Benedict XVI to Give BBC's "Thought for the Day"

Radio 4 to Air Pope’s Message on Christmas Eve

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 23, 2010 ( On Christmas Eve at 7:45 a.m. in London, Benedict XVI will be heard giving the «thought for the day» on BBC’s public channel Radio 4.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, explained that the Pope recorded a brief reflection for the slot on Dec. 22 in the morning, in the presence of representatives of the BBC.

«It is a very popular, three-minute program broadcast every morning and entrusted to spiritual personalities and leaders who give a reflection of a religious character,» explained the Vatican spokesman.

It is the first time that Benedict XVI participates in such an initiative. «Thought for the Day» has been broadcast by the BBC since 1970.

Father Lombardi revealed that, after Benedict XVI’s historic Sept. 16-19 trip to Scotland and England, «we agreed with the BBC on the idea of continuing the Pontiff’s good relationship with the United Kingdom.»

Gwyneth Williams, the new controller of Radio 4, said: «I’m delighted Pope Benedict is sharing his Christmas message with the Radio 4 audience.

«It’s significant that the Pope has chosen ‘Thought For The Day’ to give his first personally scripted broadcast — and what better time to do so than on the eve of one of the biggest celebrations on the Christian calendar.»

Among the personalities who have given a message on this program are the archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Communion, Rowan Williams; the chief rabbi of the Jewish Congregations of the Commonwealth, Jonathan Sacks; and Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Catholic archbishop of Westminster.

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