Television Sponsors Withdraw Support from Catholic Priest
One thing is certain: ABC's advertising department needs an overhaul. It may have added fuel to the fire with its announcement that the Thursday-night drama Nothing Sacred would be about an "irreverent priest who questions the existence of God, feels lust in his heart and touches people's souls." Following threats of boycotts by a number of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim organizations, several sponsors have withdrawn from the show, which has now aired twice and has been highly praised by many television critics.
Opponents of the show say that it promotes negative stereotypes about Catholics who remain loyal to church teachings. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, told the New York Post, "The priest comes from a dysfunctional family, thinks of his vocation as a job, and rejects church teachings on sexuality. He tells his parishioners to call a moratorium on sins of the flesh. Loyal Catholics are portrayed as coldhearted, selfish, and tyrannical." But defenders of the show say that Nothing Sacred depicts the complexities of modern Catholic life. National Catholic Reporter describes it as a show that "has had the good fortune to be noticed by some right-wing types who kicked a little controversial dust in its face because, darn it, the series deals with reality."
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson