Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow accused the BBC of “gross insensitivity” to the Catholic Church and of encouraging “a tabloid culture” in a letter to The Herald yesterday.
In the letter, the archbishop recalled the BBC’s decision to coincide the broadcasts of the 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s pontificate and Mother Teresa’s beatification in October with a documentary about the efficacy of condoms in the fight against AIDS, called Sex and the Holy City, which presented the Church in a negative light.
"Such scheduling showed gross insensitivity to the spiritual and historical significance of these moments," he wrote.
The archbishop wrote of the BBC’s plans to broadcast a satirical cartoon called Popetown. He also mentioned the inappropriateness of "the hounding of the Archbishop of Westminster last year . . . by the Today program and Newsnight", and " a sneering and aggressive interview on the Church's position on shared-campus schools" in the program Newsnight Scotland.
The archbishop said this tabloid culture is unsuited for "the world's most distinguished broadcasting organization."
A BBC spokesman defended the British news broadcaster’s accuracy in reporting and said the BBC would be happy to respond to the archbishop about his concerns directly rather than through the press.