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Donohue: NBC Retires Episode

By Fr. Robert J. Carr
©Catholic Online 2005

Boston, MA--William Donohue, the President of the Catholic League of Religious and Civil Rights told a Boston Audience of radio listeners March 9 that NBC will not re-air the controversial episode of the program Committed. The show which featured what many call a desecration of the Eucharist, the most sacred element of the Catholic faith, brought great Catholic consternation and condemnation.

Donohue speaking with WRKO-AM morning Talkmaster Peter Blute stated that Alan Wurtzel, Chief Executive for NBC's Department of Broadcast Standards and Practices had reviewed the program and decided that it was offensive enough not to be aired again. Donohue released a previous statement indicating that indeed the show would not air again as per Wurtzel. WRKO is a unit of Entercom and is not affiliated with NBC.

"On the two occasions that I spoke to Wurtzel, he proved to be fair and decisive. His professionalism has certainly won my admiration," wrote Donohue on his website.

Acknowledging to WRKO's Peter Blute that he did receive calls from some Catholics to consider a total boycott of NBC, Donohue said that he found that overall the network had been fair to the Church and he felt that a total boycott would have been out of order. The Boston affiliate of NBC, WHDH-TV, broadcasts the Catholic Mass every Sunday Morning.

NBC is a unit of General Electric. NBC networks include CNBC, Telemundo and Sci Fi.

The controversial episode of the program Committed aired on February 22nd and led to a firestorm of complaints to the Catholic League for the program's overall portrayal of two non-Catholics seeking to dispose of the Eucharist. Some Catholics did indicate that the program handled the situation tastefully. Others, however, condemned the episode indicating that the Eucharist should not be the butt of jokes at any time, much less on a television sitcom. Catholics hold the sacred belief that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ.

This kind of firestorm from the Catholic community is not unknown. During the Reagan Administration, Catholics and then Secretary of the Navy John Lehman were in dispute over the naming of a nuclear submarine Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is the Latin term for the Eucharist; it means Body of Christ. President Reagan had to settle the dispute by changing the submarine's name from USS Corpus Christi to USS The City of Corpus Christi.

Donohue indicated that he considers the case closed.


Catholicism Anew MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Parochial Vicar, 617 542-5682



NBC, Eucharist

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