The most senior Catholic official in Ireland has struck out at national broadcaster RTÉ for screening a "deeply offensive and blasphemous” sketch in which God was depicted as a rapist.
The sketch, produced by satirical group Waterford Whispers News, featured a mock news report showing a caricature of God being arrested for "forcing himself on a young middle-eastern migrant and allegedly impregnating her against her will".
Archbishop Eamon Martin said the sketch, which was broadcast on New Year's Eve, was “insulting to all Catholics and Christians”.
"I am shocked that producer/editor of 'NYE Countdown Show' didn’t realise how deeply offensive was a mocking 'news report' accusing God of rape & reporting his imprisonment," Martin wrote on Twitter. "This outrageous clip should be removed immediately & denounced by all people of goodwill."
He added: “To broadcast such a deeply offensive and blasphemous clip about God & Our Blessed Mother Mary during the Christmas season on ‘NYE Countdown Show’ on @RTE, @RTEOne & on Eve of the Solemn Feast of Mary, Mother of God is insulting to all Catholics and Christians.”
Martin tagged RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes in one of his tweets.
The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) also slammed RTÉ for screening the sketch and called for a full review into the broadcaster's reporting of the Christian faith.
The Archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Farrell, criticised the sketch as “mocking the divine” and “trivialising rape victims”.
The clip reportedly received more than 1,000 official complaints.
RTÉ later apologised for the skit, noting that "matters which can cause offence naturally differ from person to person, within comedy and satire in particular".
"Having reviewed the feedback and complaints received up to this point, RTÉ wishes to apologise to those who were offended by the segment," the broadcaster added.
RTÉ said that the complaints made against the screening will be "entered into our complaints system and will be responded to in accordance with the relevant statutory process".
RTÉ did not say it would be removing the sketch from the RTÉ Player.