Kiwi Catholics begin to take Pope spoof seriously
In an official letter sent to the management of a commercial TV station, Church authorities in New Zealand indicated they have changed their attitude and now regard the screening of Popetown on the free to air channel as "intolerable".
Catholic Communications director Lyndsay Freer said that while they found the first episode offensive, Church authorities nonetheless took the view that its "overall poverty of humour and the patent silliness of its wacky genre" made it a non-event.
But they have now conveyed to CanWest their view that subsequent episodes have degenerated into gratuitous offence and insult to the Papacy, the Church and to New Zealand's Catholics, as well as to many other people of faith. CanWest, which also owns Channel 10 in Australia, is showing Popetown on C4TV, one of its NZ outlets.
Mrs Freer says that recent episodes, from initially being borderline, have now crossed the line.
"The Church has urged CanWest to consider the wisdom of allowing a deterioration in relationships between themselves and the Catholic community to deepen," she said.
Popetown was made by the BBC in the UK, which decided against screening the program itself after adverse reaction from the Church. It is showing on The Comedy Channel on pay TV in Australia, but the channel has insignificant penetration and the Church has therefore not reacted.
Official Catholic condemnation of "Popetown" (Catholic Communications New Zealand 6/7/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Offical Popetown site
Catholic Communications (New Zealand)
C4tv (NZ) | New Shows: Popetown
The Comedy Channel (Australia) | Popetown
'Disgusted' new Catholic Senator defends Pope (CathNews 4/7/05)
"Popetown" too pathetic to warrant concern (CathNews 15/6/05)
Popetown spoof for screening on NZ TV (CathNews 3/6/05)
UK Catholics angry over BBC's pogoing Pope (CathNews 25/3/05)
Church may take action over 'Popetown' (New Zealand Herald 7/7/05)
'Nasty' TV show offends NZ Catholics (NZ Press Association/stuff.co.nz 7/7/05)
Church may take action against "Popetown" (NewstalkZB 7/7/05)
Church may take action against "Popetown" (NZCity 7/7/05)
Website for anti-Popetown viewers (NewstalkZB 7/7/05)
Papal like us: DVD release for 'offensive' Popetown (Chortle 5/7/05
8 Jul 2005