Catholic League to Conan: With Abuse Joke, Try Texting ‘#Nothanks to Gay Priests’

Michael W. Chapman | August 8, 2013 | 8:47pm EDT
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TBS talk-show host Conan O'Brien. (AP)

( – Conan O’Brien, like many liberal talk show hosts, took to smearing all Catholic priests as child molesters in one of his recent TV show monologues, an attempt at humor that he likely would never apply to “gay priests,” said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

During his Aug. 1 monologue for his TBS show “Conan,” host Conan O’Brien talked about how Pope Francis seems to be taking a more relaxed, informal approach to the papacy than his predecessors. Then, to illustrate his point, Conan ran a clip of the Pope in a Vatican window addressing a crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

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As Pope Francis spoke and images were shown, the following text, coupled with a narrator’s voice, were shown:

Pope Francis:  “The Vatican believes the following changes will lead the Church to new heights … The sacrament of Confession will be replaced with a healing Atonement Massage. The Popemobile will be replaced by the more earth-friendly Papal Recumbent Bike. Kids can opt out of fondling by texting #nothanks to the Vatican. And the traditional baptismal fonts will be replaced with new Baptism dunking booths.”

Concerning Conan’s attempt at humor, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the scenes about Confession and Baptism were “light fun” but “it was the one-liner subtitle about children being molested by priests that was a low blow: ‘Kids can opt out of fondling by texting #nothanks to the Vatican.’”

Donohue continued, “Religious profiling – portraying all priests as molestors – is not out-of-bounds with late-show hosts. Now if Conan had said, ‘Kids can opt out of fondling by texting #nothanks to gay priests,’ he may have been fired. But just smearing all priests is considered perfectly acceptable. These are the rules in liberal land.”

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice report on sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests and deacons, 1950-2002, found that 81% of the victims were male, and 78.2% of the victims were ages 11-17.  (Specifically, 50.9% of victims were age 11-14 and 27.3% were age 15-17.  See John Jay College report summary.pdf)

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