The official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, congratulated "The Simpsons" on its 20th anniversary, saying it reflects "the religious and spiritual confusion of our times."
The paper, in an article titled "Aristotle's virtue and Homer's doughnut," said that relationship with God was one of the show's "most important -- and most serious" themes.
"Homer finds in God his last refuge, even though he sometimes gets his name sensationally wrong," L'Osservatore said. In one episode Homer Simpson calls on God for help, addressing him as Superman -- if he is there.
The L'Osservatore said the cartoon captured the paradox of modern people's indifference toward yet great need for the sacred, adding it might even be possible to construct a "Simpsonian theology" from Homer's frequent conversations with the Almighty.
Not all was praise. The abusive language and violence of some episodes were faulted.