UPDATE: Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, apologized to the synod members last night for having asked that the YouTube clip be shown.
There are no written texts of the synod’s evening discussions, but Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the English-language press officer for the synod, said Cardinal Turkson told the assembly that he “never meant to hurt people, cause harm, scare people or to stir up things as he did and he apologized for that.”
Father Rosica said several bishops spoke about the clip again last night. “There were questions. Most of the concern was that the facts weren’t right,” Father Rosica said.
VATICAN CITY — The screening of an anonymous YouTube clip about the decline of Christian populations in Europe and North America and the growth of the continents’ Muslim community launched heated debate and some serious objections at the Synod of Bishops Saturday evening.
A cardinal who works in the Vatican asked that the 7-and-a-half-minute video be shown to bishops at the synod, according to the Vatican press office.
The video, posted on YouTube in 2009, makes claims such as, “In just 39 years, France will be an Islamic republic.”
The clip ends by telling people, “The world is changing; it’s time to wake up.”
Officials from the council of European bishops’ conferences said the film’s premise is based on faulty statistics and they would provide synod members with accurate figures on birth rates in Europe, and the religious make-up of the continent’s population.
The video was shown at the beginning of Saturday evening’s “open discussion” in the synod hall. The synod’s English-language briefing officer, Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, told reporters about the film and reaction to it, but in keeping with synod rules, he did not name any of the bishops involved.
Father Rosica said that even this morning, bishops at the synod were asking who made the film and why it was shown at the synod.