a ‘profane use of the sacramentals’

It isn’t exactly a return to the extraordinary repressiveness of the first 50 years but RTÉ are right to challenge a Broadcasting Complaints Commission ruling that the use of images of “rosary beads, a priest’s collar and a bible or breviary”, as a background to a factual report on the Ferns inquiry report, were “likely to cause offence contrary to taste and decency guidelines.” Apparently one viewer had complained about what he claimed was a ‘profane use of the sacramentals’. From the RTÉ report

Opening the case for RTÉ today, Paul O Higgins SC said it was an unusual case with a flavour of the 1950s. Mr O’Higgins said the BCC had adjudicated on a complaint made by one person out of possibly hundreds of thousands of viewers. He said the decision was taken on the basis that the images were inappropriate and therefore likely to cause offence contrary to taste and decency guidelines.

Mr O’Higgins stressed the guidelines applied to matters of violence and sexual content and that the BCC had no jurisdiction to rule on the use of imagery in this case. He said the BCC had not found that the images were tasteless or indecent but rather sought to exercise a refined editorial judgement which it was not entitled to do. He said to do so amounted to giving the BCC a form of censorship not previously known in the history of the state.

Adds As wild turkey suggested in the comments zone, the original BCC ruling can be found here – direct link to word document here. It’s not the first ruling by the BCC against RTÉ which has relied on the belief that “sacraments should be treated with respect.” Update RTÉ reports that the two sides have reached a “settlement” rather than go through with the High Court hearing. Which is rather unsatisfying I would have thought, since the original BCC ruling still stands.. even if RTÉ don’t have to tell anyone about it..

, , ,

  • wild turkey

    Pete

    With a view to informed comment,are there any possible links to the details/background of the complaint and full commission investigation and finding. For example, is the newscast in question on YouTube (I’ve been unable to find it).

    Currently it is not possible to comment on the phrase ‘repressiveness of the first fifty years’ but on an admitedly superficial take the,uh, inquisition comes to mind…. or draft Father Ted script that was binned as being too ludicrous.

  • Pete Baker

    Good point, wt. I’ve found the ruling and I’ll add a link to the original post.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    I don’t agree with the bible being displayed when reporting the Ferns inquiry. Just stick to rosary beads, priests colars and images relating to the Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church is based on imagery, it invented branding, so their images should be used when reporting their news.

  • Big Maggie

    Hey, what happened to my comment? I didn’t use coarse language did I?

  • wild turkey

    thanks for the added links PB.

    From the Commission finding
    ‘First, there was sufficient imagery available for the broadcaster to use that related directly to the Fern’s Report.’
    Fair point, a lot of the imagery available can probably be found on the net…however if it is downloaded it justly gets you 5 to 10 years and a lifetime on the sex offenders register.

    ‘Second, in the opinion of the Commission, the generic images used were representative of the Catholic religion as a whole.’
    Sorry but given the topic to hand, its the repeated instances where it has been alleged that many high in the church hierarchy have consistently colluded in ignoring, dismissing, excusing and/or covering-up such behaviour makes it highly relevant to the wider church. Especially those in the wider church, regardless of nationality or national origin whose faith and trust was horribly abused.

    The prevalence of this abuse and subsequent cover-up is by no means confined to Ireland; payouts in such cases in the USA have nearly driven a few very rich Archdioceses to the wall.

    ‘The Catholic religion was not the subject of the Fern’s Report. Therefore, the use of such imagery was inappropriate. By using such imagery the Catholic Church as a whole was implicated. The complaint was upheld.’

    The depths of disingenuity. No the Catholic religion was not the subject of the report…but the behaviour of the church was.

    Given that old stench of carbolic that permeates the report, I guess it is a step forward that the BCC did not order RTE to say 20 rosaries in penance.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]‘The Catholic religion was not the subject of the Fern’s Report. Therefore, the use of such imagery was inappropriate. By using such imagery the Catholic Church as a whole was implicated. The complaint was upheld.’[/i]

    This is unbelievable. [The topic is the BCC ruling – edited moderator]

    The Roman Catholic church must have some power over magistrates……they have a Canon declaring they have power over magistrates. Must be in force in the Republic.

  • Pete Baker

    RTÉ reports that the two sides have reached a “settlement” rather than go through with the High Court hearing. Which is rather unsatisfying I would have thought, since the original BCC ruling still stands.. even if RTÉ don’t have to tell anyone about it..

  • The Real Pope.

    Your a Lunatic UMH.

    It is interesting to note that aesthetic imagery of the Roman Catholic Church can be deemed an inappropriate ‘image-base’ for a piece on Roman Catholic Clergy Child Abuse. It seems that, under the guidelines, the organisation itself should not be associated with the abominable activities of particular individuals who are members, as this would unjustly tarnish the reputation of the organisation for things it was not explicitly responsible for. Very reasonable.

    Now then, can we think of any groups who get no such generous treatment from either state broadcaster ? Who are held to account, and even defamed, for the activities they in no way publicly endorse ? hmmmmmmmmmmmm.