PBS ran a hit-piece on Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican, and the Catholic Church during this past week. It was called – get ready for it – “Secrets of the Vatican” (cue Vincent Price laugh). Maybe you saw it.
Many people who have watched PBS for years will have watched it with a sort of implicit trust – PBS has had so many fine educational programs over the years, why should this one be suspect?
Other people should know better, but they still get at least a certain amount of their information about the Church from secular media sources that are questionable. Maybe they will think that some aspects of the program were a bit out there, but other things they will either “suspect” to be true or just accept them as such.
There are other groups I could generalize about, but the last I will mention here is those who are not Catholic and already think that the Catholic Church is a bit weird – in one measure or another, because they have believed what secular media sources have reported on it through the years. This program won’t help things.
Whatever category you or anyone else might belong to, the fact is, this program is riddled with problems and is an attack on the Church.
I would like to direct you to two resources for dealing with this PBS program.
1. Fr. Z has posted a review on his blog. He especially focuses on elements like the manipulative ways that they use background music, the sloppy generalizations they make (such as blaming things on “the Vatican” instead of on concrete persons, etc.). Fr. Z rightly points out that certain things in the program are true. Many things in the program, however, are not.
2. This article here also reviews some of the problems with the documentary.
If you happen to support WGBH-Boston, which produces Frontline, I would heartily recommend that you withdraw your support and file a vociferous complaint.
We must defend our faith!