The Vatican has declared that the Simpsons are a fine example of the Catholic ideal, and given parents the green light to let their kids watch the animated show.
The declaration, in Vatican in-house mag Osservatore Romano, confirms both an earlier paean to the show, and the Simpsons' own onscreen conversion a few years ago.
The paper cites the show's constant questioning of faith - a popular pastime for Catholics, as well as their attempts to pray before meals. We're pretty sure we've also seen Homer try to nail Bart to things, but we're not sure this is the sort of thing Rome had in mind.
Back in December the Vatican published a homage to the show celebrating its 20th anniversary.
While accepting that some of the violence was a bit much, it praised the "Tender, irreverent, scandalous, and ironic, ramshackle and profound, philosophical and at times even theological synthesis of crazy pop culture and warm and nihilistic American middle class" and noted that "Homer finds his last refuge in God" (or Superman). (Thanks Google Translate)
Of course, this is the Vatican we're talking about, and the devil is of course in the detail. In praising Homer, Rome is effectively dissing other characters in the series - notably the happy-clappy and neighhourly Ned Flanders.
Indeed, back in December, the Vatican referred to "the naive radicalism of Flanders and his sons (sic) manic biblical scholars." (Thanks again Google)
So there you have it. The Vatican can deal with beer-swilling, child-whacking screw-ups and their conniving, underachieving children. It's the wild-eyed evangelicals it has a problem with. ®