definitely against abortion.” Wallace sneered, “He’s a nice Catholic boy and he doesn’t believe in abortions.”
The CBS program “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” aired an episode titled “Secrets and Flies.” The episode revolved around the murder of Christina, a single mother. After an autopsy revealed that Christina was a virgin, it was learned that she adopted a fertilized embryo from Project Sunflower (an organization devoted to finding surrogate mothers for abandoned embryos).
Christina was described as a “prude” for being chaste, and was also referred to as “our Virgin Mary.” The pro-abortion forensic investigators sneered at her work, claiming that a pope once decreed that a baby isn’t human until quickening.
Comedy Central aired a special by Denis Leary titled “Merry F#%$in’ Christmas.” The show consisted of several skits, a cartoon and musical performances. There was a skit about lesbian nuns, and a song by “Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering Church Choir” about a hooker. But by far the most offensive part of the show was the monologue by Denis Leary on the origins of Christmas. Here is part of what he said:
Merry Christmas. Tonight we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, whose mom, Mary, just happens to be a virgin—even after she apparently gave birth to Jesus. At least that is what the Catholic Church would have you believe. Tom Cruise is taking a lot of s— for belonging to a religion, Scientology, that believes aliens came to this planet 75 million years ago. That is nothing. I was raised Catholic. We believe Mary was a virgin and Jesus ended up walking on water, creating a bottomless jug of wine and rising from the dead. Oh, yeah, and Tom Cruise is crazy. Listen, Christmas is built on a line of bulls—. Do I believe there was a baby Jesus? You bet your ass I do. But I believe that nine months before he was born someone sure as s— banged the hell out of his mom.
The “Boston Legal” episode “Gone” featured lawyers looking into a missing child who was taken by a pedophile. They discovered that a priest had information, culled from the confessional, on who the pedophile is. Posing as FBI agents, the lawyers break into the priest’s office and find that the priest is selling counterfeit papal blessings. The lawyers tell the priest that if he reveals what he learned about the pedophile in the confessional, they will keep his secret about the papal blessings. The priest ends up revealing what he knows even though he is aware he is violating Canon law.
In the “South Park” episode “Bloody Mary” a character gets a DWI and is ordered to attend AA meetings. Told about the 12-step program, he concludes that he needs a miracle to cure him. The plot then focused on a statue of the Virgin Mary who was “bleeding out her ass.” The Vatican then dispatched a cardinal to investigate. He, in turn, was sprayed with blood when he walked behind the statue. After the cardinal declared this to be a miracle, more people than ever before are drawn to see the statue. The alcoholic, now in a wheelchair, was also sprayed with blood. Pope Benedict XVI goes to investigate and he, too, is sprayed with blood. A reporter says, “The pope investigated further and determined that the statue was not bleeding out its ass, but its vagina.” To which the pope replied, “A chick bleeding out her vagina is no miracle. Chicks bleed out their vaginas all the time.”
On the ABC show “Prime Time,” host Diane Sawyer did a segment called “On the Trail of Pope Joan.” It focused on an alleged female pope that reigned in the eighth century. Sawyer used Donna Cross and Mary Malone as sources to back up the claim of a Pope Joan. Cross wrote a novel about the mythical Pope Joan and has no standing among scholars; Malone is an ex-nun who lost her faith and hates the Catholic Church. None of the serious scholars who dismiss the existence of “Pope Joan” as ludicrous were interviewed.