Northern Ireland news

Catholic priests call for RTÉ review after 'offensive' sketch

RTÉ has apologised after dozens of complaints
Mairead Holland

THE organisation representing Catholic priests in Ireland has called on RTÉ to review its policies after a "very offensive" comedy sketch.

In a statement, the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) expressed its dismay at the "portrayal of God as a rapist".

The clip, from satirical website Waterford Whispers News, was screened during the New Year's Eve countdown show on RTÉ One.

It depicted God being taken into police custody and described him as "the latest figure to be implicated in ongoing sexual harassment scandals".

"The ACP, on behalf of its member and Christians of all denominations, would like to express dismay at the decision of RTÉ to televise a very offensive portrayal of the God whom Christians worship," a statement released on Saturday read.

"The portrayal of God as a rapist is deeply offensive. In light of such provocative insensitivity, the ACP would like RTÉ to commit to a review of their polices and approaches to reporting on the Christian faith, and to make the results and relevant recommendations open to public review."

Last week, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin said he was shocked by the "outrageous" content.


"I am shocked that producer/editor of NYE Countdown Show didn't realised how deeply offensive was a 'mocking' news report accusing God of rape and reporting his imprisonment," he wrote on Twitter.

"To broadcast such a deeply offensive and blasphemous clip about God and our Blessed Mother Mary during the Christmas season ... and on the Eve of the Solemn Feast of Mary, Mother of God is insulting to all Catholics and Christians."

RTÉ has apologised after receiving around 1,100 complaints to date about the sketch and acknowledged that some viewers were offended by it.

It said: "RTÉ recognises that matters which can cause offence naturally differ from person to person, within comedy and satire in particular.

"Having reviewed the feedback and complaints received up to this point, RTÉ wishes to apologise to those who were offended by the segment.

"The formal complaints received by RTÉ are being entered into our complaints system and will be responded to in accordance with the relevant statutory process."


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