MARIA Von Trap,, who died last week, was one of the subjects in Arena (BBC2) last Friday. The programme, entitled Catholics was based on a good idea which had been badly followed through. Somebody had obviously been struck by the fact that a lot of famous people in different areas of the entertainment business had, in their youth, trained for the priesthood or the religious life.
I suppose this is a good enough starting point for a television documentary unfortunately this particular documentary never got beyond the starting point. We were presented with an aimless stream of interviews with the chosen few.
Maria Von Trapp's reminiscences were, needless to say, interspersed with liberal doses of clips from the Sound of Music. Film director Martin Scorsese, admitted that his Catholicism influenced his film making, Australian singer Tony Monopoly compared preparing to go on stage with preparing to go out onto the sanctuary to say mass.
Penthouse editor Bob Guccione felt that Catholicism had made him his own greatest critic and helped him to maintain the highest artistic standards in his choice of pictures for his pornographic magazines.
Mary O'Hara, like Maria Von Trapp, had some deep and important personal thoughts to offer on the influence of the religious life but .these were diluted by the general tenor of the programme. From stars who had once entered the religious life, we were led on to the idea of priests as the stars of Hollywood films, and were shown a chunk from the film On the Waterfront. Tacked onto the end was a short profile of one of the priests who is now a member of the Nicaraguan government.
The programme had promised "a startling look at the aesthetics of Catholicism". Instead it offered a jumbled collection of impressions of Catholicism without any clear message or perspective.
Sunday April 5, Morning Has Broken, Radio 4 6.32 am. Jack Hywel-Davies introduces some sacred music, followed by The Bells on Sunday.
Good Morning Sunday, Radio 2 7.30 am. Britain's bestknown botanist, Dr David Bellamy talks about his passionate belief in conservation, his strong faith and his love of ballet.
Sunday, Radio 4 (LW) 7.40
am. Weekly religious news programme.
Lent Services, BBC1 9.15 am. Margaret Collingwood presents the penultimate programme in this series of ecumenical Lenten services. Today Stations of the Cross are led by Canon Patrick Lynch and the preacher is the Rev George Carey.
Morning Service, Radio 4 9.30 am. From Westergate Baptist Church, Bradford. The Preacher will be the Rev Dr Noel Vose, President of the Baptist World Alliance, and he'll be tackling the question of Discipleship — Belief or Pilgrimage?
Morning Worship, ITV 11 am. The Way of The Kingdom — Prayer The Rev W Broderick deals with the crucial topic of Prayer in this Sunday morning worship for Lent from St Mary's Parish Church, Whitkirk, Leeds.
The Old Testament In Art, ITV Yorkshire 11.45 am. The Lord's Anointed. Oliver Hunkin continues his series about religion as seen through the eyes of famous painters. This week includes works of art by such painters as Poussin and Caravaggio.
Songs Of Praise, BBC1 6.40 pm. Cliff rMichelmore presents the programme from the splendid Victorian Roman Catholic Erdington Abbey in Birmingham. Aston Villa goalkeeper Nigel Spink is among the congregation and the hymns include Crown Him with many Crowns, and Take up thy Cross.
Highway, ITV 6.45 pm. Sir Harry Secomb goes north to Quarrier's Village, just outside Glasgow, a caring community which looks after disadvantaged groups in society.
Sir Harry talks to Jinl Minto, the director of the Epilepsy Centre run from the village and sees some of the craft work done by the village inhabitants.
Sunday Half Hour, Radio 2 8.30 pm. From Hinde Street Methodist Church, home of the West London Mission.
Lent Talk, Radio 4 8.45pm. The Rev Richard Harries continues his series of Lent talks on the subject of the Resurrection.
Seeds Of Faith, Radio 4 11 pm. The Rev Stanley Brinkman continues his series, Towards the Cross. This week he looks at Jesus.
Monday To Friday — Five To Eleven, BBC1. Eastenders has even invaded religious broadcasting with Actress Wendy Richard (who plays Pauline Fowler) reading some of her favourite prose and poetry each morning at five to eleven.
Friday April 10, Choral Evensong, Radio 3 4pm. A recording of Vespers from Ampleforth Abbey in which both the monastic community, and the boys of the School will' be taking part.