A program broadcast a blasphemous mockery of the Virgin Mary on Catalan public television TV3, in the middle of Holy Week, which sparked outrage even outside Catholic ranks.
During the TV3 program Está pasando, an actress dressed as Our Lady of Rocío, performed a skit: the actress, with a caricatural Andalusian accent, alluded to an alleged sexual life of the Virgin in a very vulgar way.
The Virgin of Rocío is venerated at the sanctuary of the same name which hosts the most important pilgrimage in Spain with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims on the day of Pentecost.
The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, demanded on Saturday that the Catalan public broadcaster apologize. The Federation of Andalusian Cultural Entities in Catalonia (FECAC) joined the appeal, considering what happened to be a “lack of respect.”
The Spanish Lay Forum issued a statement: “With deep sadness we raise a protest and we make an act of reparation for the mockery of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and our Mother, uttered in a television program at the middle of Holy Week. … If we were silent, the stones in the road would rise up.”
Reaction of the Bishops of Catalonia
The bishops of the Catalan dioceses have also expressed “their rejection” of the blasphemous parody of the Virgin of Rocío broadcast by TV3.
In their press release, the bishops express their rejection of this “interview” linked to the Virgin of Rocío, because they consider that it “hurts the sensitivity of many people and in particular that of all believers who, under this invocation of the Virgin Mary, preserve their faith and their religious traditions.”
The bishops affirm that public television must respect all beliefs and maintain corresponding religious neutrality, respecting the feelings of believers and avoiding offending people's sensibilities. They conclude that such “jokes” drain away any sense of humor and undermine the dignity of the faith of many people.
Catholic Lawyers Accuse the Channel
The Spanish Christian Lawyers Foundation has filed a complaint against Catalan public television for TV3's parody of Our Lady of Rocío.
The organization accused the show's presenters and the actress who played the Virgin of Rocío of committing a “crime of mockery.” The President of the Foundation, Polonia Castellanos, asked that the Penal Code and the law concerning this offense be applied to condemn those responsible for the offense to the religious feelings of Catholics during Holy Week.
Pere Aragonès, the president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, a political organization of the autonomous community of Catalonia, chose not to enter into the controversy, declaring that it was a pre-campaign debate for the municipal elections. However, he showed respect and consideration for people who profess religious faith.
For his part, the presenter of the TV3 program replied to the president of the Junta of Andalusia, Juanma Moreno, saying that he would not apologize. The Audiovisual Council of Catalonia (CAC) announced that it would analyze the program, after having received a complaint for religious offense, per the usual procedure in this type of case.
Let us emphasize that this “mockery” is blasphemous because it directly attacks a Catholic dogma: the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That this kind of nonsense is presented on public television during Holy Week only aggravates the attack on the faith of Catholics and on the honor of the Mother of God.