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NBC Flushes the Sacred

It was a surprise to NBC in 1992 when "Saturday Night Live" aired pop star Sinead O'Connor ripping up a picture of Pope John Paul II and crying "Fight the real enemy!" But now NBC has aired a planned, scripted episode of a sitcom that attacks not the Pope, but Jesus Christ Himself.

The February 22 episode of the painfully unfunny new sitcom "Committed" made a mockery out of the sacrament of the Eucharist. As William Donohue of the Catholic League explained about the show: "By far the most offensive scene occurs when [male characters] Nate and Bowie accidentally flush what they think is the Host down the toilet...To say that Catholics are angry about this show would be an understatement - the outrage is visceral and intense."

NBC has encouraged the producers of "Committed" to "push the limits of comedy," and the producers just pushed comedy off a cliff. Not just Catholics, not just Christians, but anyone who reveres God should be outraged. What's next for this network as it sinks into fourth place? Having its sitcom characters accidentally use the Old Testament as toilet paper? Mocking God isn't funny. It's evil.

If there had been a faithful Catholic anywhere within a mile of the multitude of ignorant producers, directors, actors, and writers of this sitcom, this probably never would have happened. The notion that no one connected to this stupid show has ever set foot in a Catholic church looks obvious in every scene.

The NBC show's funeral mass begins with kneeling, which is wrong. The priest is wearing no vestments for the funeral, just a white robe and a stole, which is wrong. When the non-Catholic characters receive communion without knowing better, that's wrong. Not only do most people understand what Catholics believe about communion, but priests routinely instruct non-Catholics not to receive the Eucharist during communion.

The stupid details continue when the funeral is followed by a bar scene. The priest is standing in the bar in his white robe and stole, although it's opened like a suit jacket to show a white shirt and black tie. Have you ever seen a priest in a bar in a white robe?

The show's neurotic Jewish lead character, Nick, who took communion, but didn't swallow the Host, is carrying it around, wondering how to get rid of it. He and his friend Bowie try to dispose of it by putting it on a tray of crackers in front of the priest. (Funny, huh?) When that doesn't work, there's the aforementioned awful flushing scene. When Nate and Bowie realize they haven't flushed the Body of Christ down the toilet, they return to watch the priest thoughtlessly grab the Host off the cracker tray. Saying "what the Hell," he puts it in his mouth and ends the plotline.

This is probably the dumbest detail of all. A Catholic priest not recognizing a communion wafer is about as believable as a plot in which a television writer doesn't recognize a television.

How is it that when this atrocious idea first bubbled up at NBC, no one saw how incredibly offensive it was? In the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ says "I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Catholic Church calls the sacrament of the Eucharist "the source and summit of the Christian life." Theologian Peter Kreeft has noted what Hollywood comedians just can't see: "The greatness of the Eucharist is known only to faith, not to the feelings or the senses or the sciences."

NBC should have known Catholics across the country would send a flood of outraged complaints. They should have known that the love story of the Gospels, of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, isn't fodder for punch lines, but goes deep into the hearts of most Americans. It's shameful that there wasn't one sentient human being sitting in that long, lame, Tinseltown pipeline wise enough to know they should have stopped the anti-Catholic madness before it got started.

And don't forget the sponsors. Thank you, Toyota. Thank you, Verizon. Thank you, Disney. Thank you, Johnson and Johnson. Thanks for bankrolling this anti-Catholic bile.