The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star is the twenty-first episode of Season 16. It first aired on May 15 2005. It was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Michael Polcino. The episode is the 350th episode produce (in production order) of The Simpsons. Originally slated to air April 10, 2005, it was postponed with no episode playing that night (it was finally aired May 15, 2005) due to the death earlier that week of Pope John Paul II, as the episode revolved around the Roman Catholic Church.
Springfield Elementary School is holding its medieval festival. All the students are given roles: Lisa is queen, Martin is king, and Bart is the cooper (a role he bitterly hates). Groundskeeper Willie, against his will, is cast as the village idiot. Bart is mad about his role and is treated terribly by everyone, especially Lisa. Bart hates his role, but not as mad as Willie. For revenge, Willie unleashes a pie with hundreds of rats inside. Bart is blamed for this prank and is expelled from school. After looking through other schools, Marge decides to enroll Bart in St. Jerome's Catholic School. There, Bart's hip, rebel attitude is frowned upon.
While holding out two dictionaries, Bart meets Father Sean (voiced by Liam Neeson), who came to become Catholic after he was beaten by his father and St. Peter told him to repent. He is sympathetic to Bart and gives him a comic book about the saints and he is drawn into it. At home, Marge becomes concerned over Bart's interest in the Roman Catholic Church. Homer goes to the school to confront Father Sean, but reconsiders after having pancake dinner and playing Bingo. After expansively confessing, Homer learns he must convert to Catholicism to be absolved of his sins. With Bart and Homer both considering joining the Church, Marge (worried she might be alone in Protestant Heaven while Bart and Homer are in Catholic Heaven) seeks help from Rev. Lovejoy and Ned Flanders, who agree to stop them. While they are learning about First Communion, Marge, Lovejoy, and Ned capture Bart.
On the road, Marge and Lovejoy try to bring Bart back to the "one true faith": The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism. Back at the house, Lisa agrees with Homer and Bart's desire to join a new faith. Even after getting laughed at for being Buddhist by Fr. Sean, she says that Marge is taking Bart to a Protestant Youth Festival. Homer and Fr. Sean then leave in immediate pursuit. At the Festival, Marge fails to bribe Bart with the banal Christian rock of Quiet Riot (Pious Riot after their conversion). However, he agrees after he plays some paintball, making her happy that "one of those dumb things would work". Homer and Fr. Sean arrive with a motorcycle, shoot Marge's hair with some paintball bullets and engage in a Mexican standoff with Ned and Lovejoy. Bart says it is stupid that all the different forms of Christianity are feuding. The two groups agree to both fight monogamous gays and stem cells and to take Bart's idea to heart. The episode then jumps 1,000 years into the future, when Bart becomes the last Prophet of God. In this age, mankind is waging war over whether Bart's teachings were about love and tolerance, or understanding and peace (and whether he was betrayed by his minion Milhouse and ripped apart by snowmobiles until he died). One side cries Bart's catchphrase "Eat my shorts", the other cries "Cowabunga" and both sides engage in a bloody battle.
IGN called this episode the best episode of the sixteenth season. They thought of it as a great episode that dealt with the sensitive topic of religious tolerance, stating that "with a daring story, we can't help but remember when The Simpsons was an edgy hip show that would frequently shed a light on cultural complexes". They thought it would be ideal if there were more episodes like this one.