In an interview over the weekend, Sarandon, who has never been shy about expressing her political views, discussed her 1995 film, "Dead Man Walking," based on a book by Sister Helen Prejean that condemns the death penalty. Newsday reported Sarandon told the interviewer she sent a copy of the book to the pope, saying, in an apparent off-hand comment, "The last one, not this Nazi one we have now."
Catholic League president Bill Donohue said Sarandon's comment showed willful ignorance. "The fact is that Joseph Ratzinger (the pope) was conscripted at the age of 14 into the Hitler Youth, along with every other young German boy," Donohue said in a release. "Unlike most of the other teenagers, Ratzinger refused to go to meetings, bringing economic hardship to his family. Moreover, unlike most of the others, he deserted at the first opportunity."
Donohue said, "Sarandon's comment is obscene. Sadly, it's what we've come to expect from her."