Some authors do Oprah to plug their books. The pope has other ideas.
Pontiffs utter and pronounce. They, well, pontificate.
But on 22 April, Good Friday, Pope Benedict will– in a papal first – answer viewers’ questions on television.
Rosario Carello, presenter of a special programme to be broadcast onItaly‘s publicly owned RAI network, said the pope had agreed to answer three questions on Jesus.
Anyone expecting the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion baptised Roman Catholics to be grilled live, Jeremy Paxman-style, is likely to be disappointed. The programme will be pre-recorded.
Carello also said Benedict would have up to 80 minutes in which to give his answers. The presenter said: “What is absolutely new is first, that a pope will be responding to questions on a TV programme and then, that the questions are going to be put by the viewers.”
RAI is to set up a website on Sunday for the programme, which will include a facility for posting suggestions about what to ask the man Catholics believe is God’s representative on earth.
Carello said viewers were also welcome to send in letters or emails. The production team will then identify the three most frequently asked questions. He said no decision had yet been taken on whether to show them to the pope in advance.
The programme, entitled In his Image, is scheduled to begin at 2.10pm, so that Benedict will talk at 3pm, the time for Jesus’s death given by at least three of the evangelists.