Conan O'Brien apparently couldn't resist making a pedophile priest joke on his TBS program on Wednesday, after Pope Francis took two school boys on a ride around St. Peter's Square during his weekly audience: "The Pope let two 11-year-old boys ride in the Popemobile with him...Afterwards, the Vatican told the Pope, that's not the kind of publicity we're looking for today. What the hell is that all about? Kids, get in – come on!" [MP3 audio available here; video below]
The Catholic League's Bill Donohue (Media Research Center president Brent Bozell serves on the organization's board of advisors) took the comedian to task for his "below the belt" jab at the pontiff:
On April 14, Conan O'Brien made fun of Pope Francis. On April 15, he made fun of Jesus. We said nothing about these two jokes because they were not insulting, and we are not in the business of criticizing comedians when they take light-hearted jabs at our religion. But last night was different.
In his April 16 monologue, Conan said the following: "The pope let two 11-year-old boys ride in the popemobile with him. Afterwards the Vatican told the pope 'that's not the kind of publicity we're looking for.'"
By perpetuating the stereotype that priests are child molesters, Conan O'Brien discredits himself and foments hatred of priests. We make critical distinctions at the Catholic League between disagreement and derision, and we expect no less from late-night talk-show hosts and their writers.
In the past, O'Brien has turned to vile left-wing HBO host Bill Maher to throw insults at Catholics. Just over a year earlier, during a February 12, 2013 segment on Conan, Maher reacted to Pope Benedict XVI's resignation announcement by noting that "we found out earlier this year or last year in the primaries when the Republicans made contraception an issue that 98 percent of Catholics use birth control." He then snarked, "Apparently, the only ones who don't are the priests. Oh, they would if altar boys could get pregnant."
Back in 2008, the atheist "comedian" slammed Catholics' belief in the Eucharist on O'Brien's former NBC program by claiming that they have to be "schizophrenic" to go about the lives as usual six days out of the week, and then go to Mass on Sunday and believe that they're drinking "the blood of a 2,000-year-old space god."