D'Oh! Homer not so Catholic, Vatican says

October 22, 2010

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Several days after the Vatican's official
newspaper reported that characters Homer and Bart Simpson are Catholic,
the source of that supposed discovery has distanced himself from the
cartoonish claim.

"I wouldn't say they're Catholic, I would say they're people of
faith," the Rev. Francesco Occhetta told the AFP news agency. "I would
say that the Simpsons are open on the question of God."

An article in the Oct. 17 edition of L'Osservatore Romano ran under
the headline "Homer and Bart are Catholic." The news created buzz
around the world, with heavy coverage by newspapers and blogs, and even
a rebuttal from the show's executive producer.

"We've shown pretty clearly that Homer is not Catholic," Al Jean
told Entertainment Weekly. "I really don't think he could go without
eating meat on Fridays -- for even an hour."

The cartoon Simpsons are longtime members of the First Church of
Springfield, which its pastor, the Rev. Lovejoy, claims is the "one true
faith": The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism.

L'Osservatore's article referred to Occhetta's nine-page scholarly
essay, "The Simpsons and Religion," in the latest edition of La Civilta
Cattolica, an Italian journal published by Occhetta's Jesuit order.

The Simpsons-loving priest still stands by his claim that the
animated series is exceptional in the seriousness with which it treats
Christianity and other faiths.

"The authors (of `The Simpsons') are fiercely critical of some
religious people but they respect faith, openness to God, prayer and
going every Sunday to listen to their pastor," Occhetta said, "even if
they sleep or eat popcorn when they go."