Clergy Abuse Victims Concerned About Limited Re-Broadcasts Of Frontline Episode

'Secrets Of The Vatican' Deemed 'Inappropriate For Daytime Audiences' By Milwaukee Public Television

This week, the show “Frontline” aired the episode “Secrets of the Vatican” three times on Milwaukee Public Television, and twice on Wisconsin Public Television. Image courtesy of  “Frontline.”

Clergy abuse victims are concerned that the re-broadcast of a public television program criticizing the Catholic Church is being limited to the nighttime.

This week, the show “Frontline” aired the episode “Secrets of the Vatican” three times on Milwaukee Public Television (MPTV) at 7, 8, and 11 p.m. Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) aired the episode at 8 and 10 p.m.

MPTV was scheduled to air the show four times during daytime hours, on its public television World Channel. Those airings have been cancelled at the request of World.

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Milwaukee Public TV General Manager Ellis Bromberg said he was happy with the program but agreed that the sexual abuse by clergy described on the show was inappropriate for daytime audiences.

“There was adult content,” said Bromberg. “It was inappropriate, we felt – once we got to see it, once we got to screen it – for daytime audiences.”

Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests is one of several Milwaukee abuse victims featured on the “Frontline” episode. He said Bromberg’s explanation does not seem credible.

“Public television in particular, and especially ‘Frontline’ and programs like Nature, have aired topics and programs that involve the issue of sexuality that are much, much more graphic than anything whatsoever that was portrayed in this documentary,” said Isely.

Isely said he worries that the Catholic Church pressured public television to drop the daytime airings. MPTV said that’s not the case.

It’s unclear how many other U.S. public television outlets are limiting broadcast of the “Frontline” program. Milwaukee will air the show one more time on Saturday at 2 a.m.

WPT doesn’t carry the World Channel.

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