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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

The BBC has disgraced itself with Pope’s Thought for the Day

News that the Pope has been given a Thought for the Day slot on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Eve may be a coup for the BBC, but it is a slap in the face for the thousands of clerical abuse victims who are still waiting for justice.

"The Pope should be challenged, not given an uninterrupted platform on Thought for the Day" - Terry Sanderson, NSS President

The Pope will be allotted an uninterrupted and unchallenged platform in which to continue to claim that he is the source of all that is good and the enemy of all that is bad. In reality, it is the other way round.

A report was delivered to the Irish Government this week which reveals even more cases of abuse and more cover-up by the church. Another chapter of the Murphy report was published showing the most blatant concealment and enabling of child abuse by the Vatican, whose chief aim is to protect the Church from scandal, not protect children from paedophiles.

The Pope’s repeated attempts to blame someone else for the scandal – the latest this week was “the 1970s” and again “secular society” – show that he is unable to face up to his own culpability.

No-one on the Today programme will ask the Pope about the ban on condoms that is causing lethal over-population and leaving innocent people exposed to HIV/AIDS.

No-one will question him about his church’s cruel insults and attacks on gay people and their rights.

There will be no explanation about the Vatican’s insulting exclusion of women and its constant attacks on their right to control their own fertility through its bans on contraception and abortion.

The pope will not be asked to explain why the Vatican bank is under investigation – and not for the first time – for money laundering.

Who will ask about the concordat he is about the sign with the dictator of Belarus, Aleksander Lukashenko – the man who has just violently crushed his opposition and fixed the election? What principle is it that guides the Vatican to do business with such a man in order to feather its own financial nest?

Benedict needs to answer hard questions. So what does the BBC do? It invites him on to its propaganda platform and gives him free rein.

But after the fawning and disproportionate coverage given to the papal visit in September, no-one should be surprised.

Published Wed, 22 Dec 2010