Popular late night comedian Jay Leno has attracted heat for offending a Catholic group with jokes he recently made on his NBC program, "The Tonight Show."
The U.S. Catholic League slammed the talk show host for poking fun at a Los Angeles bishop who recently admitted to fathering two children in the Monday episode of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." The butt of Leno's joke was Bishop Gabino Zavala, who resigned his position after confessing that he had fathered two children.
Zavala, 60, revealed to his supervisors in December that he is the father of two teenaged children, who are living with their mother in another state. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez shared the news in a letter to the Catholic archdiocese.
On the show, after explaining what happened, Leno said: "I thought bishops could only move diagonally. I didn't know they could move up and down." When making these remarks, Leno gestured with his hands, waving them side to side, and then up and down, the Catholic League said in a statement emailed to The Christian Post Tuesday.
Leno went on to say, "Isn't it amazing the bishop of L.A. confessed to fathering two children? But, hey, he didn't use birth control, so at least he followed the church rules. Ya gotta give him credit for that."
The League slammed Leno's remarks in its statement.
"There are those who will say, sure, Leno was tough on the bishop, but what do you expect from a late-night talk show host? After all, had there been no wrongdoing, there would have been no wise crack. This view is seriously mistaken," Catholic League president Bill Donohue said.
Donohue suggested that Leno would not have made fun of reports stating that cases of sexual abuse of minors took place among Orthodox Jewish rabbis in Brooklyn, suggesting that the host is only ready to poke fun at Christian leaders. The Catholic League president also expressed doubt that Leno could bring himself to joke about a serious issue, such as the high rate of HIV/AIDS among homosexuals.
"But if there is one wayward Catholic clergyman, it's not only acceptable to ridicule him, it's okay to mock the teachings of the Catholic Church," Donohue complained.
Leno had previously fallen out of favor with the organization, which keeps a scrupulous record of all jokes involving the Roman Catholic Curch the late night comedian has made.