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The Deacon's Bench

This item crossed over the wire this afternoon:

On last night’s “Tonight Show,” Jay Leno said the following: “Oh, and a Catholic priest in Connecticut has been charged with stealing $1.3 million in church money and using the money for male escorts. Of course, his parish is very upset about this–except the altar boys. They’re going, huh, dodged a bullet on that one. Yeah, he spent $1.3 million on male escorts and, of course, the other priests were very confused. They said: Why buy the escort when the altar boys are free?”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented as follows:

Jay Leno called many years ago to apologize for insulting Catholics. I accepted his apology and told him why he crossed the line. At that time, he was making fun of the Eucharist. He got the point, and the conversation ended amicably. But now I know the man is insincere.

For the past several years, wayward priests have been fodder for his material; miscreant rabbis and imams never seem to get mentioned. Occasionally, he sticks to the culprit, which is not necessarily objectionable, but most of the time he indicts all priests. He did that last night in a most vicious way.

The priest he was talking about was a homosexual; so are most of the abusing priests. Does Jay Leno have the guts to tell jokes about gay priests? Not that he should, but he doesn’t. So he takes the cheap way out and sticks it to over 40,000 priests.

Jay Leno’s jokes painting all priests as child abusers is not comedy. It is bigotry. He has crossed the line too many times.

Contact the executive producer, Debbie Vickers: Debbie.vickers@nbc.com

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