Despite good coverage of Pope John Paul II’s 25th anniversary and of the life of Mother Teresa this week, the BBC has offended many Catholics by broadcasting two programs, “which have been biased against and hostile to the Catholic Church,” says the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
In their statement, issued this morning, the bishops refer to the Oct. 13 broadcast of a BBC Panorama program, entitled “Sex and the Holy City”. The program argues that while the pope preaches peace and life, his teachings against abortion and contraception cause widespread poverty and death.
The bishops also take issue with a 'Kenyon Confronts' program, which aired Oct. 15 and focussed on past cases of child abuse committed by two priests more than 25 years ago. While the bishops contend that the program contained significant disclosures, “they were set alongside contentious and biased reporting of the Church's actions, both past and present,” they said. Furthermore, the bishops claim the BBC used an uncorroborated source for serious allegations against the Church.
“For many decades the BBC has deserved and enjoyed a world-wide reputation for fairness and objectivity,” said the bishops. “This reputation is increasingly tarnished.
“In England and Wales there is considerable concern that elements within the BBC are simply hostile to religious belief and to any traditional sense of the sacred,” they continued.
“The decision to broadcast both of these programs in the week when Catholic people throughout the world are celebrating the silver jubilee of the pope and the life of Mother Teresa is a distressing sign of this insensitivity. It contributes to a further loss in the trust of many in the BBC as a public service broadcaster,” they said.