AN EPISODE of cartoon program South Park that features the Pope has been pulled from Australian television.
The final episode of the current series of the long-running US animated series — which had been scheduled for Monday — has been "deferred", according to an SBS spokesman.
Because of sensitivities about religious cartoons in the wake of the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, SBS would have to give "some more thought" to the scheduling of the Bloody Mary episode.
"Given the current worldwide controversy over cartoons of religious figures, we've decided to defer this program," he said in a statement yesterday.
The episode shows a statue of the Virgin Mary spurting menstrual blood on the Pope.
It was shown in New Zealand on Wednesday night, prompting a vigil by hundreds of Catholics outside broadcaster TV Works. Despite the protest, 200,000 New Zealanders watched the program, six times the usual audience.
Religion has been a comedic target on the show, which has skewered the Mormon faith, had characters making derogatory remarks about Jews and shown Jesus hosting a TV show and fighting Satan in a boxing ring.
An episode recently screened in Australia featured Muhammad as part of a superhero group. Together with Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and others, Muhammad helps character Kyle defeat an evil cult.
As reported in the Age newspaper