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The Pope to Broadcast Thought for the Day on Christmas Eve

Wednesday 22 December 2010, 16:32

Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick Head of Interactive, Radio 3

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Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to London in September 2010.

BBC Radio 4 has just made this announcement:

Pope Benedict XVI, will deliver his Thought For The Day on Radio 4, Friday 24th December at 7.45am.

Pope Benedict's Christmas message to the British people follows his UK visit in September. In an unprecedented move - the Pope has not presented material specifically written for a radio or television audience before - Pope Benedict recorded Thought For The Day in Rome on Wednesday 22nd December.

Gwyneth Williams, Controller, BBC Radio 4 said: "I'm delighted Pope Benedict is sharing his Christmas message with the Radio 4 audience. It's significant that the Pope has chosen Thought for the Day to give his first personally scripted broadcast - and what better time to do so than on the eve of one of the biggest celebrations on the Christian calendar."

Thought for the Day is broadcast within the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 at 7.45am Monday - Saturday. It offers approximately three minutes of personal reflection from faith leaders and believers from a range of religious denominations. Those contributing to the programme have included Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Indarjit Singh and Mona Siddiqui.

Thought for the Day was first broadcast in 1970, succeeding earlier religious thought strands Ten to Eight (1965-1970) and Lift Up Your Hearts on the BBC Home Service (1939-1965).

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    Comment number 41.

    Robert Pigott suggests that the Pope has relaxed some of the Church's teachings . Can he name one ? When was the last time that Archbishop Rowan got such a puff piece on the Radio ?

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    Comment number 42.

    Nice to see that Britain, the land of Freedom of Speech and Democracy still cries 'Foul!' when a Roman Catholic wants to express the Roman Catholic opinon. It's nothing new, of course, Catholics in Britain have been treated with suspicion (if not hatred) for almost 500 years. Yet these 'free-speakers' and 'free-thinkers' celebrate that they are enjoying their freedom of speech. Freedom of speech extends to all, whether or not they agree with you. It's British proponents only extend this privilege to those who are not of the Catholic Church: witness the furore a few years ago when the Prime Minister announced that he was considerin converting to Catholicism..."A Papist PM! Good Lord, not here!". I find it ironic that people (many of whom have commented above), complain that the Catholic Church is outdated while treating it with a scorn that was proved to be unjustifiable 500 years ago, when it began. The Roman Catholic Church is not outdated,it just adheres to the Faith that began a little over 2000 years ago. Truth is Truth, and I try not to proud by the fact that Mother Church has stayed with this opinion through centuries of scorn, hatred, and downright persecution in Britain.

    5 minutes and counting. Bring on Christ's Vicar on Earth.

    Love and Peace to all. x

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    Comment number 43.

    Amen! Well done to His Holiness. x

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    Comment number 44.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/profile.shtml?userid=14731401">Christopher Halliday, Archbishop Rowan Williams has appeared on Thought for the Day eight times. Listen here.

    Steve Bowbrick, editor, Radio 4 blog

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    Comment number 45.

    Having listened to Poly and her views with John H I can now see why I was moved to complain about her when she worked for the BBC. As a Catholic Christian I feel that I have been marginalised by stealth; the vast majority of us plebs did not understand the meaning of the word secular, is it a description for the people on the fringes with loud mouths who do not really understand what Faith, Spirituality and Religion really means to us Plebs who actually have Faith, Spirituality and that demonised (in the secular world) thing called religion. There are many silent voices out there who are people of Faith even if their bums are not on pews. And let us not forget that the sins committed by members of the Church are merely human members of the church who are not immune from the frailties of human nature; they will be judged, it was not the Church ( and in this context we speak of the Catholic family)it was individuals within the family. They will be judged by the far greater Deity; greater than any earthly body. Thank you BBC for having the courage to represent the silent voices of society. Happy and Joyful Christmas to one and all and to those who are not of the Christian faith or those who have not Faith I say enjoy our celebration and our prayers are for you too.

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    Comment number 46.

    RobFenlon writes: "At least Mother Church has remained constant throughout nearly 2000 years."

    True. Constantly evil.

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    Comment number 47.

    I dealt with this broadcast in just the same way as I did when we had to suffer the visit of Vincent Nichols to King's College London where I work - ignore his drivel. I have no interest in the ramblings of a homophobic ex-Nazi who is the leader of an international organization whose main agenda is to undermine the rights of women for equality of opportunity, for gays to have equality of anything, for children to have freedom from thought (or even, latterly, freedom from sexual abuse), and whose policies on contraception have contributed both to global overpopulation and countless extra deaths from AIDS. His organization is actively against most progress in medicine and other branches of science. We can always turn our radios or TVs off - that's what I did. What the UK should be doing is to remove the absurd "recognition" of the Vatican as a "state", so that the way can be paved for Ratzinger to be charged for his alleged part in covering up the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.

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    Comment number 48.

    I am not a Roman Catholic but I am not sure what a lot of the posters on this blog expected the Pope to say, especially in a short pre-recorded segment.

    I do not understand why so many rail against the expression of Christian goodwill at this time of year. I trust each of you will be not want to take the days off work afforded to you by this religious holiday, as you would see this as the ultimate hypocrisy?

    Also MellorSJ "constantly evil"?? Ridiculous comment, totally unworthy of the hour it took you to think of and then type.

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    Comment number 49.

