Quote:Simpsons HQ is flattered and amused by the attention from the Vatican. “My first reaction is shock and awe,” exec producer Al Jean tells EW.com, “and I guess it makes up for me not going to church for 20 years.” That said, Jean is quick to throw not-so-holy water on the Homer-is-Catholic assertion, pointing out that the family attends the First Church of Springfield, which is decidedly Presbylutheran. “We’ve pretty clearly shown that Homer is not Catholic,” he says. “I really don’t think he could go without eating meat on Fridays—for even an hour.” http://popwatch.ew.com/2010/10/18/simpsons-catholic/
Homer Simpson 'is a true Catholic'
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.
The long-running cartoon series explores issues such as family, community, education and religion in a way that few other popular television programmes can match, according to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's daily broadsheet.
The newspaper acknowledged that Homer snores through the sermons of the Reverend Lovejoy and inflicts "never-ending humiliation" on his evangelical neighbour, Ned Flanders.
But in an article headlined "Homer and Bart are Catholics", the newspaper said: "The Simpsons are among the few TV programmes for children in which Christian faith, religion, and questions about God are recurrent themes."
The family "recites prayers before meals and, in their own peculiar way, believes in the life thereafter".
It quoted an analysis by a Jesuit priest, Father Francesco Occhetta, of a 2005 episode of The Simpsons, The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star, which revolved around Catholicism and was aired a few weeks after the death of Pope John Paul II.
The episode starts with Bart being expelled from Springfield Elementary School and being enrolled in a Catholic school where he meets a sympathetic priest, voiced by the actor Liam Neeson, who draws him into Catholicism with his kindness.
Homer then decides to convert to Catholicism, to the horror of his wife Marge, the Rev Lovejoy and Ned Flanders. The episode touches on issues such as religious conflict, interfaith dialogue, homosexuality and stem cell research.
"Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J Simpson is a Catholic," insists L'Osservatore Romano.
It is not the first time that the Vatican newspaper has praised The Simpsons. Last December, as the television series celebrated its 20th anniversary, the paper said that "the relationship between man and God" is one of its most important themes and that it often mirrored the "religious and spiritual confusion of our times".
Once a staid and sober paper of record, L'Osservatore Romano has ventured into popular culture in the last three years under a new editor, commenting on everything from The Beatles and The Blues Brothers to the blockbuster film Avatar and the Harry Potter books and films.