On Sunday, Oct. 20, a one-hour documentary called “Francis: The Pope From the New World” will air on Fox Business Network at 5 PM ET (live in all time zones).
However, FBN had no involvement in the production, which is entirely the work of the Roman Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus. The group purchased airtime on Sunday during a paid-programming block normally filled by various infomercials and product pitches.
According to a release from the KofC, the special profiles the pope–formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina — and features interviews, many of them shot in his home country, “with close friends, fellow priests, co-workers, his biographer, and the poor of Buenos Aires.”
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, one of the special’s executive producers, said, “The documentary arrives as the world realizes that a very special man has assumed the leadership of the Catholic Church and this begins–but does not end–with his gestures of humility and care for everyone.”
“Still, what remain largely unknown to the public are many details of Pope Francis’ life, the work he has done and the ways he has defended the voiceless and Catholic principles,” he continued. “This documentary delves into those stories.”
The film begins with the pope’s election on March 13, 2013 as the first Jesuit and first man from the Western Hemisphere to assume the Chair of Peter, before covering various life events, family dynamics, what brought him to the priesthood, his work in the slums of Buenos Aires, and his enduring support for the San Lorenzo soccer team.
It also examines his efforts as Jesuit provincial to save or shield individuals under threat from the military junta during Argentina’s “Dirty War” between 1976 and 1983, as also chronicled in the new book by Italian journalist Nello Scavo, Bergoglio’s List: Those Saved by Pope Francis; Stories Never Told.
Even after leaving Argentina to take up residence in the Vatican in Rome, the pope hasn’t stopped his attempts to engage a note of peace and reconciliation into world conflicts. After commenting on attacks on Catholics and other Christians in Africa and the Middle East, he called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria on Sept. 7, marked with a prayer vigil at St. Peter’s Square.
In news released on Thursday, Oct. 17, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas invited Pope Francis to visit the Middle East. CNN quoted Issa Kassissieh, the Palestinian ambassador to the Vatican, as saying that Abbas has “extended an official invitation to Pope Francis…to visit the Holy Land and Palestine.”
No word yet on whether the pope has accepted the invitation. In May 2009, Francis’ predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, visited the Holy Land, including stops in Amman, Jordan, and in Nazareth and Bethlehem. Click here for a slideshow of that trip.