Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Lance Armstrong

At the end of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, Jonathon Aitkin, the former conservative MP convicted of perjury in 1999 and Fr. Stephen Wang , Catholic priest and Dean of studies at Allen Hall seminary, discussed the capacity of confession in the light of Lance Armstrong’s “confession” to be broadcast soon on Oprah.

Jonathon Aitkin, an Anglican, compared confession as a transit stop on the way to repentance, observing confession is not a quick fix to putting something right. At its deepest level, confession has something to do with the heart, the spirit. It’s a spiritual journey.

Fr. Stephen Wang highlighted the elements of confession, saying it’s not just about going to confession, but you must have a genuine sorrow in your heart, it’s about promising to put things right, and, in Catholic terms, it about doing penance – bringing justice, healing and reconciliation, recognising you have done harm to others and that needs to be put right, and there will be some personal cost to that. Therefore it’s not simply suffering for one’s sake but its saying sorry and rebuilding relationships.

Aitkin reflects that it can be a painful journey that brings sense of relief, peace, and a feeling that some amends have been made.

The presenter asked Fr. Wang if atheists can confess?

Fr. Stephen Wang

Fr. Wang replied that there are different levels of confession that need to be recognised. Firstly, there is the therapeutic level, getting something off our chest. Secondly, there is the communal level- saying sorry and putting things right. Thirdly, there is the spiritual level, which brings spiritual healing. Catholics can find in this in God’s grace and Jesus Christ.

Reflecting on Armstrong’s confession, Aitkin says that if it is a genuine confession, he need not worry about the bucketfuls of cynicism that surround the interview because he will be doing it for an audience of one, not millions.

Fr. Wang hopes his “confession” will be genuine. He will be looking to see how his life had changed, and

if he makes personal apologies to the people he’s harmed.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux observed a sincere sign of repentance is avoiding the occasion of sin.

The interview is available here until 21/01/2013, and starts at 2:54:49.

Read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation here.

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This morning on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the day (part of the Today Thought For The Day Pope 24/12/2010programme), Pope Benedict recalled with “great fondness” his visit in September to Great Britain. It was the first time a Pope has written and delivered material, specifically for a broadcast audience. Perhaps the large and warm welcom the Pontiff received in the UK in September influenced his decision.

Visit the BBC website for the full transcript and video.

A few days ago, the BBC ran a piece on Medjugorje on their Newsnight programme, reported by Alan Little. It’s a good introduction the fastest growing Catholic pilgrimage site in Earth, although it is yet to be officially recognised by the Vatican (in March 2010, the Holy See announced the formation of an investigative commission). Somewhat sceptical at times, presenting tacky shops and speculating about how the apparitions have boosted the local economy, the report not only highlights the apparitions to the Newsnight-watching public and beyond, it puts the village into its authentic political and religious context – something that can be overlooked by the enthusiastic Catholic pilgrim. This 12 minute video is well worth a watch.

Visit the BBC website to see more details about the report.

 Last week, Archbishop Vincent Nichols was interviewed on the BBC’s notoriously ruthless “Hard Talk”.

He covered a range of current topics in the news including the Papal Visit, the scandals in the church, Pope Benedict’s recent remarks on the use of condoms in Africa and celibacy in the Church.

On new convert Tony Blair’s calls for modernisation in the Catholic Church, his Grace responded; when it comes to guidance on the Church, I think I’ll stick with Pope Benedict rather than Tony Blair!

Given the hard-nosed approach to interviewing that the BBC programme is famous for, I feel Archbishop Vincent gave a sound and well balanced interview. What do you think?

See the interview on BBC iPlayer  for yourself!