I find it hard to understand how, or why, Channel 4 gave Peter Tatchell the chance to make and broadcast a programme of such a nature as “The Trouble with the Pope”. This was a prime time programme providing Tatchell with the opportunity to attack the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. Writing in the Daily Telegraph Damian Thompson the former editor of the Catholic Herald and now the Blogs Editor for the Daily Telegraph said the programme twisted the truth and “doggedly misleads” the audience.
He said Tatchell had made no attempt to understand Catholic doctrine on issues like birth control or abortion. He wrote: “I know that Tatchell profoundly disagrees with Catholic teaching. Fair enough. But I also thought he had enough integrity not to misrepresent key concepts such as papal infallibility, which he implies means that no decision of the Pope can be questioned – a schoolboy error. Tatchell also claims that the Pope’s previous role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave him control over Church doctrines. That last statement is so ignorant that I could hardly believe I was hearing it. Did Channel 4 not employ any researchers for this project?”
The content of Panorama broadcast on BBC1 at much the same time as the Channel 4 programme also featured yet another attack on the Holy Father mainly by Americans who had been abused by priests when they were children. Nobody could ever excuse child abusers and the RC Church was very dilatory in the actions they took towards the abusers and less than helpful to the abused. That said, this all happened in a different age and a different time and Pope Benedict has done everything possible to ensure that this situation never happens again. He has personally met very many of those abused to give his personal apologies for something of which he was in no way responsible.
As the day of the Holy Father’s visit draws even closer, please keep him in your prayers.