Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon has been slammed for calling the Pope a Nazi.
The 65-year-old American actress made the comment about Pope Benedict XVI over the weekend during an appearance at the Bay Street Theatre in New York while talking about her 1995 film Dead Man Walking.
She said she had sent a copy of the book it was based on to the Pope, but then clarified which one she was talking about.
Utterly obscene: Religious groups have criticised Susan Sarandon for calling the Pope a Nazi. File pics
"The last one, not this Nazi one we have now," she told interviewer Bob Balaban. When he showed his disapproval of her comments Sarandon allegedly then repeated the comment drawing laughter from the crowd.
Pope John Paul II died in 2005 after serving as the head of the Catholic Church for 26 years.
But Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League said that the comments made by the star were "obscene".
"Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) was conscripted into the Nazi Youth the way every other 14-year-old German boy was at the time," Donohue explained. Unlike most others, he not only refused to go to the compulsory meetings � he actually deserted the Hitler Youth. Which is precisely why Jews today regard him as a friend, not as an enemy. In short, what Sarandon said is positively obscene."
The Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism, called on Sarandon to apologise to the Catholic Community.
In a statement, it said, "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."
Sarandon has yet to comment on the furore her words have caused.