Pope Benedict XVI will make papal broadcasting history on April 22 when he takes part in a televised question and answer session. The pre-recorded program, entitled “In His Image – A Good Friday Special,” will be broadcast on the Italian station RAI Uno.
Out of all the queries submitted from around the world, several people have been selected to ask the Pope a question. Among them is a Muslim mother from the conflict-torn Ivory Coast in west Africa who wants to know more about Jesus as a teacher of peace. There’s also a question from seven Christian students from Baghdad, Iraq.
The RAI program website says viewers will also hear “questions from an Italian mother whose son was in a coma for many years and a young Japanese girl who wrote to ask the Pope to explain the cause of the recent earthquake in that country.”
The television special is set to begin at 2:10 p.m. Rome time, so that it is playing at 3:00 p.m., when Jesus is traditionally believed to have taken his last breath.
The host of the show, Rosario Carello, says he hopes the program will remind viewers of the significance of the day. “This sentiment has been lost,” he said, suggesting that for most television stations Good Friday has become “a day like any other for all the channels, there are even quarrels, idle gossip and things like that.”
The situation led Carello's production team to come up with the idea of reviving a previous program format where viewers could ask questions about Jesus. And who better to answer those questions, they thought, than the Pope himself.
Carello says that the idea initially seemed “crazy” but they saw “something in Pope Benedict's style that caused them to at least propose this idea to him.” And so, “We proposed it and the Pope accepted.” He describes the opportunity to see and hear Pope Benedict through the program as “extraordinary.”