Homer Simpson is Catholic, Vatican Paper Declares

"LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “The Simpsons” just got a blessing from the Vatican.

The official Vatican newspaper has declared that beer-swilling, doughnut-loving Homer Simpson and son Bart are Catholics – and what’s more, it says that parents should not be afraid to let their children watch “the adventures of the little guys in yellow.”

“Few people know it, and he does everything to hide it. But it’s true: Homer J. Simpson is Catholic”, the Osservatore Romano newspaper said in an article on Sunday headlined “Homer and Bart are Catholics.”

The newspaper cited a study by a Jesuit priest of a 2005 episode of the show called “The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star”. That study concludes that “The Simpsons” is “among the few TV programs for kids in which Christian faith, religion and questions about God are recurrent themes.”

The Simpsons pray before meals, and “in its own way, believes in the beyond,” the newspaper quoted the Jesuit study as saying.

It’s the second time the animated U.S. TV series, which is broadcast in 90 countries, has been praised by the Vatican."


Sweet. I love the Simpsons and love that the Vatican loves the Simpsons. Rock on Catholic Homer!

This is completely absurd. The Simpsons are disgusting in my opinion. Adults should not even watch the show.

I’d need something more substantial than a yahpoo link to fully accept this ‘statement.’

Umm… Reuters isn’t a reputable news agency. Okay… Will the Catholic News Agency (CNA) work?


"Vatican City, Oct 18, 2010 / 12:24 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- L’Osservatore Romano marked the 20th anniversary of “The Simpsons” in its Oct. 17 edition by lauding the popular television show for taking religious faith seriously, although often irreverently.

And, although “few know it, and he does everything to hide it … it’s true: Homer J. Simpson is Catholic,” according to newspaper.

The newspaper cited an analysis in the Oct. 16 issue of the Italian Jesuit magazine, La Civilita Cattolica.

In it, Father Francesco Occhetta examined a Catholic-themed episode from 2005, “The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star,” in which Homer and his son Bart are befriended by a priest named Father Sean, and consider conversion to Catholicism.

“The Simpsons remain among the few TV programs for kids in which the Christian faith, religion and the question on God are recurrent themes,” Father Occhetta wrote.

Homer may snore through his evangelical pastor Rev. Lovejoy’s sermons, and he may heckle his evangelical neighbor, Ned Flanders, but religious faith is realistically portrayed in the show, he said.

Characters are often shown praying and the Simpsons family always prays before meals. “In their own way,” Father Occhetta wrote, the character all “believe in the ‘beyond’.”

The Vatican newspaper said “Parents shouldn’t be afraid to let their children watch the adventures of the ‘little guys in yellow’.”

The content and themes of “The Simpsons” are so realistic that they could be used to kickstart discussions among parents and their children about issues of family life, school, relationships, and social and political issues.

The show’s "skeptical realism” does not lend itself to any easy moral lessons, the paper suggested. But it does tend to deflate false illusions about the world. And, the paper added, “a world devoid of easy illusions is more human and, perhaps, more Christian.”

I remember when it was first made back in 1989 (?), everyone was saying how Bart would be a bad influence on kids. :shrug:

aaaa…the VATICAN said no such thing!

Again the Press is confusing things…

What in particular do you find offensive about the show. I think it is a great satire of family and culture. In fact, by portraying the foibles of the modern American family in a playful, comical way, it allows us to poke fun at ourselves and helps us to put our problems into perspective. What I also appreciate about the show is that it often does have a good moral lesson at the end of the show- either for the kids or the adult characters. You should give it another chance, I think you’ll like it. :slight_smile:

Indeed this is absurd. Who’s next, Superman? Batman? Fictional characters don’t get baptized.

Are you joking or are you serious. If serious, what did the Vatican say? CNA is reporting it so I assume that they have an accurate transcription of the Vatican article.

Sure, why not? My daughter has a set of Catholic storybooks showing fictional characters getting baptized- I think they’re great!

Of course the Vatican probably does not mean that Homer is literally a Catholic- as one of the producers says- Homer probably couldn’t give up meat on Fridays or even for more than 1 hour! Rather, the situations and attitudes of the characters are probably realistically representative of some modern American families.

Love that the Vatican is signalling acceptable shows in the mainstream media. I think the Vatican is smart to encourage families to watch good, acceptable moral programming.

