The Italian Almanac

no business like show business

Show Time

For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church the pope will answer questions from a TV audience on a show to be broadcast on Good Friday, the Vatican press office confirmed. The April 22 program will be beamed by Italian state broadcaster RAI at 14:10 (13:10gmt), the time recognised by the Church as when Jesus died on the cross.

The questions will focus on the figure of Christ, on whom the scholarly Pope Benedict XVI has already published one book, while a second is about to be released and a third is in preparation. The program will be pre-recorded two or three days before Good Friday, probably either in his private study or personal chapel, and recorded by the Vatican CTV media service, as protocol demands.

Although this will be the first time that a pope has been a guest on a RAI program, the late pope John Paul II phoned into a popular live RAI talk show in October 1998. The first pope to appear on film was Leo XII in 1896, while RAI was first allowed into the Vatican in 1961 to shoot a program on a day in the life of John XXIII.