Card. Turkson: eaten alive by BBC

Peter Card. Turkson was eaten alive on the BBC’s program HardTalk.  HERE

Admittedly, the interviewer was a prime example of the BBC’s vicious worst.

The program, HardTalk, is pretty brutal.  You agree to go on at your peril.

Result this time: train wreck.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Joe in Canada says:

    I get a message saying the show is only available in the UK. But I can tell from the way it’s set up that it’s going to be nasty. Of course not too many people care what the BBC says or does.

  2. ClavesCoelorum says:

    Can’t watch it due to restrictions on the region. How come you could, Father?

  3. Priam1184 says:

    Didn’t Cardinal Turkson realize who he was talking to? The militantly atheist and pro homosexual (I’m sure the homosexualists tried to skewer the good Cardinal on the subject of clerical child abuse) BBC?

    @Joe in Canada I have the World Service on Sirius and they have been promoting this interview for a couple of days now.

  4. McCall1981 says:

    I didn’t watch the video because I assume it would be pretty upsetting, but it was actually good to read the little caption under the video. It’s the BBC complaining that “it’s been almost a year since the election of the new Pope and the same problems continue to dog the Church”, such as “…gay rights activists still attack the Church on its stand on homosexuality”. I was happy to read this because I think it means that a) Pope Francis is doing his job, and b) maybe the secular media is begining to realize the Pope is Catholic and is starting to turn on him.

  5. ClavesCoelorum says:

    OK, folks, I got around it by some fancy tech stuff. Google is our friend.

  6. sw85 says:

    Non-UK readers can listen to the audio here:

  7. Salvelinus says:

    Poor guy… He seems like a good bishop… That lady was annoying and really mean!

    Anyway, I noticed a nugget in there that the interviewer was pushing hard. She stated that “…homosexuality has nothing to do with the child abuse cases by clergy…” – I say, Bravo Sierra!!! The “child abuse cases” where homosexual priests abusing teenage (post-pubescent) buys. How is this not a homosexual issue???? And now the UN wants more acceptance of this abnormality?

  8. I wasn’t able to watch the video either but I can just imagine the content. As a survivor of incest who has gone through a grueling healing process with the help of Catholic Priests who were/are Priests/fathers in the truest sense of the word, media such as this infuriates me. The reporters take on an air of “caring for the victims” when in reality what they are doing is criticizing and degrading the wonderful Priests who work so hard for the wounded souls entrusted to their care. I can say this type of attack does nothing to make me feel comforted or validated as a woman who was abused.

    This type of media only serves to plant doubt and fear of Priests in the minds and hearts of women who are still victims of their abuse and give fuel to their anger. For every bad Priest, there are 10-20 wonderful ones who take their vocation as Father of souls seriously and are dedicated to healing the wounded. I am living proof of that. I wonder how much media coverage those good Priests would receive if all the survivors of childhood abuse rose up in defense of them.

    My voice is a pathetic whisper in the grand scheme of things, but if I could I would shout it so the world could hear me: “STOP ATTACKING THE PRIESTS!” There is more good done for victims of incest and sexual abuse by a Priest than any other person in the world.

  9. Unwilling says:

    I often listen to Hardtalk (it comes on my alarm clock). Fr Z is quite correct that Hardtalk is brutal (logical fallacy festival) to real conservatives and promoters of family, life, etc. It has a clever kind of softball “brutal” for those whose ideas BBC supports — allowing well known objections to be answered “satisfactorily”. I often wonder why anyone agrees to go on the show. Why do people take their stories on Maury?

    In this case, given the normal outcomes (in 10 years, I’ve given very few A’s), I would give His Eminence a C+. Allowing for language problems, he successfully answered the direct challenges. His weakness was that he let her manage almost every moment/movement of the “show”. But she and the host Sackur are very slippery characters.

  10. Andrew says:

    I listened to some of this and it is deplorable.

    I was just recently watching another interview by an African prelate, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama Here:

    and I was thinking the same also in that case: why, oh why do these good bishops enter such a mudfest? There is no chance to come out of it with a positive message. And besides, these prelates don’t seem to be savvy in the ways of the aggressively secular media.

  11. wmeyer says:

    Well, Salvelinus, for 12 years now, we have tried to get along, have failed to correct the media when they refer to the problem we had with predatory homosexuals in the priesthood as pedophilia–which it clearly was not–and then wonder that they continue to push the gay agenda.

    Had we clearly and emphatically declared the priests in question to be the predatory homosexuals they are, then the gay agenda would find greater resistance, at least among Catholics. Or so it seems to me.

  12. Bosco says:

    I agree. Jesus warned His disciples:

    “Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turning upon you, they tear you. ” Matthew 7:6

  13. anilwang says:

    I don’t think Cardinal Turkson was eaten alive.

