Letterman Bizarrely Likens Pope Naming Cardinals to Michael Sam Kiss

January 6th, 2015 4:51 PM

David Letterman couldn't resist taking a jab at the Catholic Church on Monday's Late Show on CBS. Letterman highlighted how Pope Francis recently appointed forty bishops to be cardinals, and noted how the pontiff personally calls each of the new designees. The host jokingly claimed to have video of one of the clerics receiving the phone call. He then played the much-hyped footage of former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Michael Sam receiving word that he had been drafted, and then tearfully kissing his boyfriend. [video below]

On Tuesday, Catholic League president Bill Donahue went after Letterman for his barb at the Church:

This is hardly the most offensive joke Letterman has told, but it does raise serious questions about who he is. His baggage is well known: his mental condition warrants weekly sessions with a psychiatrist, and his predatory behavior toward women is not a secret. But what explains his fascination with Catholicism and homosexuality?
We have been tracking Letterman since 2008. Since that time we have recorded 28 monologues where he ridicules Catholicism, 16 of which involve homosexuality. This isn't normal.
It's time Letterman, or someone from CBS, came clean and told us more about his pathologies. We need to know more about what makes this troubled man tick.

The outgoing CBS late night host once took a cheap shot at Pope Francis's predecessor, Benedict XVI. After the Pope Emeritus announced his abdication in February 2013, Letterman cracked that the Catholic Church was "looking for a guy who is good at transferring creepy priests."

The transcript of the relevant portion from David Letterman's opening monologue on Monday's Late Show:

DAVID LETTERMAN: Hey, here's some good news: do you like stuff from the Catholic Church? It's exciting, isn't it? (audience laughs) We – we have the new exciting Catholic pope, who's just gone crazy – crazy, man. (audience applauds)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (off-camera): Yeah. The guy's insane!

LETTERMAN: He's named 40 new cardinals. Now, I didn't know anything about this, but if you're a cardinal and you're in the running to be a cardinal – and you're notified – you receive a phone call from the Pope. Were you aware of that?


LETTERMAN: No, if you're a candidate for a cardinal, you'll get a phone call – and it's the Pope. And we have video now of the cardinal notifying – I'm sorry, a pope notifying the new cardinal. It's fascinating. Take a look at this. (clip of former NFL player Michael Sam crying and saying, 'Thank you,' then kissing his boyfriend) (audience cheers and applause)

I don't know. I don't know. You do what you can.