Here we are in the midst of one of the most crucial election cycles in the nation’s history, epic events happening within the Church the world over, and the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has decided that it’s better to focus on Homer Simpson’s alleged Catholic identity than Catholic events that shape the Church and the world.
This is not a joke. L’Osservatore Romano recently ran an article stating that both Homer Simpson and his son, Bart, are Catholics. It went on to report that, “The Simpsons remain among the few programs for children in which the Christian faith, religion and the question of God are recurring themes.”
Because of this story, the newspaper has opened itself up to much Catholic bashing. Much of the media is using this most recent faux pas as another opportunity to poke fun at the Catholic Church. Knowing that the media has played down and dirty with many recent Catholic events, including the scandals in Belgium and Ireland, we should know full well that the media is not going to go to the trouble of being objective in its reporting of anything Catholic—especially when the topic is Homer Simpson’s Catholicity!
This begs the question of why L’Osservatore Romano would go to so much trouble to garner more negative coverage. This is just one more gaffe in a long list of them since Father Federico Lombardi took over the Vatican Press Office. The Simpson debacle proves to faithful Catholics once again that it’s time to shake up the newspaper staff at the Vatican. Clearly heads should roll over this one.
We could give plenty of examples regarding why this is such a problem. One is the AP. Associated Press issued the story with the headline, according to WTOP news, “In excelsis D’oh! Vatican says Simpsons Catholic.” Nothing like redefining “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” with a Simpsonism!
Not only that, but the reader is immediately given the impression that it is not an obnoxious newspaper reporter who has gone too far, but rather “the Vatican” that has made this pronouncement about the yellowish cartoon characters posing as Catholic.
Catholic Culture’s report suggests that L’Osservatore Romano is “evidently determined to shed its reputation as stolid and sensible…” Further, “The remarkable Vatican accolade for a lowbrow television show captured the interest of the mass media and generated dozens of headlines, crowding out coverage of such other weekend events as the canonization of 6 new saints, the Synod of Bishops, and the Pope’s letter to seminarians.”
Precisely my point! The press would much prefer to focus on what it knows is dumb and insulting to the Church rather than address what is vital and important to Catholics around the world. The Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict in particular, have a tough time getting a fair shake in the media, regardless of the country in which coverage is being provided. So why print something so inane?
What could the L’Osservatore Romano’s editor possibly be thinking? Or does he?
The London Telegraph described Homer Simpson in the following manner, “He is an idle, pea-brained glutton with a permanent craving for doughnuts and Duff beer, but Homer Simpson has been declared a true Catholic by the Vatican’s official newspaper.”
Telegraph web site readers have left dozens of negative comments aimed at placing the Catholic Church in the realm of the irrelevant and the absurd, poking fun at truth and literally basking in the mindlessness of what the Vatican newspaper has done.
Our recommendation regarding this absurd exhibition of tasteless reporting is to let the Vatican know what you think. It is our opinion that it’s time for a complete change in management—the sooner, the better!
Editorial offices: ">
Vatican Press Office, which oversees L’Osservatore Romano
Father Federico Lombardi, S.J.
Vatican Press Office
Villa della Conciliazione 54
00120 Vatican City, Europe
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI PP.
Bishop of Rome
Via del Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano
00120, Vatican City State
general email: ">
Msgr. Georg Gänswein
Private Secretary to Holy Father
00120 Via del Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano
Note: If you mail a letter, do not put ITALY on the envelope because the Vatican is a separate nation.