The Trouble with the Pope

Monday, September 13th, 2010, Channel 4, 8pm

Human Rights campaigner Peter Tatchell scrutinises the beliefs and policies of Pope Benedict XVI, airing shortly before the Pontiff's state visit to Britain.

For decades, Tatchell has campaigned on issues of human rights and equality: secular values broadly upheld by many faiths and branches of Christianity. In contrast, after five years in office, the current Pope is seen to be shaping a more conservative Catholicism.

Tatchell looks at how many of his proclamations and decisions are in conflict with the values of modern day Britain and western societies. Tatchell examines the impact that Benedict XVI's pronouncements have had on both the developing and western world, with filming in the Philippines, Italy, Germany and the UK.

He questions the Pope's policies on a range of issues including his opposition to contraception, condom use and embryonic stem cell research as well as the Pontiff's handling of the child sex abuse scandal.

The film examines the Pope's plans for the beatification of Cardinal Newman, a 19th-century theologian and writer who lived for nearly 30 years with a fellow priest, and the controversial readmission to the church of Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson.

Interviewing both critics and supporters of the Pope, many of them Catholics, Tatchell explores Benedict's personal, religious and political journey since the 1930s, from liberal to conservative theologian.

Channel 4 ▪ TX 13/09/2010 ▪ 1 x 60 min
Produced and Directed by: Chris Boulding
Associate Producer: Andy Jones