First ICN lecture: Mark Dowd on Pope Benedict and Media

Mark Dowd

Mark Dowd

The award-winning broadcast journalist and campaigner Mark Dowd, will be giving the inaugural Independent Catholic News lecture at Heythrop College on the evening on 13 September, 2010, on the subject of Pope Benedict XVI and the media. (Time to be confirmed).

The lecture comes two days before the Holy Father arrives in Scotland for the start of his state visit. Two days earlier,  Dowd will have presented a documentary on BBC2 about the Pope Benedict. Mark Dowd said: "The Heythrop lecture will be an extended set of reflections  on themes arising from the programme -  among them openness to the world and the Second Vatican Council."

The evening will be followed by a small reception. Tickets are limited.  To confirm your attendance, please e-mail

About Mark Dowd

Mark was born in Salford, Manchester. He has been a devoted Man United fan ever since he witnessed his father tearing around the lounge with passionate excitement after they secured the European Cup at Wembley in 1968.

Raised a Roman Catholic, Mark read politics at Exeter University before trying his vocation to the priesthood with the Dominican Order at Blackfriars, Oxford in 1981. After realising that the life of a friar was not for him, Mark went on to read International Relations at St Antony’s Oxford,  and from there used his studies as a way into journalism with The Times newspaper.

Since 1987, he has worked in TV with Weekend World, Newsnight and Panorama.  In 2001 he left the BBC and went freelance, specialising in presenting programmes on religion aired in prime time TV slots. Amongst his documentary output are Abused and Catholic (2003) and the award-winning Children of Abraham (2004): a three part series for Channel Four looking at inter-religious strife in the post 9/11 world.  Hallowed Be Thy Game, (Jan 2005) asked if football was the new religion and featured rare interviews on faith and sport with Sir Alex Ferguson and Michael Owen.

Tsunami: Where was God?: a two hour special for Channel Four, tried to penetrate one of the hardest religious conundrums: belief in an Almighty, benevolent Creator in the wake of suffering and hardship. This programme won the Radio Times best religious documentary of the year award in May 2006. Following this, Mark won the national award for Religious Broadcaster of the Year from the Churches’ Media Council in June of the same year. 

In 2007, Mark fronted God is Green, a film which encouraged the world’s faiths to take more of an active lead on the climate issue. In the documentary, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, was successfully challenged to give up flying for a year.

Because of the seriousness of the global warming issue, in January 2008, Mark moved to work full time for Operation Noah, an ecumenical campaigning body based in London and is currently preparing the BBC documentary on Pope Benedict for airing in September, as well as a Radio 4 programme on British Catholicism.

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