In a strongly worded editorial signed by Andrea Galli, the Italian Catholic daily “Avvenire” slammed the country’s state-run television network for considering the broadcast of a controversial documentary against the Pope and the Catholic Church produced by the BBC.
The RAI network recently announced it had acquired the rights to the documentary “Sexual Crimes and the Vatican,” in which the BBC directly attacks the Pope, calling him “responsible” for “covering up” sexual abuse, based on an erroneous and purposeful misinterpretation of a document published years ago by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which at the time was under the direction of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The document’s actual intent was to prevent sexual abuse.
After airing in Britain months ago, the documentary sparked an official complaint by the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom. The archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, sent a complaint to the director of the BBC, accusing the network of lacking serious research, distorting the truth and open persecution against the Catholic Church.
The documentary was produced by Colm O’Gorman, a militant anti-Catholic who years ago announced his commitment to attacking the hierarchy and especially the Pope.
Although RAI has yet to air the documentary, pirated copies of the program with subtitles in Italian have already found their way on to the internet.
The front-page editorial in “Avvenire” compares the broadcast of the documentary to “fishing through a dumpster to find a rotten egg” and said the program consists of “a hodgepodge of assertions and false testimonies that were opportunely exposed by the Bishops’ Conference of England, which said the BBC ‘should be ashamed of the journalism used to create this unwarranted attack on Pope Benedict XVI.”
Avvenire said the documentary was “good only to be thrown into the dumpster,” adding that its producers “should bow their heads and ask for forgiveness.”
The head of a government committee that oversees RAI, Mario Landolfi, said last weekend he had written to the network’s general director asking that the document not be aired. “To allow it would be to turn the public network into a firing squad ready to take aim against the Church and the Pope,” Landolfi said.