A decade or so after the show (arguably) reached its peak, the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, has promulgated its affection for the Simpsons. On Tuesday, the paper said that if not for the show "many today wouldn't know how to laugh," the Associated Press reports. As everyone reporting on the story has noted, it's an odd pairing, given Homer's propensity for hard drinking and calling Jesus "Jebus," but L'Osservatore Romano takes it in stride, calling Homer's frequent mixups "a mirror of the indifference and the need that modern man feels toward faith."
The Vatican is not the first to feel strangely flattered by Simpsons mockery. Buzz Aldrin, Ringo Starr and Bette Midler have all appeared in episodes where they got less-than-flattering portraits. This is from the episode with Ringo:
Smithers: Have you ever painted the rich and powerful?
Marge: Well, no. Just Ringo Starr.