    The BBC repeatedly viciously attacked him and threw everything she could at him in rapid fire. Given that the program was called “Hard Talk”, it’s to be expected…those sorts or programs are filled with loud mouthed bigots that like to reduce their guests to tears. It’s why their fan base watch.

    But despite this, he held his own quite admirably and managed to set the record straight on many issues. My only quibble is that his repeated attempts at contextualizing makes it appear that he’s evasive. Simple direct answers work a lot better. As the old saying goes, a fish is caught by his mouth.

  14. robtbrown says:

    I thought the Cardinal did pretty well, but the best defense is a good offense.

    In addition to the fact that, as noted above, many of the sexual abuse cases were homosexual acts,


    To any accusation of Vatican wealth, bring up John Lennon. All the lefties looooooove John Lennon. He lived in splendor. I saw his second (or third) home in Palm Beach–Louis XIV would have been envious. BTW, that’s the same John Lennon who wrote “Imagine all the people sharing all the world.”

    Persecution? How about the present persecution of believers in the US by Obamacare? And then there is the little matter of the Catholic churches confiscated by the British government. Return them to the Church AFTER they have been repaired.

  15. Warren says:

    What makes the BBC interviewer so difficult to listen to is her constant wandering in mine fields of her own making. A better name for the program might be AllTalk, No Listen. The good Cardinal must have needed a shower after the interviewer’s spittle flecked ravings.

    The BBC is fast becoming as irrelevant as most most mainstream news organizations because it routinely fails on its responsibility to deliver the news, i.e., the unadulterated, unfiltered facts. The CBC is no better.

  16. Robbie says:

    If you agree to go on any BBC show, especially one hosted by Jeremy Paxman, you get what you deserve. The BBC is not a news outlet. It is a propaganda arm for atheism, socialism, and a whole host of other failed lifestyle choices.

  17. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Catherine Beier wrote, “I wonder how much media coverage those good Priests would receive if all the survivors of childhood abuse rose up in defense of them.”

    I remember when Mother Teresa visited Britain, and made two simply, clear critical points, one with respect to poverty, the other with respect to abortion. Need I saw how many of the two were widely reported, and which one it was?

    So, I fear most of the media would be ‘up to the challenge’ of paying (next to) no attention to the defense she suggests.

    But it would never the less be wonderful to see – as her comment was to read! – and might find its way fruitfully despite all ‘media blackout’.

  18. sw85 says:

    It definitely was not the best performance but I too would stop short of calling it a “trainwreck.”

    On the other hand it is quite remarkable that the interviewer by all accounts did nothing more than recite the usual laundry list of canned leftist grievances against the Church and the Cardinal still struggled to address them. Maybe it’s a language barrier issue but I would think by now our leaders would have a good grip on what kind of accusations are going to be tossed at them in these circumstances.

  19. seattle_cdn says:

    No plan to watch this interview, but can one place the racist card and throw it back on BBC?

  20. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Robt Brown wrote, “To any accusation of Vatican wealth, bring up John Lennon. All the lefties looooooove John Lennon. He lived in splendor.”

    This is quite true. Also, the Queen of Great Britain, who also has the title the Head of the Church of England, is one of the world’s richest women. Why are there two different standards by which the ownership of fabulous wealth is judged: one for the Head of the Church of England, another for the Catholic Church?

  21. TNCath says:

    The British press is the worst! Even worse than the Italians!

  22. sw85 says:


    “This is quite true. Also, the Queen of Great Britain, who also has the title the Head of the Church of England, is one of the world’s richest women. Why are there two different standards by which the ownership of fabulous wealth is judged: one for the Head of the Church of England, another for the Catholic Church?”

    I suspect it’s just taken for granted that Her Majesty doesn’t really believe all that Christ-y crap, so the charge of hypocrisy (the only thing leftists believe is a sin) doesn’t stick.

  23. frjim4321 says:

    I wish there was a transcript, not really enough time here to view it.

    Frankly the BBC does not hold the esteem it used to and seems to have changed a lot. Not unlike the WSJ it has a once-very-respected name, but really no longer lives up to its former reputation.

  24. Michael_Thoma says:

    Where’s Cardinal Arinze?? He would have told it to them clearly, and laughed in their faces while they squirmed!

  25. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    In my experience, the BBC has been pretty, if increasingly, appaling for at least the last 35 years!

  26. Absit invidia says:

    Aren’t these the same people who make those horrendously stale and depressing British television programs where everybody dresses in gray and they bang the doors too loudly?

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  28. pontiacprince says:

    I listened to the radio part of this broadcast and I thought that the Cardinal held his own very well.I would not called it a ‘train wreck’. He made his points in a definite manner and spoke over her many times.Silly comments about the wealth of the Vatican ,etc are to be expected.

