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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 1.

    That the Pope is to deliver his Thought For The Day will serve only to enrage the great many reasonable Radio 4 listeners who would like less religious proselytising on the station. Once again Gwyneth Williams has shown her great enthusiasm for religious broadcasting (she expressed great support for "Bible Day" which will be broadcast in January) at a time when listeners are questioning why Radio 4 gives free publicity to various religions selected by certain BBC personnel.

    I hope that the Pope's message will provide some comfort to the great many children throughout the world who were raped and abused by Catholic paedophile priests.

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    Comment number 2.

    I am very disappointed the BBC, in particular R4, continues to promote a secretive, non accountable and homophobic organisation such as the RC church. How can listeners and viewers view the BBC as an organisation which believes in the rights of all and promote free speech when the church does everything but promote equality and diversity but remains entrenched in a very distant past.
    It is about time the BBC stopped offering prime time opportunities to the church.
    Another very sad day for the BBC and someone within the BBC should prevent this broadcast.

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    Comment number 3.

    The Pope and John Humphries? Rottweiler fight, anyone?

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    Comment number 4.

    I am with martin smith on this one. It is time the BBC put a condom upon any mention of the RC until they confess their sins!

    SSC, I do so hope so.

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    Comment number 5.

    I assume Christopher Hitchens has the Saturday slot, given the BBC's obligation to avoid bias.

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

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

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    Comment number 9.

    I am appalled to see that the BBC "has been negotiating with the Vatican for a number of months" regarding the Pope's appearance on Radio 4's flagship Today programme. What is there to negotiate? The BBC is not a platform for RC propaganda. The Christian Church, particularly the branch represented by the blinkered and represive Roman faction, is not omnipotent. Perhaps the Pope will be showing his genuine understanding of the message of "Christmas" by emptying the vast coffers of the Vatican Bank, its treasures and visible trophies; such assets being liquidated to benefit the suffering needy of the world, many of whom (particularly in the Third World) are forced into suffering by RC dogma.

    I look forward to subsequent Thought for the Day slots being given to Humanist and other nontheistic beliefs. We are a multi-cultural pluralist society in this country encompassing a wide spectrum of beliefs and non-beliefs. It is time the BBC, as a non-donimational organisation, accepted this.

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    Comment number 10.

    As a listener who has been complaining to the BBC for a great many about the fact that humanists and atheists are not permitted to broadcast on 'Thought for the Day,' all I can say is I am not surprised at this new low.

    Well the nanny that is Aunty Beeb will obviously give the petulant children, namely the listeners, what she thinks they need, rather than what we want.

    I for one will turn off the radio when 'His Holiness' ponticifates on Friday the 24th.





  • Comment number 11.

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

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    Comment number 12.

    Goodness, what a lot tetchy people out there. Religion has been incredibly margined on the Beeb in recent decades. These Scrooges wish deny the Pope a couple of minutes on the Today? How sad.

  • Comment number 13.

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

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    Comment number 14.

    I am not a Roman Catholic, although I am a practising Protestant Christian and one whom has just graduated with a Theology degree. Whilst I appreciate the generic concern that many here have voiced over problems in the institution of the Catholic Church (I myself would share them), I would like to point out the charitable nature required by all people to fully appreciate this slot.

    Whilst many of the arch-apoinents to the Pope seem outraged because, just because, his Christmas message may not fit with their worldview, please remember that many of the underlying theologies of the Sheik, Islamic, Jewish (although certainly less so) 'thoughts' would not be congruent with my particular worldview as an Evangelical. Even some of the more liberal Anglican sentiments would not sit entirely comfortably with myself.

    My point is this - why should we want to live in a world where every voice that does not totally agree with our own is silenced? I am perfectly happy to listen to, reflect upon and learn from voices which come from minds formed differently from my own, and am prepared to be challenged. After all, I am not merely 'religious' - I am a Christian. Therefore, a Theological gulf exists between me and people of other faiths, something highlighted by the Christmas message of Emmanuel (God with us in Christ and by none other). I am convinced that in cases this theological gulf between I and people of other religions can be almost of large as that between people of no faith and any particular religion. I would thus argue that there is a similar clash of worldviews when I listen to Indarjit Singh as to when an Atheist listens to a Christian contributor such as the Pope.

    So I'm not a Catholic, and the next man may be an Atheist... but the Pope has something to say. Surely we can offer the common dignity by listening and giving sober, quiet reflection before ranting. Let us be more willing to listen to other voices with peace and respect.

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    Comment number 15.

    People are being silenced by Thought for the Day, don't be an atheist, or an agnostic, or demonstrate any basic intelligence. simply say you believe in fairies at the end of the garden or some similar nonsense, and there is your two minutes. Simply disgraceful

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    Comment number 16.

    Will he say " Obviously I am sorry all those priests raped all those children. Those secularists though. They don't understand us. We believe in 2000 year old nonsense. Prove it they say. How can we? Our faith tells us believe. We don't know why. we can't prove it. But at least we have morals. Not like those secularists. we think abortion is wrong even if the mother has been raped, or is in danger of dying. Secularists just don't get it do they? Why can't they? it frustrates me. Being in the Hitler youth I had hoped to visit Britain in the forties, but hey! Better late than never!! Have a happy christmas all you believers! regardless of the fact this is all nonsense just say you believe!! They can't argue back!!"

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    Comment number 17.

    The Pope will appear on 'Today's' 'Thought for the day' on Radio 4.

    Allowing the Pope to appear on 'Thought for The Day' you are giving voice to his heinous views about anyone who does not concur with the Catholic Value System. Whilst I am happy for other people to have their own beliefs, I will not be told by anyone that my beliefs and attitudes are wrong. And I will certainly not permit any so called religious hypocrite to tell me about morals.

    Please explain why you have let this man on your show. It beggars belief that the head of an organisation that is so homophobic, sexist and bigotted, that has allowed until recently the spread of HIV/AIDS through its obviously outmoded views on prevention of STDs, and has tacitly condoned the sexual molestation of children by doing almost nothing to stop it, should be given any more air time.

    This smacks of double standards, and should be reconsidered. This man and his attitudes are dangerous. They breed intolerance in a world that is already too full of misery and stress.

    Sort it out. Get this man of the air.

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    Comment number 18.

    I shall tune-in to Thought For The Day, specifically to be able to remember that, "I was there", on what is actually going to be a momentous occasion.
    A non-Roman Catholic country, broadcasting potentially core contentious comments on national prime-time ..... Brilliant !
    Whatever your personal views, and I'm certainly not an RC, this one has got to be worth listening to.
    Well Done, the BBC !

    Merry Christmas, and a thought-provoking New-Year.

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    Comment number 19.

    Could the BBC please let me know exactly when this misguided item is about to be broadcast so that I can switch off in advance?

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    Comment number 20.

    I will have to just cheak that we are in 2010 and not in HENRY Tudor times. Why do the English hate the cathorlic church so much. The C of E is a church of perpetual change chassing its persived congragation around year on year with out improving its standing. At least I know year on year were my church stands. I dont agree with every thing the church spouts but it is constant a rock in shifting sands.I am nerver embarist to say I am a catholic but some times it is hard.

 

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