'Simpsons' producer on Vatican's assertion that Homer is Catholic: 'I really don't think he could go without eating meat on Fridays'

HOMER-CATHOLICImage Credit: FoxHe may drink too much and strangle his son—and, sure, there was that time he sold his soul to the devil for a donut—but Homer Simpson seems to have the Vatican seal of approval. In an article from the Oct. 17 edition of the Vatican publication L’Osservatore Romano—which also references a story in the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civilita Cattolica—Fox’s The Simpsons is praised for covering issues of faith, family, and Christianity (plus, they say prayers before meals!). There is also mention of the animated comedy’s 2005 episode in which Homer and Bart consider converting to Catholicism after Bart befriends a Catholic priest (voiced by Liam Neeson). “Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it… [but] it is true: Homer J. Simpson is a Catholic,” states L’Osservatore Romano, which also tipped its papal hat to the show last year during The Simpsons’ 20th anniversary celebration. (Perhaps they didn’t see The Simpsons Movie, in which Homer mocks churchgoers as “pious morons” who are “too busy talking to their phony-baloney god.”)

Simpsons HQ is flattered and amused by the attention from the Vatican. “My first reaction is shock and awe,” exec producer Al Jean tells EW.com, “and I guess it makes up for me not going to church for 20 years.” That said, Jean is quick to throw not-so-holy water on the Homer-is-Catholic assertion, pointing out that the family attends the First Church of Springfield, which is decidedly Presbylutheran. “We’ve pretty clearly shown that Homer is not Catholic,” he says. “I really don’t think he could go without eating meat on Fridays—for even an hour.”

Do you think the Church has a case, PopWatchers? Or did you question Homer’s faith ever since the episode when he said, “I’m not normally a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me, Superman!


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  • Silk Spectre

    what exactly was the point of announcing that homer is catholic? I mean really?!

    • Sean

      Silk – the reason is so that people will think about it and comment. The new editor of the Vatican newspaper is showing a talent for that but actually engaging the culture.

      By the way, do you remember how, in Marge’s draam she was relegated to “Protestant heaven” which was reserved for upperclass elitist snobs like Sally Quinn and John Kerry, while Jesus was laughing and enjoying Himself being bounced on a blanket in “Catholic heaven” – where they also RiverDance?

      That was a masterful demonstration by the Simpsons’s writers that everyone really knows that Protestantism is empty and cold while, as Hillaire Belloc once observed in a couplet, “Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine/Is music and laughter and good red wine.”

      • anna

        Sean, your observations about Protestantism are almost as bad as Douglas’s comments about Catholicism, although I know you might think it’s all in fun. C’mon, Christians are all one big happy family…in different households……

      • Sean

        Anna, me proud beauty, ah but my observation on Protestantism is based on the script of the episode. I’m not really worried that I will meet Sally Quinn in heaven. If she gets there it will be by a singular grace of God. I hope to be River Dancing – probably after a short trip to Purgatory for a shower in the Blood of the Lamb!

        I’m interested in what you mean by “different households” though. You really think, like Marge, that heaven will be segregated? The heaven for those who don’t think Jesus is divine; the heaven for people who think Jesus had no real body? I mean, just so they can continue in their error?

    • Margie

      I’ve been telling my Sunday school parents for years that the Simpsons are Christians–it’s ok to let your kids watch them. Flawed? Sure. But aren’t we all? (But I don’t think they’re Catholic.)

  • Katja

    I thought the Vatican guy was being rather tongue-in-cheek. It’s just meant to be kind of a thought-provoking suggestion that could open up some discussion about what it means to be Catholic. Kind of like how Catholics don’t generally follow the “no meat on Fridays” thing any more except for some of them during Lent, but I was still able to enjoy the humor of what Al Jean said about Homer not eating meat. (Sorry, that was a bit of a tortured sentence.)

    • Katja

      Oh, and I didn’t even finish what I was trying to say, which was that of course Homer isn’t ACTUALLY a Catholic, just like the vast majority of Catholics don’t actually follow the Friday meat rule. It’s just something to think about.

      • Sean

        Every Catholic used to know abuot the no meat on Friday rule, Katja. In the past 45 years, however, the Catholic Church, which used to sponsor the best schools in the nation, fell to using public school-taught teachers who instructed Catholics in their own personal beliefs or nothing. Garbage in, garbage out. Works for humans same as computers.