    While we speak, women in Nicaragua are suffering thanks to the Catholic church's policies of not allowing abortion under any circumstances. Women are seeking backstreet abortions and suffering the complications of infection and death. They bring children into the works under awful circumstances and the church cares not a jot apart from ensuring their punishment for passion and lust withough any sanction against men. Gynaecologists have difficulty treating women even with ectopic pregnancy, which is life threatening if not treated, as they risk prosecution if they do so.
    This is conventiently ignored when the pope visited the UK and no reference is made to it, of course, during the broadcast.
    The catholic church is causing suffering and death due to its policies NOW and to have the pope on air to so many unwilling listeners with no one holding him to account makes me wonder about the impartiality of the BBC, which treasured though it is during this ago of low quality media, should be more savvy than this.
    At least include atheists and secularists on the slot to address current issues of abuse of women, which are swept under the carpet in the way those of child abuse were in the past.

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    Comment number 50.

    Oh dear, what a shame that pretty much all these comments are negative, largely misinformed and ignorant.
    I expect all the contributors are celebrating Christmas this year. What are you celebrating? Presumably the very thing that the Pope has been talking about, namely Christ being born in order to suffer and die for us and our sins. The Pope's message, like Christ's is supremely positive: "Give thanks to God for his goodness...He offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down; He gives us hope, He brings us life" and yet all this ranting is focused on Pope Benedict who is a man, just as susceptible to the same failings as the rest of us. Catholics, including priests, bishops and the Pope, are very aware of their own sinful nature and are utterly ashamed of what has been perpetrated by a few priests and believe me, we confess and do penance for our sins. In the history of time only Jesus and his mother, Mary have been sinless, the rest of us have to face up to our failings.
    Can I suggest that before you go pointing fingers you do some research of your own rather than taking your opinions from a necessarily inflammatory media. The actual numbers of Catholic priests involved in these horrific and criminal activities are tiny in comparison with the immense good that the church has done, through its self-sacrificing priests, throughout the world over hundreds of years. The figures are also low when compared with others who also hold a position of trust when caring for children including teachers, care workers and leaders of other religions, nobody mentions this because Catholics are about the only minority group it is OK to denigrate.

    I would like to congratulate Gwyneth Williams and the BBC on allowing Catholics also to have a platform and for understanding the meaning of Christmas.

    P.S. By the way, one contributor to this blog thought that Pope Benedict was a Nazi just because he was a member of the Hitler Youth - this was compulsory for all 14 year old boys. His family were against the regime because they felt it contradicted their faith. He was horrified by what he has since described as living in hell (to paraphrase).

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    Comment number 51.

    Lest people forget.. Christmas is actually a Christian celebration. Looking forward to the coverage.

    Oli

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    Comment number 52.

    It's a few minutes of radio time. Given the recent failings of the Catholic Church to deal properly with the issues of child abuse and the use of condoms to stop the spread of HIV in the developing world, he's hardly likely to prompt a revival is he?

    If people have a problem with the Pope then hopefully they didn't bother to listen (like me).

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    Comment number 53.

    The mid winter celebrations that most people practice (decorating their homes, gifting and feasting, etc) pre-date Christianity. The church hi-jacked these in the fourth century and re-positioned the birth of Christ to fit as far as I'm aware.

    We live in a largely secular society and are all the more civil for it. Religion by it's very nature demands blind-faith, and does not truly believe in democratic society that questions it's rules and holds leaders accountable.

    In the West we despair at the theocracies practiced in many Muslim countries where personal freedoms and rights of expression are suppressed by the ruling forces. Remember - it's only a few hundred years ago since the Roman Catholic Church exercised power and control with the same ruthlessness. Given half a chance, I have no doubt they would do the same again.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 56.

    BBC gives prime-time platform in a NEWS programme to man who masterminded the cover up of tens of thousands of instances of child sex abuse...and doesn't even ask him to explain himself. I'm disgusted. Whatever happened to the BBC's journalistic integrity?

    And does anyone happen to know the age of consent in the Vatican? It's 12.

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    Comment number 57.

    I had hoped that the Pope's "Thought" might bring some comfort to the great many victims of paedophile priests, but I didn't hear any mention of the harm done to children by criminal priests. He did mention "(t)he child that was born in Bethlehem"; but that was all.

    The Pope specifically referred to his "Friends" in England, Scotland and Wales; but not those in N Ireland, where the Executive has recently agreed to hold an inquiry into historical institutional abuse.

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    Comment number 58.

    I have had a similar post moderated.

    I complained that Thought for Today and the BBC coverage of the Papal visit did not say that for most Protestants the undue attention given to the Pope is offensive. Much of Roman Catolic docterine is not Biblical and it is guilty of many autrocities.

    Cardinal Newman had been given merit by the Roman Church for changing religion in a society where toleration was won by protestant martyrs. Yet martyrs such as Archbishop Crsnmer, who was burned to death for writing the service in English have not even recived an apology.

    Every Christian who has been on Thought for the Day, is a saint, is the head of the Church and is the most important Christian to Christ. I'm not a Christian, but feel the Pope should attract less fawning to and the BBC rememember we live in a Protestant democracy and under a constitutional monarchy.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 60.

    Head of weird cult (that believes, with zero supporting factual evidence, that a supernatural being that made our planet and has control over all we do ..err except their priests with little children it seems) gets prime slot on 'thought for the day'. Oh well done BBC! Rename it 'Loony slot' and get out of the dark ages.

 

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