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Statement by Fr. Thomas Rosica regarding Bell TV

February 10, 2011
Dear Viewers of Salt + Light on Bell TV,
Over the past months, we have received hundreds of telephone calls, e-mail messages, letters from our viewers informing us that Bell TV will no longer carry Salt + Light Television as of February 27, 2011. The calls and messages have intensified over the past week from every part of Canada, and there is much miscommunication happening over which we have no control.
We have never received any notification of such a cancellation from Bell TV, and have been in regular communications with Bell executives at the highest level who have assured us that for the present, there is no intention to drop Salt + Light from their channel offerings. While Bell has made it very clear that they will no longer carry EWTN in their line up, they have also made it clear that Salt + Light Television will remain. Salt + Light will no longer be available in the “Catholic bundle” or “Religion bundle” together with EWTN; however Salt + Light can be ordered “stand-alone” - as a single channel. Contrary to many of the messages we have received, I wish to remind you that Bell TV respects us and values the product of Salt + Light Television. They also realize that there are thousands of subscribers of Salt + Light on their network in Canada.
While I sincerely regret Bell’s decision to drop EWTN from their channel line up, and have manifested this regret to Bell on numerous occasions over the past months, I also know that this is a business decision on the part of Bell TV. Salt + Light relates to Bell as a single entity and cannot speak for any other network. Bell is a Canadian company and Salt + Light is a Canadian network. I am grateful to Bell TV for their continued carriage. We will continue to do all we can to encourage Canadian Catholics, from sea to sea to sea, to subscribe to Salt + Light on Bell TV.
Some of the miscommunication taking place over the past few months has been directly due to incorrect and inconsistent information provided by Bell employees at Bell call centres throughout the country. We have done our best to rectify that situation over the past two weeks.
Other miscommunication has been fueled by false statements and accusations of assumed intention or negative motives revolving around, in part, a purported anti-Catholic campaign. If that were the case, why would Bell desire to continue carrying Salt + Light Catholic Television? In our age, such misinformation finds a healthy home in the blogosphere where anyone with a keyboard and Internet can shout out information without accountability, corroboration or verification of facts. When such actions are done in the name of “defense of the faith”, “protection of the Church”, upholding Christianity or Catholicism, it is erroneous and a gross distortion of serving the truth in charity.
May I remind viewers and friends in Canada, as well as the tens of thousands of viewers around the world of our live streaming, documentaries, stored website programs, excellent blogs, and to reflect on the words of Pope Benedict XVI in his recent message "Truth, proclamation and authenticity of life in the digital age" for the 45th World Day of Communications:
To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgments that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically. Furthermore, it is also true in the digital world that a message cannot be proclaimed without a consistent witness on the part of the one who proclaims it. In these new circumstances and with these new forms of expression, Christian are once again called to offer a response to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).
The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its "popularity" or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. Even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith!
If you receive Salt + Light through Bell TV, we encourage you to write or call and express how important Catholic television and media is to you. You may speak with a Bell TV customer service rep by calling 1.888.759.3474. or call us for further clarification at 1.888.302.7181.
Thank you to our hundreds of thousands of subscribers, viewers and supporters in Canada and around the world for helping us to bring the flavor of the Gospel and the light of Christ to the world today.
May the Lord reward you for your support and generosity of S+L.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
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