Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Broadcasting authority complaint likely after RTÉ Eucharist mockery

The head of the Family and Media Association is “almost definitely” going to complain to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland after the Eucharist was ridiculed on RTÉ’s flagship chat show. 

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Donal O’Sullivan-Latchford said that he was “very likely” to complain to the BAI after The Late Late Show broadcast on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, featured a discussion in which the Eucharist was referred to as “haunted bread”.

During a discussions about whether religious practice, long in decline, might be on the rise, comedian David Chambers, who performs as ‘Blindboy Boatclub’ in the comedy duo The Rubberbandits, said that young people attending midnight Mass at Christmas were “not going there for haunted bread”, but were going because it was a family event. “Everybody at midnight Mass is half-cut anyway,” he added.

Presenter Ryan Tubridy said he thought the phrase ‘haunted bread’ was “a great expression”, and Mt Chambers said “That’s what it is,” arguing that the Church “does not want us to use critical thinking” and is “asking us to eat the ghost of a 2000-year-old carpenter”. 

On hearing that fellow guest Michael Harding had been a priest, he murmured “sorry about the haunted bread stuff”. 

Cork writer and actor Stefanie Pressner commented that she had never understood Church teaching on the Eucharist when growing up, saying that the notion of it being the Body of Christ was “a scary concept”, and that she had thought of it as “cannibalism”. 

Under the BAI Code of Programme Standards, the BAI acknowledges that matters which can cause offence differ from person to person, and that there is no right not to be offended, but directs that responsible programming must take into account such issues as audience size and expectations. 

While the critical scrutiny of religion is appropriate through information, drama and other programming, according to the BAI, the code requires broadcasters to “show due respect for religious views, images, practices and beliefs in programme material”.

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