By Ann Marie Foley - 15 May, 2014
The Family and Media Association (FMA) is to lodge a complaint to RTE after what it described as “an exceptionally offensive” and “blasphemous” series of sketches and jokes about catholic faith.
The offending material was broadcast on the Republic of Telly programme on RTÉ Two on Monday night.
According to the FMA, the programme was immediately followed by another attack on the Catholic Church in The Savage Eye.
The FMA is encouraging those who have seen the programmes to make their feelings known to RTE.
“We are conditioned to not say anything, and to be tolerant to all kinds of attacks because it is not cool, and (if we complain) we would be seen to be intellectually inferior,” Donal O’Sullivan Latchford of FMA said.
“This was a new low for RTÉ which too often now resembles a ‘plaything’ for those who want to mock Christ and His Church.”
He told CatholicIreland.net that the offensive programmes were aired on eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and also the eve of the 33rd anniversary of both the attempted assassination of St John Paul in St Peter’s Square and the birth of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
“I’ve seen Mario Rosenstock before and thought ‘maybe he shouldn’t have done that’ but at least I could see it was funny,” he said.
“Last night it was one attack after another with so-called jokes. It is just sad that people take that as being normal, that it should be allowed to happen.”
He claimed there were obscene scenes on the Republic of Telly, and that the Eucharist was mocked, and a catholic couple and their beliefs portrayed in a stereotypical and derogatory manner.
“No other religion would tolerate what was going on (in these TV programmes) nor should they,” Donal O’Sullivan Latchford commented.
FMA has been reporting on the good, the bad and the ugly on TV, radio, and social media such as Twitter for nearly ten years via ‘Faith in the Media’ reports .
“The level of hatred is beyond anything I have ever seen before and for our National Broadcaster to be involved, it is shameful,” he admonished.
FMA has yet to decide on what grounds a complaint will be made.
“When Catholicism is attacked, and allowed to be attacked like this it is not just Catholics that suffer but everyone in the country. You probably remember the poem which says: they came for one group and I said nothing and then another group and finally they came for me and there was nobody left to speak up.”
RTE has a mission statement which speaks about growing the trust of the people of Ireland, however Donal O’Sullivan Lachford feels that catholics in Ireland are not given the same respect as secular society or those of any other religion.
Likewise teenagers and those in their early 20s are given a negative image of catholics and are not able to counterbalance that with a knowledge of the positive things in the Church like the great work of missionaries that has gone on for decades.
“It just seems there is less and less space in public life to be a catholic and to experience any respect for that, and that situation has come about partly because of misrepresentation and distortion of the truth in the media,” he said.
FMA monitors anti-catholic and anti-family biases in mainstream media and circulates their reports to 5,000 people every month with details of ‘good news’ stories as well as data and information on media bias through newsletters, email and text.
Donal O’Sullivan Latchford has been involved in the association’s day-to-day work for almost 10 years.
FMA was able to point out to RTE that it ran three debates in a row with all pro-abortion panellists.
Likewise it was able to make a submission to the Broadcasting Commission’s Draft Code of Fairness, Objectivity & Impartiality in News and Current Affairs.
FMA brought cases to the Broadcast Authority of Ireland (BAI) on:
* How current affairs presenters on RTE, the national broadcaster, seem to express “their own views” contrary to the 2009 Act but complaints about this have not been upheld.
* How a same-sex marriage ad on Marian Finucane Show was also in breach of BAI rules.
* How parents and guardians of young children should know that there was bad language and profanity on the Mooney Show in the mid afternoon (earlier than the watershed).
* The libel against Fr Kevin Reynolds and the error by RTÉ’s Frontline programme and how it may have changed the outcome of the presidential election.