Church dismisses Popetown

Auckland, New Zealand - A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church in New Zealand says the controversial new cartoon series "Popetown" is a waste of time and money.

The British-made series had its worldwide premiere on C4 last night.

The BBC has decided not to show it in Britain because of complaints from Catholics - despite the fact it commissioned the series.

Catholic Church spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer says Popetown was mostly just plain silly.

She says the only real offence that could be taken from it was by handicapped children in wheelchairs, who she says were made fun of by the programme in a way she describes as 'really grotty'.

The show was billed as a cross between South Park and Father Ted, but Lyndsay Freer says Popetown did not have the cleverness of South Park, and it was a non-event.

She believes its biggest crime was not so much that it poked fun at the Catholics - but that it was not funny.

However she says there is a double standard when it comes to Catholicism.

She says if the programme was about the Grand Ayatollah of somewhere, there would be a great deal of trouble.

Lyndsay Freer says some Catholics will be offended, but the Church will not be making a formal complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.