By Hilary White
Last night, Toronto-based Vision television aired the first of its big-budget miniseries The Secret Files of the Inquisition. Alberta Nokes, VisionTV’s Director of Independent Production, said, “Secret Files of the Inquisition is one of the biggest and most ambitious productions with which our network has ever had the privilege to be associated.
Noaks described the series as “a dramatic examination of religious intolerance and the drive to crush dissent and independent thought – historical themes that also have great resonance for us in the here and now.”
While responsible historians have debunked the so-called “black legends” of the Inquisition, Vision’s website promotion paints a black portrait of the Inquisition’s “reign of terror that would endure for more than 600 years.” The introduction also includes the prerequisite sly stab at the Church’s current head, Pope Benedict XVI: “Some scholars say the Inquisition exists to this day, in the form of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican office that was headed until recently by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict XVI.”
Vision Television receives approximately $748,000 a year from the National Catholic Broadcasting Council to air the popular Daily Mass programme recorded in downtown Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral, the seat of Toronto’s archbishop, Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic.
A spokesman for the Toronto Archdiocese told LifeSiteNews.com that there are no plans to remove the Daily Mass broadcast from Vision’s schedule in light of Vision’s increasingly hostile attitude towards the Roman Catholic Church.
Neil MacCarthy Director of the Archdiocese’ office of Public Relations & Communications, told LifeSiteNews.com that “we are called to respond” to cases in which the Church is unfairly portrayed, but did not specify what response the Archdiocese would make.
MacCarthy wrote in an email, “We need to continue to work in partnership with our local media. The National Catholic Broadcasting Council (NCBC) is in the best position to evaluate its current relationship with VISION TV. As with any media, we need to look at the entire product and evaluate the worthiness of our participation and ability to help convey an accurate, positive message.”
MacCarthy said that the Archdiocese does not pay for the Daily Mass and that the NCBC receives its funding through the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Funding, however, is scaled according to the revenues of the dioceses and Toronto is the largest and wealthiest of the English-speaking diocese in Canada. The lion’s share of NCBC funding, and therefore of the $748,000 that pays for the Daily Mass broadcast comes from Toronto and Cardinal Ambrozic is an influential member of the NCBC’s board.
Vision’s online promotional material for Secret Files of the Inquisition includes some of the classic anti-Catholic slurs including the set-piece of a lurid tale of a beautiful young woman and her priest-lover. The synopsis for last night’s first episode reads: “Among those caught in the terrifying grip of the Inquisition are Beatrice de Planisoles, a beautiful noblewoman, and village priest Pierre Clergue, her secret lover – and betrayer.”
Secret Files of the Inquisition is only the latest of Vision’s shots at Catholicism. In October 2005, Vision gave Fr. Karl Clemens, a self-proclaimed “gay” priest, a platform to attack the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
Fr. Clemens was followed by editorial commentary from Vision’s regular program host Marianne Meed Ward in which she gave a vitriolic attack on the Catholic Church saying the Vatican is “hunting people who have publicly admitted being gay.” She added, “This would be comical if it weren’t so diabolical.”Â
To express concerns:
National Catholic Broadcasting Council
21 Dunlop Street
Richmond Hill, Ontario
Canada,Â L4C 2M6
Toll Free: 1-888-383-6277
E-mail: [email protected]
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Vision TV Moving toward More Openly Anti-Catholic Bias
Over $700,000 Catholic Church Funds to Canadian Anti-Catholic TV Network Questioned