  29. Dcduo says:

    Going to save the frustration and just not watch it. Bigoted Broadcasting Company after all.

  30. Gabriel Syme says:

    Thanks to Fr Z for highlighting this video, Ive just watched it.

    I didn’t think it was too bad (!), judging by some of the other BBC attacks on Catholicism I have seen (particularly around the visit to the UK of the great Benedict XVI).

    I thought Cardinal Turkson did OK in the face of aggressive questioning and being spoken over. He kept his cool. Especially when you consider that English is not his first language. Naturally, an interviewee would likely give more confident and complete answers if speaking in their own tongue.

    It was interesting to me that the BBC interviewer was Zeinab Badawi, who has a history of being involved with anti-Catholic media exploits. For example, a few years ago she chaired a TV ‘debate’ (Intelligence Squared) on the Catholic Church, where Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchins spoke against the Church with the usual sophistry and slurs. (It’s on you-tube.)

    In that case, the BBC had an Anglican convert and another African Bishop to speak for Catholicism. It wasn’t Card. Turkson this time, but its strange that the BBC tends to feature African Bishops in their hatchet jobs, when the nations of the UK have several Bishops and Cardinals of their own.

    This is no criticism of the African Bishops, but I do wonder if the BBC does this to try to present Catholicism in a certain way; perhaps as “the other”, foreign to the UK, “third world” or some such.

    Or perhaps they bank on the fact someone speaking in a 2nd language will not perform as well in an interview. And that viewers will not relate as well to someone speaking in heavily accented English, compared to someone with an accent similar to their own. Perhaps all of these things.

    I think in general the Church (inc lay people) miss various tricks when rebuffing slurs etc. Critics like to speak vaguely of “riches”, as in the video. It’s worth pointing out that the annual turnover of the Vatican is comfortably less than top rank commercial sports clubs (European Football Clubs etc) and it often makes a loss. And that every parish and diocese around the world is financially independent.

    Card. Turkson did well to make the point about “what abuse files?”. The interviewer said the Vatican should “open its files” – but she had not first demonstrated any such files exist. It would seem strange that an organisation accused of orchestrated cover-up would be keen to keep incriminating information lying around, no? The criticisms are not coherent, even being mutually exclusive at times.

    And Catholics should always defend our values regarding homosexuality by referencing both human biology and health statistics. It is funny to watch critics squirm when faced with either agreeing with the Catechism, or denying the teachings of human biology (Denying science! Burn the witch!).

    Additionally, it is hard to defend homosexuality as “harmless” or a non-issue, when one can demonstrate the significant (and rapidly growing) amounts of actively-homosexual people whose lives are permanently blighted by incurable disease (HIV). The US Govt CDC forecast >50% of US homosexual men will be HIV+ in ~3 decades, at current infection rates.

    And our opinion on condoms has been largely vindicated by public health experts, such as Dr Edward Green, whose says that empirical data supports Catholic teaching and condoms have achieved nothing in Africa.

    When people have access to the facts – the truth – unreasonable critics are quickly shown up for what they are. But the Church is so very poor at educating its lay people, it could do a much better job at equipping them to understand and defend Catholic teaching. I learned all the above stuff by myself, it certainly wasn’t through the Church.

  31. Gabriel Syme says:

    One area where the interviewer managed to give a false impression was on abuse. She made a distinction between ‘child abuse’ and homosexuality – but the reality is much more complex than that.

    For a start, the vast majority of victims were male (80-90%), which gives rise to the very reasonable question of why the extreme bias towards one gender? And the “wrong” gender (for male priests) at that? This is despite predators having equal access to both genders – through church community, schools, local neighbourhood and (thanks to modernism) altar servers. The media have never addressed this.

    The media like to talk of the scandal as “child abuse” but in fact the majority of victims were post-pubescent males, that is adolescents who had adult bodies – i.e sexually mature bodies. A significant number of victims were also as old as 17 – they could have been married men! It is clear then that the abusers were, in the main, attracted to adult male bodies – not ‘children’.

    So the media are deceitful in portraying this as paedophilia, it was in fact mainly ephebophilia, which is homosexual attraction to younger males (who are physically mature). Such men, who are obviously behind the majority of Catholic abuse cases, have long been known as “chicken hawks” among homosexual men.

    This is (another) area where the Church could do better at defending itself, in terms of making sure the circumstances are at least properly understood.

    Critics should face some questions of their own too – such as why has Peter Tatchell (UK gay rights doyen) sought throughout his life to abolish or reduce the age of consent law? (Most recently trying to reduce it to 14).

  32. Kennedy says:

    It’s up on the YouTube:

    I don’t know if any of Fr. Z’s readers, or even Fr. Z himself have tried to complain to the BBC about their anti-Catholic bias or just factual errors, but they make it a very difficult process.

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