The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and a board member of a network’s parent company have condemned last week's episode of South Park, saying it was appalling and disrespectful of the Virgin Mary.
The league said the program, which aired on Comedy Central in the U.S. and the Comedy Network in Canada the day before the feast of the Immaculate Conception, "defiled the Virgin Mary," reported the CBC.
The episode, entitled "Bloody Mary," revolves around a town's discovery that a statue of the Virgin Mary has begun bleeding. The event is dubbed a miracle and the people flock to see the statue, including Pope Benedict XVI, who concludes that the statue is simply menstruating.
In a statement issued Thursday, the league demanded that Viacom, Comedy Central's parent company, issue an apology to Catholics and pledge to permanently retire the episode and not make it available on DVD.
Viacom board member Joseph Califano Jr., a practicing Catholic, also condemned the episode Friday, after viewing it.
"I found it an appalling and disgusting portrayal of the Virgin Mary. It is particularly troubling to me as a Roman Catholic that the segment has run on the eve and day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day for Roman Catholics," Califano said in a statement Friday.He called for a review of the show by Viacom president and chief executive Tom Freston.