Monday, January 14, 2013

Out of the blue received an email shortly after midnight (00.18am) It was sent from - Case number CAS-1864515-KWGH47

Thank you for contacting us. Robert Pigott has passed on to us for a response.

The cue to Robert's piece referred to Archbishop Vincent Nichols' "Christmas message", not to his homily. There is a clear distinction between the two.

Robert's script said correctly that Archbishop Nichols had used his homily to warn that the Christian ideal of marriage was under threat. In fact, the archbishop specified that the government itself was itself the cause of this threat.

His report then switched to what was clearly a television interview, and not the homily, in which Archbishop Nichols described the government's actions as "shambolic" and explained why he felt the process of introducing gay marriage had been undemocratic. Robert's address to the camera also clearly referred to the interview and not the homily.

The interview was carried out shortly before Midnight Mass solely to provide material for the BBC's coverage of Christmas messages on Christmas Day, as is our usual practice. The questioning was prompted - by agreement with his staff - by the reference in the homily to marriage and the alleged threat to it by the government. Its use in that way was entirely clear to, and intended by, Archbishop Nichols. It did, therefore, constitute a Christmas message, as distinct from his homily, to Roman Catholics.

We hope that addresses your concerns.

More about this development in a future blog

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