After Church complaints, German court calls MTV’s ‘Popetown’ ‘too dumb to be insulting’

.- A Munich court yesterday rejected a call by local Catholic Church officials to ban MTV’s airing of Popetown, saying the Vatican parody is “too dumb to be insulting," reported the Irish Examiner.

The court said though the program has provoked “various reactions” it hasn’t risen to the level of disturbing the public peace, which it would have to do to warrant a ban.

The Music Television Network said last week it would broadcast only the first episode of the cartoon, and then consider public reaction before airing other episodes.

But the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising rejected the concession, instead filing a legal injunction against the broadcaster.

"In this way the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church are exposed to ridicule, which is justified neither by the freedom of opinion, of art, of the press nor of broadcasting," the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said in a statement.

The bishops also attacked the television channel for an advertising campaign which showed Jesus getting down from the cross to sit in an armchair and watch the program, reported Reuters. The tagline read: Have a laugh instead of hanging around.

MTV said it had been prepared for resistance to "Popetown" but was surprised by the extent of the backlash from the Catholic Church, reported Reuters. The network also invited Church representatives, a youth political party and viewers to a broadcasted debate on the merits of the cartoon.

The BBC originally commissioned the program but decided in 2004 not to show it after protests from Church leaders. It was aired last year in New Zealand, despite a Church-led campaign against the broadcaster.

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