I’ve been watching the show for a decade or so for sheer entertainment but I never fail to find something deep in it. I applaud the Church for being brave enough to endorse the positive messages this show portrays.

I did see that episode where Bart wanted to convert to Catholicism. He went for all the aspects that boys find interesting about Catholicism, ie, it was cleverly done.

Anyway, no-one is obliged to watch the show. Before I watched the show even once from start to finish I used to condemn it, mainly on snobbish grounds. I did watch the very first episodes when it was just a little clip as part of the Tracey Ulman show in the very early 1990s.

I love The Simpsons.

Best satire on television. Life taken too seriously is a grind. :slight_smile:

I appreciate your explanation. However, I still think that that show is very crude.

Here I think is the Vatican original, in Italian, and here’s an automated translation

It’s difficult wading through the translation, but it does seem to be praising the Simpsons for:

  1. The success and longevity of the series (particularly its humor)
  2. The varied and interesting depictions of humanity and family life
  3. For raising interesting philisophical issues, particularly about religion in contemporary culture

The article also acknowledges valid criticisms of the series.

I cannot find any suggestion that Homer, or any of the major characters, are Catholic. On the contrary, reading the article, without prior knowledge, would give the impression that they struggle through life as human beings (in caricature) without the blessings of a Catholic faith.

We love the Simpsons and its great the vatican endorses this.

Wellllll… articles in L’Osservatore Romano aren’t Vatican positions. The newspaper, which previously had a stodgy reputation has been trying to shake things up under the direction of the editor who took over two years ago.

Here is John Allen’s take on the Homer article:

Vian has said that Pope Benedict XVI and Bertone charged him with making L’Osservatore Romano “more present in cultural debates,” and he’s done that in spades. He introduced color to the front page, but that’s only the most visible shift. He’s brought an aggressive journalistic mindset, commissioning essays, profiles and interviews that could find space in most secular outlets – including, Vian has said, at Benedict’s direct request, more contributions from women.

Vian has also not been afraid to speak his mind, most notably telling another Italian journalist last summer that Barack Obama “is not a pro-abortion president.” That claim sparked a backlash from pro-life Catholics in the United States, as well as a “What the hell is going on?” reaction among Vatican-watchers accustomed to thinking that every word in L’Osservatore Romano flows from the pope’s lips.

While there is a loose coordination between Vian and the Secretariat of State on foreign policy, on most matters the editor calls his own shots – and increasingly, Vian’s shots are more journalistic in flavor and less institutional. In consequence, the right way to approach L’Osservatore Romano these days would seem to be as a guide to what literate, moderate-to-conservative Catholic insiders in Italy are thinking (or, in the case of “The Simpsons,” their guilty pleasures).


EXACTLY what I meant! Thanks.

There’s another thread on this already.

A few points to consider:

(1) This article on “The Simpsons” from L’Osservatore Romano is not some sort of official Vatican pronouncement. It’s an article in a newspaper. L’Osservatore Romano is not the official news channel of the Pope.

(2) We will likely never know what the original article actually said in its entirety unless we have an actual subscription to the English version of L’Osservatore Romano as they do not publish their articles online. Thus we can only rely on second-hand info (at best).

(3) “The Simpsons” does address religious themes moreso than any other network TV show. They don’t always do it well, but they do address such topics.

(4) The statement that Homer and Bart are actually Catholic is simply a jovial allusion to the episode The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star where Homer and Bart wanted to become Catholic. From the Catholic standpoint, once someone becomes Catholic, they are always Catholic, even if they fall away. So, in that respect, Homer and Bart could be considered Catholic. (I do believe that Homer and Bart never officially made the switch to Catholicism in that episode, which sort of undermines the point, but the article was likely just seeking to stir up some press. And it certainly succeeded at that.)

Thanks. This, again, is exactly what I am talking about. Screaming headlines that stretch the truth until it shatters into a million pieces.

I’m at the point where, if the so-called mainstream media declared the sky is blue, I’d want a second opinion.

Thanks for forwarding these comments Dale. It’s nice to know, at least from the perspective of this author of these comments, that moderate to conservative Catholics might find the Simpsons to be a guilty pleasure. And I don’t even feel guilty about it!

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