Comedy Central takes joy in mocking the Catholic Church. (See "Merry F---ing Christmas" for one classic example.) The March 24 episode of South Park had the Eric Cartman character trash the church three times when he's asked questions he thinks are an obvious yes:
-- "Does the Pope help pedophiles get away with their crimes?"
-- "Is the Pope Catholic... and making the world safe for pedophiles?"
-- "Does a bear crap in the woods... and does the Pope crap on the broken lives and dreams of 200 deaf boys?"
The same spirit animated Jon Stewart's Catholic-bashing rants on the April 7 Daily Show, which dipped into the Middle Ages for mudslinging:
Evidence of the sexual scandals is not petty gossip. Let me give you a little vatican petty gossip. "Father Carlucci's robe is getting tighter. Looks like somebody's been hitting the double-stuffed communion wafers." That's petty gossip. Let me contrast that with "Hey, remember that guy who molested 200 deaf boys? Yeah he still works here."
For more, we go out to our Vatican bureau chief Samantha Bee. Sam, we're just seeing one stunning development after another in this scandal. What can you tell us about the church's reaction to this internally?
BEE: John, they're upset. Angry. They just can't believe this witch hunt!
STEWART: Sam, considering the Catholic Church's history, I don't know if you should be using the phrase witch hunt.
BEE: Okay, there you go again. You know, the liberal media is really torturing the church, putting them on a rack and literally pulling them apart hoping they'll confess. Searing their flesh with red hot pokers unless they renounce the so-called crimes of their faith.
STEWART: Once again, you're actually describing the Spanish Inquisition. the Catholic Church itself did exactly what you're saying to non-believers all over Europe.
BEE: Oh, please! Where'd you get that, the New York Times? God! It's like you're all on some kind of crusade!
STEWART: Again, Sam, the word crusade --
BEE: Are you trying to censor me, Jon? Are my ideas too out there for you? You know, just because you've suddenly found out the world doesn't revolve around you doesn't mean you can shut me up and put me away.
STEWART: You're actually describing what the Catholic Church did to Galileo. that's the heliocentric model of the universe.
BEE: What are they, the Cathars?
STEWART: Okay, I actually don't even get the reference.
BEE: The Cathars, the gnostic sect in 13th century France.
STEWART: I still got nothing there.
BEE: Tens of thousands of them were massacred under the direct authority of Pope Innocent III, persecuted out of existence by the Catholic Church.
STEWART: Oh, I see.
BEE: Well, that's what you're doing now.
STEWART: Sam, see, if any other organization had done anything close to what the church is being accused of, they'd be done! The church is barely showing any contrition. For God's sake, look how sorry Domino's was just for their (censored expletive) pizza! They had a bad sauce recipe. They've been out there non-stop. Oh, we're so sorry, here, have some crazy bread.
BEE: There's a difference, Jon. People have a choice in where they get their pizza, okay? The pope's got his flock by the short and curlys.
STEWART: Sam Bee, everybody. We'll be right back.
[Hat tip and transcript: Ben G.]