Vatican, Dec. 23 (CWNews.com) - The midnight Mass of Christmas, celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica, will be broadcast over 124 television networks reaching 74 different countries.
The Pontifical Council for Social Communications(1) has revealed that 46 countries will enjoy full live broadcast of the midnight Mass, 3 will have delayed coverage, and 36 will see parts of the ceremony.
Last year, the midnight Mass at which Pope John Paul II presided was covered by 116 television networks, reaching 73 nations.
Pope Benedict's Urbi et Orbi message, delivered at midday from the balcony of the Vatican basilica, will be broadcast over 111 television chains, to 68 countries. That is a slight decrease from last Christmas day, when the message by Pope John Paul II was carried by 116 networks to 73 countries.
For his Urbi et Orbi message last year, Pope John Paul delivered Christmas greetings in 62 different languages, including Turkish, Indonesian, Chinese, Tamil, and Esperanto. The Vatican has not disclosed whether Pope Benedict will maintain the tradition of wishing his audience a happy Christmas in many different languages.
Of the countries that have arranged for the rights to telecast the midnight Mass, 9 are from Africa, 18 from the Americas, 8 from Asia, 37 from Europe, and 2 from Oceania. A number of predominantly Muslim countries will receive the telecast, including Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, and the world's most populous Muslim country, Indonesia(2).
- 1.) This Council is responsible for anything having to do with any means of communications: radio, advertising, television, print media, and the internet. Its mission is to use the instruments of social communication to proclaim the good news of salvation. Its president is the American Archbishop John Foley
- 2.) Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. It is also the world's largest archipelago. The country gained independence from the Netherlands in 1949, and was subject to dictatorial rule by former President Suharto from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s.
While the country is 85 percent Muslim, about 10 percent are Christian, and only 2 percent are Hindu. However, the Molluccas region, also called the Spice Islands, is majority Christian.
After the removal of Suharto from power, fundamentalist Muslims groups sprang up, sending "jihad fighters" to Christian regions to attack the population because of small separatist movements that many thought were promoted by Christians. More than 9,000 people died in the Molluccas in three years of fighting. Thousands more have died in fighting in other regions as well.
The terrorist al-Quaida network is also known to have funded and trained several of the extremist groups in Indonesia.