By Gudrun Schultz

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, March 28, 2006 ( –The CanWest broadcaster that aired the offensive South Park cartoon’s “Bloody Mary” episode has apologized to New Zealanders for any offence that was caused by the show, but the apology appears to be a token gesture.

The broadcaster’s chief operating officer, Rick Friesen, has refused to accept responsibility for any formal complaint, saying he was in compliance with the New Zealand Television Code approved by the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

“However, C4 acknowledges the strength of feeling in relation to the program, and we sincerely apologise for any offence taken,” he said in a statement released last week.

In concession to the outrage caused by the show, he said the C4 station would waive the right to re-run the episode.

“…In recognition of the strong reaction to this matter, we have made the decision not to take up our rights to repeat this episode of South Park,” he said.

The “Bloody Mary” episode depicted a bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary, spraying menstrual blood on to Pope Benedict and a group of cardinals.

The Catholic Bishops of New Zealand wrote to CanWest before the show was aired, asking them not to screen the episode because of the “gratuitous offence” it would give to Christians and Catholics in particular, and to other faiths and cultures. CanWest disregarded all requests to cancel the episode.

See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Canadian Media Company “gives the finger” to Catholicism in New Zealand


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