I don't know how my son will react to this news about his favorite show: The official Vatican newspaper has declared that beer-swilling, doughnut-loving Homer Simpson and son Bart are Catholics. This kind of revelation might seem more appropriate for a clan like the Ewings or the Cleavers, It seems a little out of place for a TV family whose patriarch once announced, "You know, the one with all the well-meaning rules that don't work in real life - uh, Christianity."
That's just the tip of the theological iceberg in the Simpson household, but it doesn't keep the Osservatore Romano newspaper from claiming the yellow brood as their own. They assert that the Simpsons are "among the few TV programs for kids in which Christian faith, religion and questions about God are recurrent themes." While that may be true, this is also a father who has proudly insisted, "In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" Homer, it would seem, is every bit as dedicated to the good book as he is to the textbook.
Maybe they were focusing on the Homer moment when he was confronting convenience store proprietor and Hindu, Apu Nahaasapeemapetilon: "You make people miserable and there's nothing they can do about it, just like god. No offence Apu, but when they were handing out religions, you musta been out taking a whizz." Is it that kind of tolerance that the Catholic church hopes their followers to embrace, or is that just a "tea-party moment?"
Or maybe it's as simple as this: "The Simpsons" air every Sunday evening, football and baseball permitting, on Fox. They've been there since 1987. They are, by television standards, an institution. At this point, I imagine that the Pope is getting a little tired of trying to find fault with this "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." I guess they'd rather switch than fight.