When you think Catholic, you probably don't think Homer Simpson, who has long preferred eating donuts to attending church, and whose worship place of choice is the "Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism." That didn't stop the Vatican from embracing Homer in its daily newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano: "Few people know it, and he does everything to hide it," the paper declared. "But it's true: Homer J. Simpson is Catholic." The broadsheet goes on to praise "The Simpsons" for its treatment of faith, and singles out a 2005 episode in which Homer (briefly) converts to Catholicism. (Watch a Russia Today report about "The Simpsons" and Catholicism.) Fans of the show are, frankly, puzzled:

The church is really reaching
"Let me get this straight, says Lauren Beckham Falcone at The Boston Herald. "The Catholic church won’t accept gays, divorcees and Madonna, but they’ll embrace a paunchy cartoon character? Someone’s been hitting the sacramental wine."

 Sigh... the Vatican will never be hip
"Uh, ok," shrugs Jeff Neumann at Gawker. This article is clearly just a "lame attempt at being 'cool.'"

Homer's missing a certain prerequisite
"Homer's near-affair with a co-worker" and "neck-chocking corporal punishment on little Bart" are "indeed quite Catholic," snipes Dennis Romero at LA Weekly. But "as far as we know, Bart was never molested."

Let's not stop here
If the Vatican "really wanted to make a splash," says Bill Chappell at NPR, it should have hired Springfield's local washed-up actor Troy McClure to "announce the new saints" at a recent canonization ceremony.

Not that we know of...
"My first reaction is shock and awe," a "Simpsons" executive producer tells Entertainment Weekly, "and I guess it makes up for me not going to church for 20 years." On the other hand, "we've pretty clearly shown that Homer is not Catholic. I really don't think he could go without eating meat on Fridays — for even an hour."