The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights isn’t very happy with Susan Sarandon after the actress referred to Pope Benedict XVI as a Nazi. The comment was made during a sit down chat with fellow actor Bob Balaban in front of an audience at the Bay Street Theater. A few members of the crowd laughed at the remark, but more than a few Catholics didn’t take too kindly to her words.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue issued a statement today that both blasted Sarandon herself as woman “full of hatred” and defended the Pope’s time with the Hitler Youth. Like all German boys, he was forced to join the organization, but he actually deserted before doing any harm.

According to Newsday, Sarandon’s initial comment was very off the cuff. She was telling Balaban a story about sending a copy of Sister Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking to the Pope, but she clarified it was to “the last one” and not “the Nazi we have now”. Her interviewer seemed a bit surprised by the remark, but Sarandon just repeated it a second time.

Even more than sixty years later, the word Nazi is still very jarring, especially when applied to someone who actually was forced to join the Hitler youth. Even if the actress was trying to make a statement about her thoughts on the current Pope, there are definitely better words she could have chosen. As of press time, she hasn’t issued any sort of public statement on the matter, but if one comes, we’ll make sure to bring it to you.

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