By John-Henry Westen

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 2, 2009 ( – In all of his 16 years defending the rights of Catholics, the President of the Catholic League has “never seen a more defamatory, obscene and vicious show on TV.”  League President Bill Donohue was referring to the August 27 edition of the CBS/Showtime program Penn & Teller. 

The half-hour show libeled the Catholic Church with impunity, blaming the Church for, as Donohue put it, “every evil in history.” Show host Jillette said the “intolerance, greed, paranoia, hypocrisy and callous disregard for human suffering” was the hallmark of the Catholic Church. Others on the show branded the Church as an “amoral” and “power hungry” institution that is just worried about its “cash flow.”

Donohue said on Fox News that, “Penn & Teller's Nazi-like assault on Catholicism that took place on August 27 will go down in history as one of the most vile, obscene programs ever aired in any nation. That CBS, which owns Showtime, allows this to go on is positively unbelievable.”

Donohue has requested a meeting with CBS officials to discuss the matter.  He spoke to one official by phone Monday, but the Catholic League told that no official meeting has yet been held.

This week the League commenced a mass mailing of DVD copies of the outrageous episode to bishops and religious leaders across the nation. 414 bishops, hundreds of influential Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Orthodox Christian, Muslim and Mormon religious leaders across the United States are to receive the packages.

The League has also posted the complete program on its website here. (WARNING- HIGHLY OFFENSIVE AND FOUL LANGUAGE)

The League is encouraging all people of good will, Catholics and non-Catholics alike to demand that CBS cancel the Penn & Teller show.

Donohue describes just a few of the falsehoods in the program, saying: “Jillette lied about the Vatican's reaction to Sabina Guzzanti, an Italian foul-mouthed comedian who staged an assault on the pope in 2008: the pope never sought to throw 'her sexy ass in jail' and never once sought any punitive measure against her – it's all a bald face lie! Jillette lied about a 1962 Vatican document – it was a statement about penalties for priests who used the confessional to solicit sex: it was not a cover-up for sexual misconduct! He lied about Pope Benedict XVI – he had absolutely nothing to do with overseeing cases of priestly sexual misconduct in the United States! And so on.”

The show interviewed anti-Catholic activists who masquerade as Catholics in order to have them bash the Church. Said Donohue, “Spokesmen for Catholics for Choice, SNAP and Dignity – three anti-Catholic groups that lie about their Catholic status – twisted, distorted and ridiculed Church teachings on sexuality.”

The League has provided contact information for CBS officials so that they may hear the voices of many requesting that the Penn & Teller show be cancelled.

Contact CBS rep Nancy Tellem at [email protected]


Mr. Leslie Moonves
Chairman of CBS
7800 Beverly Blvd., Rm. 23
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2112

Matthew Blank, the Chairman and CEO of Showtime.
[email protected]