After receiving literally scores of complaints—via phone calls and e-mail—a copy of the May 19 edition of the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno was obtained. What angered so many people about this show was a rendition of the Catholic-baiting song, “The Vatican Rag,” performed by actor Dennis Franz and five other actors. Four of the characters were dressed as bishops, twirling huge rosary beads, and one played Pope John Paul II. The lyrics of the song contains verses such as “Try playin’ it safer, drink the wine and chew the wafer,” and “Two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate.”
Catholic League president William Donohue offered the league’s position in a news release:
“Jay Leno called a few years ago to apologize for a skit we charged was over the line. He told me that each year he does some 11,000 jokes and that sometimes he makes mistakes. Fair enough. But as I explained to Jay, we make distinctions between ‘Sister Act’ type humor and that which deals with the Eucharist and other aspects of Catholicism that are central to our religion. Apparently, he still doesn’t get it.