October 5, 2011

Vatican condemns BBC’s advice on BC/AD usage

by Jan Harris

The BBC’s decision to allow producers to use the religiously neutral terms BCE and CE (Before Common Era and Common Era), instead of BC and AD (Before Christ and Anno Domini), has been condemned in the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Although the BBC said that it was not official policy to use BCE and CE, the paper said that guidance was “enormous nonsense”.

It also said that the BBC was guilty of “senseless hypocrisy” over the move and that the birth of Jesus was a historically revolutionary moment accepted by Christians, Muslims and Jews.

The BBC suggested that new terms could be used to avoid offending non-Christians, in line with its commitment to impartiality.

However the start of the Common Era is dated at the same point as Anno Domini, which translates as ‘Year of the Lord’ so the new term is still based chronologically on the birth of Jesus, even though the explicit reference to his birth has been removed.

L’Osservatore Romano suggested that the change of terms was part of a wider trend to eradicate Christianity from Western culture.

Meanwhile the BBC is seeking support from the UK government over the intimidation of relatives and friends of ten BBC staff by police and officials in Iran.

It wants the government to challenge Iran’s anti-BBC rhetoric, which has increased substantially since the channel aired a documentary on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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