A Catholic-owned radio station in Connecticut has discontinued most of its non-Catholic programming, which ranged from short inspirational spots to recorded worship services or talk shows produced by various area Protestant and Orthodox churches.
The Hartford Courant reports that the non-Catholic churches had been running their shows on the station for 20 to 30 years.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, which owns WJMJ-FM, decided to replace the shows with programming from the EWTN Global Catholic Network, according to archdiocesan spokesman Father John Gatzak.
Father Gatzak said the archdiocese decided the radio station should be used for Catholic evangelization.
"We have an obligation to reach out to our Catholic population," Gatzak said. He added that there was concern within the archdiocese that 80 percent of the station’s religious programming has been produced by Protestant organizations.
Father Gatzak said the station does not intend to cancel the one-minute “think spots” produced by Protestant groups.
A meeting last week informed the non-Catholic churches of the changes at the station, which had been reported months previously. At the meeting, Father Gatzak agreed to allow producers of the canceled shows to sit on a committee to discuss “truly ecumenical” programming.
Father Gatzak said he would consider a program that would include a “round-table conversation” between clergy from Episcopal, Congregational, Orthodox and Catholic churches.
The Rev. Shelley D.B. Copeland, president of the Capitol Region Conference of Churches, said there are “a lot of hurt feelings” over the archdiocese’s decision.
"People are grieving," said Copeland, "But as I told the group, you can't reach a place of entitlement with someone who's been your host for 30 years."