Pope breaks tradition with BBC broadcast
Pope Benedict called for people to remember the significance of Christ’s birth in a Christmas message specially recorded for Britons and aired on the BBC on Friday. It was the first time the pope has addressed a Christmas message specifically to one of the countries visited during the year, the BBC said.
(Photo: Pope Benedict records his BBC ”Thought for the Day” address at the Vatican December 24, 2010/Osservatore Romano)
The pope recalled his four-day state visit to England and Scotland in September, and told the people of Britain and every part of the English-speaking world that they were in his prayers in the Holy season.
“Let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down. He gives us hope, he brings us life,” he said in the message pre-recorded at the Vatican.
The pope’s visit to Britain, the first ever official papal visit to the country, was deemed a success despite a backdrop of a global sex-abuse scandal within the Catholic Church and hostility from one of Europe’s most secular nations. The pope did not refer to sex abuse in his broadcast.
The National Secular Society described the pope’s broadcast as “a slap in the face for the thousands of clerical abuse victims who are still waiting for justice” because it gave him access to the “unquestioned, unchallengeable Thought for the Day slot.”