TV's Homer Simpson 'not a Catholic'
The producer of the Simpsons has admitted he is baffled after the Vatican declared that Homer and his son Bart were true Catholics.
"My first reaction is shock and awe, and I guess it makes up for me not going to church for 20 years," said Al Jean.
He added that the Simpson family attends the First Church of Springfield "which is decidedly Presbylutheran".
"We've pretty clearly shown that Homer is not Catholic," he told the Entertainment Weekly website. "I really don't think he could go without eating meat on Fridays for even an hour."
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano had said: "Few people know it and he does everything to hide it but it is true: Homer J Simpson is Catholic."
It quoted an analysis by a Jesuit priest, the Rev Francesco Occhetta, discussing Homer's and his son Bart's conversion in a 2005 episode after meeting with a sympathetic priest, Father Sean, voiced by actor Liam Neeson.
L'Osservatore says the analysis shows that behind the TV programme's jokes are themes "linked to the sense and quality of life".
"'The Simpsons' remain among the few programs for children in which the Christian faith, religion and the question of God are recurring themes," it said.
"The family recites prayers together before meals and, in its own way, believes in heaven."
While noting that The Simpsons often takes jabs at religious figures, it said parents should not be afraid to let their children watch "the adventures of the little guys in yellow".