German Catholics protest 'Popetown' cartoon

11th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 April 2006, HAMBURG - Catholics in Germany protested Monday at a national channel scheduling a 10-episode adult TV cartoon series that was scrapped by the BBC in 2004 after complaints from people who found its story-line offensive.

11 April 2006

HAMBURG - Catholics in Germany protested Monday at a national channel scheduling a 10-episode adult TV cartoon series that was scrapped by the BBC in 2004 after complaints from people who found its story-line offensive.

Popetown portrays the daily nuisances of a workplace, with a twist: the setting is the Vatican. The hero, Father Nicholas, must contend with a brattish 77-year-old pope and pervert colleagues.

The animated series has screened in New Zealand and Canada in the face of protest from Catholics. Germany's MTV has banked on controversy, publishing full-page advertisements in German magazines before the May 3 premiere of Popetown dubbed in German.

The ads show Jesus Christ coming down from the cross to watch MTV and are captioned, "Don't hang about. Laugh."

The National Council of Catholics ZdK appealed Monday to German Christians to write in asking for the series to be cancelled.

The Conference of German Catholic Bishops requested that media watchdogs review whether the series was legal in Germany, and said it would lay a complaint with the German Advertising Council about the magazine advertisement. About one third of Germans are Catholic.

Insulting religious groups is a crime in Germany. In February a man who printing the word "Koran" repeatedly along toilet paper and mailed it to Muslims was given a one-year suspended sentence.

MTV said Monday that Popetown did not represent its view of the Catholic church and was a spoof that should be treated as a work of art.

However ZdK President Hans Joachim Meyer called Popetown offensive and said the ad "sullies the Christian faith in the vilest way."

Vers 1, a Christian monthly magazine, launched a campaign to cancel the show and said, "After the affair of the Mohammed cartoons, we thought everyone had agreed that the media should show consideration for the religious feelings of the devout, whether they be Muslims, Jews, Buddhists or Christians. Plainly we were wrong."

It was referring to worldwide controversy this year over cartoons published in Norway that depicted the Prophet Mohammed. There were riots in Islamic nations, while free-speech campaigners republished them.

Popetown was commissioned by the BBC Three television channel in Britain in 2002, but was pulled from the schedules in 2004 following 6,000 complaints. The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) said the show's quality was inferior.

DPA

Subject: German news

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