A couple weeks ago, I asked why TPT wasn’t following the lead of other PBS affiliates in broadcasting the highly-acclaimed series “Catholicism” by Father Robert Barron.
Now we know why.
Here’s the full response to one of our blog readers (emphasis mine):
Here is the response I received from TPT today:
Thank you for your email inquiring about the program Catholicism.
After careful review, tpt has declined to air the four-part series “Catholicism”, produced by Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Picture Show Films.
While the program is very well produced and interesting, it does not meet our long-standing requirement that programs carried by tpt be “non-commercial, non-partisan and non-sectarian”.
This standard is applied to all tpt programs: those provided by PBS and those (like the “Catholicism” series) coming from a non-PBS source.
While our programming policy does permit programming about religion and religious issues, the ‘non-sectarian’ requirement means we generally do not carry programs that express only a single religious point of view, or assert matters of religious faith as fact.
In addition, the stated purpose of the producer (Word on Fire Catholic Ministries) is to “reach millions of people to draw them into or back to the Catholic faith.” While tpt recognizes the importance of programming that brings understanding and illumination to matters such as religion, we do not believe the evangelical nature of this series is consistent with our standards.
Thank you again, for your interest in our programming.
Executive Director, Programming
Obviously, this is disappointing news. Especially considering the 700,000 Catholics in the Twin Cities who would benefit from such a program. It’s also puzzling that other PBS affiliates do not share their timidity in providing their viewership with such an engaging and interesting program.