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BBC faces Catholic ire

Vatican City, Oct. 17 (Reuters): English and Welsh Catholic bishops attacked the BBC today, saying its recent religious affairs programmes were biased, hostile and offensive to the church.

The BBC said it was in no way anti-Catholic.

A statement issued by the bishops, who are currently in Rome, was made even more forceful because it was issued through the Vatican press office.

It said the BBC’s reputation for fairness and objectivity was proving to be “increasingly tarnished” and that there were “elements within the BBC” who were hostile to religion.

The statement, very blunt by Church and Vatican standards, specifically attacked two recent programmes, Sex and the Holy City Panorama programme aired on October 12, and a Kenyon Confronts programme broadcast on October 15. The bishops said the Panorama programme asserted that while Pope John Paul preaches peace and life, his teachings and the actions of the Catholic Church in opposing abortion and contraception bring widespread poverty and death.

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