by Natalie Finn | Thu., Mar. 14, 2013 5:00 AM
Fresh start alert!
With the selection of Pope Francis I (née Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina) as the 266th pontiff, there's a chance for one and all to move forward—past the scandals and controversy of yesteryear—and press on with a new hope regarding what transpired Wednesday in Vatican City.
But let's not forget all the controversy just yet.
So, with memories of the long tenure of John Paul II and the relatively brief reign and resignation of Benedict XVI still fresh in our minds, let's take a look at five times the leader of the Catholic church has figured into some Hollywood-themed hullabaloo:
Brian Zak/Sipa Press/AP, Larry Busacca/WireImage
1. Jeez, Louise: The Catholic League called Susan Sarandon "despicable" for referring to Pope Benedict XVI as "this Nazi [pope] we have now" in October 2011, the German-born pontiff's brief membership in the Hitler Youth (mandatory for German boys of a certain age after December 1939) apparently not sitting well with the Oscar winner.
Icon Productions, ZumaPress
2. Papal Recall: The Anti-Defamation League, no fan of Mel Gibson's 2003 passion project The Passion of the Christ, actually didn't make a fuss over Pope John Paul II reportedly giving the film his proverbial blessing following a private screening at the Vatican. An ADL spokesman said the pope had a "clear moral voice and understanding" when it came to anti-Semitism—which, the ADL had concluded, Gibson's movie was promoting. A few weeks later, however, the pope's longtime secretary said the pontiff had indeed watched the film but had not endorsed it in any way. (The ADL didnt't have a problem with that, either.)
Larry Busacca/Getty Images
3. Passion of the Minaj: At the 2012 Grammys, Nicki Minaj walked the red carpet with a pope look-alike before hitting the stage for a religious imagery-utilizing performance of "Roman Holiday." The Catholic League called it a "vulgar" insult to Catholicism and a failure by the Recording Academy to allow her mock-exorcism, dancing monks and naughty choir boys to be beamed live to millions of people. Minaj later said of her red-carpet companion: "The religious figure is there because he was called on by Roman's mom to rehabilitate him." She made no apologies for her widely panned (by more than religious organizations) performance.
4. Homer's Reverence: Fox postponed an episode of The Simpsons that featured Bart getting booted to Catholic school (and that inevitably zinged organized religion, the priesthood and other sanctities) following the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005. "The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star," in which Liam Neeson provided the voice of an understanding—and upstanding—priest, ultimately aired that May. Five years later, the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, outed the Simpson family as Catholic. "Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J Simpson is a Catholic," the paper said.
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
5. Virgin Dearth: What about Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour didn't annoy the pope? In 1990, John Paul II called for a boycott of her concerts in Rome due to her mingling of Catholic imagery with the behavior going on onstage (simulation of masturbation, homosexual activity, etc.). One of three scheduled dates in Italy was canceled. Fourteen years later, the Vatican took a disliking to her endorsement of Kabbalah. Two years after that, Catholics were ticked off by her singing "Live to Tell" while strapped to a cross and wearing a crown of thorns during her Confessions Tour. Moral of the story: Madonna and dogma don't mix.
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