The Simpsons are Catholics at heart, Vatican newspaper says
Homer Simpson swills beer, strangles his son Bart, and loves doughnuts so much that he once sold his soul for one, but the Vatican’s official newspaper says the Simpsons are Catholics at heart.
The L’Osservatore Romano, on its Oct. 17 issue, said in the article “Homer and Bart are Catholics,” that parents can rest easy if their children watch “the adventures of the little guys in yellow,” Reuters reported.
L’Osservatore said, “The Simpsons are among the few TV programs for children in which Christian faith, religion, and questions about God are recurrent themes,” according to the Telegraph.
The papal publication said, “Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it… [but] it is true: Homer J. Simpson is a Catholic.” They also cited a study that was made by a Jesuit priest of an episode that was aired in 2005 called “The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star,” Reuters reported.
In that episode Bart enrolls in a Catholic school (because he was expelled from Springfield Elementary School), where he befriends a Catholic priest. When Homer decides to convert to Catholicism, his wife is horrified, the Telegraph says.
So too is Rev. Lovejoy (their pastor) and Ned Flanders (their evangelical neighbor). The episode touches on a range of issues including homosexuality, stem cell research, interfaith dialogue and religious conflict, according to the Telegraph.
L’Osservatore noted that while Homer snores in church and relentlessly humiliates Ned Flanders, the series also explores issues of family, community and education in a way that few other television programs do, the Telegraph said.
Last year, on the show’s 20th anniversary, L’Osservatore said the show is a “tender and irreverent, scandalous and ironic, boisterous and profound, philosophical and sometimes even theological, nutty synthesis of pop culture and of the lukewarm and nihilistic American middle class,” according to Reuters.
Al Jean, executive producer of The Simpsons expressed awe and surprise at L’Osservatore’s article. He told Entertainment Weekly, “I guess it makes up for me not going to church for 20 years.” However, Jean said the Simpsons are Presbylutheran, and they go to the First Church of Springfield. “I really don’t think he (Homer) could go without eating meat on Fridays—for even an hour.”
The Simpsons, the longest running primetime TV series in the U.S., is currently on its 22nd season, Reuters said. They also made The Simpsons Movie, where Homer called churchgoers “pious morons,” and said they were “too busy talking to their phony-baloney god,” Entertainment Weekly reported.
In the last three years, L’Osservatore Romano has departed from its former serious and stolid image. Under a new editor it began to comment on popular culture including The Beatles and Harry Potter among others, according to the Telegraph.