  • katie

    I wouldnt say they were Catholic specifically, but they are a very faith based family.. they eat meals together at the table, most of the time, Homer and Marge have wanted to stray but have kept to thier values.
    But i wouldnt say they were Catholic.. but they have very good family values!

    • Kevin

      “Values” and “faith” have nothing to do with one another… religion does not have a monopoly on raising a family properly.

    • Kevin

      Sorry, I worded that improperly. While religion DOES in fact promote good family values (mostly… for the sake of argument I’ll only focus on the good), the two are not mutually exclusive.

  • johnnykagewins

    Homer is actually a part of the religion that celebrates Kwanzaa…. whatever it is. It is a religious thing, right? Or is it cultural?

  • Gracie

    The show has proudly stated for years that Homer is a “Presby-Lutheran.”

  • lizaanne

    My husband and I have ALWAYS thought the Simpsons were Catholic! LOL

    • DJ

      They go to Reverend Lovejoy’s church–clearly not Catholic.

      • Sean

        Right, DJ –

        And Reverend Lovejoy makes fun of the town’s Catholic priest. Isn’t in interesting that Reverend Lovejoy is devoid of but love and joy?
        And then there is his gossip-mongering wife, Helen.

      • Joseph

        Homer did everything he could to keep Bart from being baptised, when Homer was doing missionary work he referred to building a church as making a cage for God to live in, Lisa became an atheist/Buddhist, Homer won the town Church in a lawsuit and turned it into a party house,.. I’m not sure this Vatican fellow has seen all the episodes.

  • katie

    I knew they werent Catholic, theres no communion in thier church..
    And Homer says in some episode that they are presbo-lutherns lol!
    But Katjas right, most Catholics I know, including my family dont follow the no meat on Friday Rule!

    Ive always admired the Simpsons in the fact that thier family is very faith based and full of family values!

  • Kevin

    Two ways you KNOW that Homer isn’t Catholic
    1) he is not crippled with guilt
    2) he actually goes to church every week (American Catholics only go twice a year… and yes, I’m Catholic so I know).

    • Katja

      While I agree with your statement above about confusing faith with family values…you lost me here. I’m Catholic too, as is my entire extended family and a fair number of my friends, and none of us are crippled with guilt, and most of us go to church every single Sunday of the year. You’re right, there are a lot of Easter/Christmas Catholics. But I think your generalizations are pretty wildly inaccurate when you say them with such certainty. :)

    • Sean

      Kevin – The Catholic Church teaches what Jesus said. If you feel guilty because you don’t give a rats about what Jesus demanded – and demanded is the correct term – that is your own business. Jesus wants men, real men, and women, real women, to follow Him. He doesn’t need cry babies. Perhaps President Obama has a place for you, or Hillary Clinton. God knows they pout often enough.
      But, don’t worry, Douglas, Jesus is in no need of you. You have need of Him.

  • Douglas

    As usual, the Vatican is twisting reality to fit their evil views, this time laying their corrupting hands on THE SIMPSONS. It is clear from watching the show (which I’ve been doing – ah – religiously since it first went on the air) that Marge is a Presbyterian, and Homer an agnostic with atheist tendencies who only goes to church because Marge forces him. Homer has many flaws, but Catholicism is not among them.

  • mikey

    Catholic, really?

    Homer on churchgoing:
    “I’m not a bad guy, I work hard, and I love my kids…so why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I’m going to hell?”

    Quoting Homer in prayer:
    “If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done.”

    And at another time Homer sayeth:
    “I can’t be a missionary! I don’t even believe in Jebus!”

  • Tom

    No wonder why they portray Ned Flanders as a kind of nut/evangelist who Homer loves to mock. And of course Homer could be a Catholic and not believe in Jesus. No Catholic believes in Jesus. They believe in the Pope and Mary and a multitude of other “saints”, relics and idols. Very close to the Wicca religion. Or satanism or whatever religion where they try to contact the dead. And the priests lead by the same exact examples. Raping little boys. And no word from Priests condemning the attacking predators.

    • Oy.

