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Response to the C4 Popetown press release

Response to the C4 Popetown press release

Friday, 3 June 2005,

Family Life International response to the C4 Popetown press release

It was with disappointment that Catholic organisation Family Life International learnt this afternoon that C4 television plans to proceed with the broadcasting of the offensive Popetown cartoon.

Popetown disrespects our current Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the memory of our late Pope John Paul II, and all other popes that have gone before. It portrays Catholic Cardinals as corrupt and religious sisters in a disrespectful manner.

We are certain that if this cartoon was called “Maori-town”or “Islam-town”, and it disrespected those cultures in the same fashion, it would not have even been considered for screening in New Zealand, and rightly so.

This program disrespects Catholic culture. We are not asking for special treatment, we are simply asking for equal treatment and respect.

The C4 media release rightly points out that Popetown was removed from one channel in England. That channel happens to be run by the BBC, one of the most respected, prestigious, and professional broadcasters in the world. The reason they chose not to screen the program was because they were concerned about the offence it would cause to Catholics. The fact that the show will be screened in New Zealand suggests that our broadcasting standards are well below those of the best in the world.

The claim from C4 television that Popetown is similar to other programs they screen such as Wildboyz, Dirty Sanchez, and Jackass is simply not true. None of those programs attack and deride cultural or religious beliefs like Popetown does. This program is also considerably different to the Vicar of Dibley, and Father Ted, two other TV shows which are mentioned in the C4 press release.

Popetown is unacceptable and offensive to Catholics, and we believe that this weekly television mockery is something we should not have to endure just because C4 considers it “edgy”. Our hope is that, for the sake of cultural and religious respect, C4 will do the right thing by New Zealand’s thousands of Catholics and refrain from screening Popetown, despite their stated intention to do so.


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