FaithWorld

Pope breaks tradition with BBC broadcast

pope bbcPope 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)

Pope Benedict XVI is seen during a recording session for BBC radio’s ”Thought for the Day” programme, at the Vatican December 24, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

Pope Benedict XVI is seen during a recording session for BBC radio’s ”Thought for the Day” programme, at the Vatican December 24, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/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.

Pope records special Christmas message for the BBC

pope waves (Photo: Pope Benedict waves from his private apartment in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican January 4, 2009/Tony Gentile)

Pope Benedict has recorded a Christmas message at the Vatican specially for Britain following his successful state visit to the country in September, according to the BBC. It is the first time the pope has addressed a Christmas message specifically to one of the countries visited during the year, the state-funded broadcaster said.

The recording will be broadcast on Christmas Eve in the “Thought for the Day” slot on the BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme “Today.”

“Thought for the Day” lasts about three minutes and has a regular place on the morning programme broadcast Monday to Saturday. It offers a personal perspective, from leaders of a variety of religious denominations, on topical issues.

Al-Azhar plans satellite television channel about Islam

azhar-sheikhDressed in his robe and turban, Sheikh Khaled Al-Guindy sits in the plush offices of the main benefactor of his new satellite television channel and speaks about how modern technology can be turned to service for Islam. The al-Azhar scholar, who in 2000 launched a phone-in service for Muslims seeking religious guidance, is one of the founders of Azhari, a 24-hour channel due to launch on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year will start in mid-August. Read my interview with him here. (Photo:Sheikh Khaled Al-Guindy, 31 May 2009/Tarek Mostafa)

The channel will be broadcast on both main satellite channels operating in Egypt and will be accessible worldwide. It will initially transmit in Arabic with some English and French programming and there are plans to add content later in Urdu and Turkish. Azhari received its initial 15 million Egyptian pounds funding from a Libyan businessman and philathropist, Hassan Tatanaki.

Guindy told Reuters the plan really got going about a month ago, when he officiated at the wedding of Tatanaki’s daughter. “The father of the bride and I forgot completely about that wedding and started to talk about a new wedding, about how to introduce this new channel to the rest of the world,” he said.