Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The RTE Angelus - for whom does the bell toll?

Religion should be a private matter, and unless you happen to live in Iran or Saudi Arabia it should not be an intrinsic component of state control. As far as I am concerned, you can believe what you want – whatever coping mechanism gets you through life is OK by me.

If you believe that taking a sick relative with strong religious beliefs to Lourdes might give them a psychological boost to cope with their illness, go for it.  If you think going to Alcoholics Anonymous and placing your recovery in the hands of a higher power will cure you of your addiction, don’t let me – or anyone – else stop you.

If your life won’t be complete until you visit Mecca, the Wailing Wall, or the Holy Lands, by all means factor the trip into your travel plans. But it’s your business, and your business alone. The only thing I would urge you not to do is go out killing people because God told you to. It won’t stand up in court.

Which brings me to the Angelus. We all give our money to the state broadcaster, RTE, whether we like it or not. When RTE is taking our money it does not ask us about our religious beliefs (if any). It does not ask if we are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sheiks, Jainists, Buddhists, Taoists, or any of the other religious franchises I might have missed. It does not ask if we are agnostics or atheists.

Therefore RTE should cease forthwith broadcasting the Angelus twice a day. It can then do one of two things: It can alternate time for all of the religious beliefs present in Ireland today, and allow humanists, agnostics and atheists a daily two-minute promotional slot too, or it can leave religious – or otherwise – reflection to the individual in their own time.

I don’t think any of us need to be reappraised of the dangers inherent in affording too much respect, prominence and influence to any church in state and public affairs. RTE’s Angelus harks back to a time when the Catholic Church had far too much of that - when its grip on public affairs was strangulating. It’s time it went.

There are two questionnaires at the URL below through which you can have a say on RTE’s programming and the service it provides (one appears to be more in-depth that the other, but either will do). Alternatively, you can email them at the address below that. You pay enough for your license fee, so you might as well have your say.  Submissions are open until July.

RTE Public Service Statement


A big thanks to C for bringing this to the attention of the blog.

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Ponyboy said...

You're not seriously telling me that the Angelus is still being broadcast on RTE are you GM? I would have thought that that piece of Mumbo Jumbo Omni Pomminy rubbish got fevked out onto the cutting room floor a long time ago. Unbelievable!! Sorry I haven't got time to rail on about the total stupidity of religion but I've gotta dash - don't want to be late for my Atheists Anonymous meeting

Anonymous said...

GM isnt it time that RTE was gone also never mind the angelus,i was telling my newest best friend AKBAR about this he was amused and amazed said even the taliban were banning this kind of rubbish, akbar was born and raised under the kyber over pass and at 4yrs old was a tea boy for a squad of assains who did difficult subcontract work for the taliban, AKBAR has agreat sense of humour and thinks oirland is a very very funny place cheers BH

The Gombeen Man said...

Sadly the Angelus is still with us PB. Say "hello" for me at the meet!

Sadly RTE is still with us, BH. Old Akbar isn't far wrong, you know.

Anna said...

“I am an agnostic myself, but I have no problem with it being on the air…I think it gives a tasteful pause for reflection”-Eamon Gilmore, Labour leader: clearly a man of great courage, steely nerves, impaired hearing and very dodgy taste: Its boing! boing! kerash! kerash! if I’m washing up, or boing ( metallic) Kerash! if I’m driving :
Angelus bells have my poor nerves shattered. Twice a day at 12 and 6, both on radio and TV- I checked the Vatican Radio website, and I could only find 1 mention of the Angelus- this was when the Pope had said it, i.e. they don’t insist on broadcasting mechanical boings 365 x twice a day x 2 mediums = 1460 times a year. Didn’t have time to closely browse Vatican radio - there did seem to be interesting world news items , it wasn’t bogged down with prayer. But then we Irish have always set a great example to slackers such as Vatican radio.
Incidentally the Angelus was only suggested by 1 RTE executive - without prompting by church or people- After RTE had started a TV service- it wasn’t even necessary in the early days of radio. I think his intention was to please the Cardinals by tying it in with a Holy yr/ Marian yr which was on at that time . And this it seems was in the early 60’s- when Elton & other young ones were hopping and bopping to crocodile rock, Ireland got the Angelus.

Anna said...

Yes I have responded to that link- I think it is a Very apt time to ask for Angelus removal. How can we take any moral guidance from the Catholic church- let alone have it boinging at us 1460 times a year on publicly funded broadcasting?
Faith services of all types are fine on Sunday morning- that’s the right place and time, to cater for the needs of all our population.
But these endless boings….
Dammit even elderly and devout people who I know do not specifically tune IN for it- let Alone pray Along to it.
I see little TV, but about 10 yrs ago, there Was a debate on Angelus retention. My friend Pol said that (instead of removing it) RTE made it More Inclusive to the Ireland of today, with shots of darker skinned Irish walking in the park suddenly hearing the bells, looking to heaven and falling into prayer etc.
Pol said he saw a documentary or maybe a comedy debating whether this new format worked: ie wouldn’t it be more Effective if Angelus bells were shown preaching to the Unconverted:
EG a robber sudden frozen with his hand in a pocket when he heard the bells, a shot of a man pausing in an intimate moment with his girlfriend to look heaven ward and pray*, etc…
Dammit the natives don’t want the Angelus..so why pretend new Irish immigrants do?

