Catholic League condemns Sarandon's 'Pope is a Nazi' quip

Actress Susan Sarandon called on to apologize for calling Pope Benedict a "Nazi". / Carlos Barria / Reuters file

Actress Susan Sarandon is known for speaking out on issues...but a recent comment made about Pope Benedict XVI has many religious leaders calling for an apology.

In an interview at a film festival in New York, the movie star, who won an Oscar for her role in the 1995 anti-death penalty film "Dead man Walking" actress, said she had sent a copy of the book on which the movie is based to the pope.

She quipped "The last one. Not this Nazi one we have now," she was reported as saying by New York newspaper Newsday.

She made the remark Saturday in an interview conducted by fellow actor Bob Balaban about Sarandon's career that was part of the Hamptons Film Festival.

German born Pope Benedict, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth in the early 1940s when membership was compulsory, the Vatican has said.

The New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called Sarandon's remark "obscene" and said in a Monday statement that her "ignorance is willful."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which fights anti-Semitism, called on Sarandon to apologize to the Catholic Community.

"Ms. Sarandon may have her differences with the Catholic Church, but that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies. Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust," the ADL said in a statement.

The statement from the Catholic League went further: "Those who have hatred in their veins are not interested in the truth. 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. 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."

Sarandon's representatives have not returned several news agency's calls for a statement from the actress.

Should Sarandon apologize to the Catholic community? Was the remark way out of line? Or was she justified in calling the Pope a 'Nazi'?

Read more: New York Newsday