      LOL. Oh, Tom. First of all, it cracks me up when people think Catholics don’t worship Jesus and engage in witchcraft and idolatry. You’ve obviously never been to a Catholic Mass or even just talked with a single Catholic person. We’re rather vocally pro-Jesus, not that I personally think it matters whether or not someone believes in Jesus. (I’m a “one goal, many paths” kind of person.) I can understand people who don’t care for the idea of saints, but to equate it with witchcraft or Satanism is absurd. And you’re telling me no Protestant has ever tried talking with a deceased loved one in times of trouble or just when you miss them? As for believing in Mary….do you not believe the mother of Jesus existed? I know Protestants don’t venerate her in the same way that Catholics do, but I’m pretty sure every Nativity scene in the world includes Mary. Lastly – yes, there were priests who did terrible things, and unfortunately there was some cover-up of this by certain church officials…but priests most certainly did condemn child molestation. As did parishioners. As did both recent popes. The church is not a perfect institution in many ways, but it is, for the most part, a good and well-meaning one these days.

    • Jose

      Tom, before you bash Catholiscm at least try to, oh I don’t know, do your research first.
      As a Cathlic, we do not beleive in “idols” but in Jesus and that does not equeta with Witchcraft. And don’t start off with the whole “Catholics priests are evil” thing because it happens in all religions.

      • Douglas

        Jose is right. Catholic priests are evil in all religions, although how that is a defense I do not know.

      • Sean

        Douglas, how about you reread your statement, “Catholic priests are the same in all religions.” No, Catholic priests are priests. They are also considered priests by Eastern Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox priests are considered truly ordained by Catholics. Protestants do not believe in a ministerial priesthood. And I don’t think Zen Buddhists, Taoists or Moslems believe in having a priesthood either.

        So, Douglas, your remark passes from being totally inane to being totally absurd. But, I credit that to the professor who told you Christianity is a sham. If you ever went to college, that is.

    • Sean

      Tom, Tom, Tom … allow me to be condescending, since you only repeat what your pastor told you instead of reading actual Catholic teaching. You’re more to be pitied than condemned. Your ignorance of Catholic teaching only demonstrates how you don’t follow the Bible (compiled by the Catholic Church, by the way) but only repeat the empty “traditions of man” – I know you know to which one of Paul’s epistles I refer.

      I hope you enjoy your rabbit pie.

      • Douglas

        The Catholics compiled the Bible? I’d ask who told you that bull except it’s obvious who did. The Bible, itself a load of hogwash written by a primitive nomadic tribe in the Bronze Age, predates the Catholic Church.

        But then, if you can believe in Christianity, any flavor, you can believe anything.

      • Sean

        Yep, Douglas, the Catholic Church compiled the Bible. Now, I understand that you didn’t read what I wrote. You explained that the Bible was written before there was a Catholic Church. Well, as regards the Old Testament, that is absolutely true. But I didn’t say “write” – I said “compiled”.
        With so many Gnostic gospels being passed off as real, the Catholic Church, at the synod of Rome in 382, at the synod of Hippo Regius in 393 and the synod of Carthage in 397, decided what was in the Bible and what was not.
        Douglas, your attempt to belittle people wd work better if you read more clearly and then knew some history.

      • Sean

        Your shallowness and vitriolic hatred is very tiresome, Douglas. Try to work up to being a boor instead of just proving yourself to be a numbskull

  • Rich

    Homer lives more of a Christian life than almost anyone on tv, whether he knows it or not.

  • pastafarian

    …sacrilicious.

    • ed

      LOl.. what Tom said is senseless, when the center of Catholicism is Jesus it self, and comparing the church founded by Jesus with witchcraft or paganism is a sacrilegious. you better do your homework before posting a BAD comment. God Bless You.

  • SaraJ

    Very funny article. I love it.
    And I could totally see Homer being Catholic, although I think his religion is meant to be undecipherable or its own form of general, like where Springfield is and what race they are.

  • Dave

    The episode where Homer and Bart consider becoming Catholic is one of my favorite episodes from the last several years. It’s very funny.
    And yes, there’s no way Homer could go without meat for a day. I think his exact quote was, “No meat? What do they eat? Lightbulbs?”
    By the way, I am Catholic, but I only do no meat on Fridays during Lent. Oh, and I am not crippled with guilt, nor do I attend church only twice a year. I won’t bother addressing the nonsense being spewed from Tom and Douglas.

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