(*Irish film censors, of decades past, used to watch out for tell tale signs like these to detect if a fledging home grown porn business was in operation)

The Gombeen Man said...

"...a robber sudden frozen with his hand in a pocket when he heard the bells, a shot of a man pausing in an intimate moment with his girlfriend to look heaven ward and pray..."

Ha ha. It's not far off the one they have at the moment Anna. RTE's facile attempt at acknowleding our Ireland's diversity.

Anyway... day off and out for a spin. Catch yis later.

Anna said...

I am much heartened to hear that Akbar thinks Ireland is a Very Very funny place...great! that's why we exist to provide Lots of Laughs on the Ireland Show.

Ella said...

Hi GM, I popped in and did that survey, (the quickie). It's annoying, on a few occasions they mention about their "free" service, if that's the case why do I have to buy a tv licence?
The Angelus should have gone years ago, in fact I agree with Mr BH, so should RTE. The only thing of note on it is the news.

@Anna, LOL here, BOING BOING, that's exactly what it sounds like.

GM, enjoy your spin, while the rest of us prop up the economy.

Anonymous said...

GM Emmmm, yeah, interesting observation about RTEs attempt to square the circle re the Angelus and diversity in "society."
All adds to the strangeness of the place.

Anonymous said...

My apologies GM didnt sign above.


SaS said...

Have filled out the questionnaire and given some forthright opionions on the nonsense and woo that is the angelus. I'm waiting for NTL to be sent round to cut my TV link...

A day off?? Don't you realise how lucky you are to have a job? You should be working all day, every day...

Anonymous said...

GM I hope you enjoyed your jaunt, not too how many nutkin drivers along the way?

Mr BH tell your mate AKBAR that Ireland is not funny funny its sad funny. So it may give him a good laugh but really its more to be pitied.

Heres a thought for AKBAR. Its the general perception that Ireland has no government; reality is, it has'nt had one for many a year, its been ruled by the sovereign bond market. Any decision taken by the oirish gov is really only designed to keep some pimpled quant happy.


Anonymous said...

Fun fact: The only other country which has ever had the Angelus broadcast on radio/TV was Spaim amd they stopped after Franco croaked it.

Anna said...

That’s Very interesting – Spain only other country to broadcast the Angelus- how does Ireland manage to always get into these select little clubs? Spain – whose modern form appeared after a bloody civil war, then had a dictator for decades and a lot of Catholic repression (seems women could be jailed for adultery! Even in C20- that didn’t happen in Ireland anyway). Well Spain’s a vibrant nation now- and with good free health care for 1 thing. Some similarities there tho- and with Afghan radio.
Seems that the Official Afghan radio station (since 1925) is called Radio Kabul, when I search for it, the site below comes up, wasn’t able to search it closely (I do sometimes do some work) …maybe someone would like to see if it, anywhere, calls the (faithless and indifferent) to prayer 1470 times a year. Below May not be the right site, maybe just another Kabul station as there are plenty …anyway Radio Kabul was taken over by the Russians and forced to broadcast propaganda, then taken over by the Taliban & forced to broadcast propaganda…now radio stations are free.
SO both Kabul & RTE broadcast propaganda: Kabul did it as it was faced with bearded Russkies/ Talibans wielding Kalashnikovs/ grenades/Surface to air missiles…and RTE did it as 1 Executive thought it would be a great idea to please the bishops during a holy year- Wow these crosiers must pack a powerful punch.

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The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks for that Anna. The crozier is mightier than that bazooka. Cheers to Anon for bringing our Spanish Dictatorship connection to our attention.

@SaS. Sure they know if they give me a day off to find myself now and again they'll get the best performance out of me!

@ Dakota. Not too many nutkins, all considered. If you exclude me, of course ;-)

Anonymous said...

Late to the party, but I swear there was a short film that was shown in cinemas a few years ago before the main film that depicted the very scenario Anna is talking about.

Am I talking bollocks or did someone else see this clip too?

Anna said...

Ok life can be stranger than art in Ireland.....I remember reading in an Irish broadsheet paper in the '70s/80's, that main stream film producers used to sometimes film 2 versions of a raunchy bed scene:
*1) mostly nude &
2)* with participants in underwear,
*The 2nd one for Catholic countries such as Ireland to avoid problems with the censor- I gather this May have applied mostly to cinematic releases form 60’s- early 70’s (?):
Also I did go to see a god-awful film set in Las Vegas ‘Showgirls’ in Belfast in 1996- for No other reason than the Irish censor had banned it Outright- in 1996- just because of a few female full frontal nude scenes.
So anything Is possible…did you see this Holy Show yourself? Or was sit someone you knew, Please supply more details!!

B.N. Sweets said...

That twice-daily noise is a national disgrace. I instantly turn off my TV/Radio anytime I hear the first of those bongs.

The ideal solution would be to get if off the radio and then transfer the TV version to TG4. I'm sure the devout folks out there would not mind sitting through a few minutes of Ros na Run in order to get their fix of bongs.

For NTL users, they could also show it on City Channel.
In fact, it would probably up the quality of that station's output.

Anonymous said...

I do not pay a license fee to the national broadcaster so as to facilitate charitable donations of commercial airtime to religious organizations.

Airtime is not free, nor should it be.