Catholic Bashing on Showtime Outrages Public

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

Public outrage is growing over an August 27 Showtime episode by Penn & Teller featuring a half hour-long vicious attack on the Catholic Church which the comedians claimed was “payback” for 2,000 years of alleged “crimes” by the Church. 

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said he had never seen a more defamatory, obscene, and vicious show on TV about any religious or demographic group.

“The lies about the Catholic Church, to say nothing of the vile language used by Penn Jillette, were positively astounding,” he said in a press release. “Moreover, it never attempted to be comedic—from the very beginning it advertised the show as payback for 2,000 years of alleged crimes.”

During the half hour show, the Church was blamed for every evil in history, Donohue says. “Jillette said the ‘intolerance, greed, paranoia, hypocrisy and callous disregard for human suffering’ was the hallmark of the Catholic Church. Others on the show branded the Church an ‘amoral’ and ‘power hungry’ institution that is just worried about its ‘cash flow.’”

Jillette also lied about a 1962 Vatican document about penalties for priests who used the confessional to solicit sex, accusing the Vatican of using it to cover-up sexual misconduct. Pope Benedict was also falsely accused of overseeing priestly sexual misconduct cases in the U.S.

“That CBS, which owns Showtime, allows this to go on is positively unbelievable,” Donohue said.

In addition to planning a meeting with CBS president Les Moonves, the Catholic League is preparing to mail a DVD copy of the show to 414 bishops as well as hundreds of influential Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Orthodox Christian, Muslim and Mormon religious leaders across the nation. Hundreds of activists and members of the media will also receive a copy and the episode will be featured in the next edition of the League’s newsletter, Catalyst, which reaches millions.

The goal of the crusade is to have the Penn & Teller show dropped from Showtime’s lineup.

“This cannot go unanswered,” Donohue says.
To register your complaint, contact Mr. Leslie Moonves, President & CEO CBS Entertainment, 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019, Phone: (212) 975-2824  Email:

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