Vatican City, Jan 8, 2011
The Vatican's Press Office director Fr. Federico Lombardi has denied claims that there is any official collaboration between the Holy See and the Discovery Channel for a series called “The Exorcist Files.” Publicity for the show was “misleading.”
The network was reputed to be "teaming up with the Vatican" to recreate documented cases of haunting and possession, Inside TV said on Jan. 5. The report included several statements from Discovery Channel president W. Clark Bunting on the difficulty and nature of an apparent agreement with the Vatican.
Bunting claimed that producers were given "access into the Vatican’s case files" and that "the organization’s top exorcists — religious experts who are rarely seen on television" sat for interviews with them.
“The Vatican is an extraordinarily hard place to get access to, but we explained we’re not going to try to tell people what to think," said Bunting.
Fr. Lombardi's comments, however, suggest the publicity for the show has distorted the reality.
In statements to international media on Jan. 8, he stated that no Vatican bodies are working with Discovery.
"I deny that supposed collaboration," he flatly told the Spanish EFE agency on Jan. 8. He called the claimed relationship "totally out of place."
Such news is "misleading," said Fr. Lombardi in a report from Italy's Il Giornale. He denied any involvement with both the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Vatican Television Center, of which he is also director.
"Neither are the Vatican nor the Catholic Church involved in this project," he stated.
Fr. Lombardi said that while the network could have been in contact with individual experts, "every attribution of this kind to the Vatican must be considered inexact."