"Catholics should not have to pay for shows where their most sacred rituals and images are considered a starting point for dramatic licence," said the Catholic Civil Rights League, which intends to lodge a formal complaint today with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for airing The Altar Boy Gang.
"With this program, the CBC has moved into the area of blasphemy of sacred rituals."
The Toronto-based Catholic rights group says the CBC is guilty of a "double standard" by lacking sensitivity about the country's most dominant religion, while it hired a Muslim Canadian consultant last year to ensure that Islamic practices were respected in the program Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Two 30-minute pilot shows of The Altar Boy Gang, produced by Sienna Films of Toronto, were broadcast last Friday with the help of more than $600,000 in funding from the Canadian Television Fund, which supports the production of distinctively Canadian TV programs.
Under Canadian Television Fund rules, the CBC makes its own decisions on how to spend money provided by the fund, which is both publicly and privately sponsored, said MaryBeth McKenzie, the CTF communications director.
The CBC website describes The Altar Boy Gang as a show about "teenage boys who use their 'vocation' as altar boys to be bad."
CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said yesterday The Altar Boy Gang will not become a CBC series. He said, however, that he thought the premise of the pilot shows did not cross the line.
"Part of trying to produce compelling programming it to not be afraid of images that someone could find disturbing and I think this, while some people could have found it offensive, it falls within the realm of reasonable," said Mr. Keay.
"We certainly intend no disrespect of the Catholic Church or any other religious organization."
Mr. Keay said the CBC has received no other complaints about the shows.
Joanne McGarry, the civil rights league's executive director, said she watched the two pilots and "personally, the part where I cringed the most, was the desecration of the host."
She said she intended to send a formal complaint, by today, to CBC president Robert Rabinovitch.
"We think the religious faith of all Canadians should be respected in our programming," said Ms. McGarry.
"The Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are sacraments of the Catholic Church, held sacred to Catholics throughout the world and respected in the spirit of religious freedom by almost all Canadians."
COMPLAIN TO THE CBC TODAY: http://www.cbc.ca/contact/index.jsp
What a bunch of bs.
SO hypocritical and biased.
The most dominant religion has its rituals taunted by the mother corp. and the Muslim show gets a consultant on how to respect the Muslim rituals.