Mark Dowd

Other Work

The Quest For God In A Broken World

My Tsunami Journey

How to reconcile belief in a loving God with the suffering of innocent human beings and earthly creatures in the natural world? This question, as old as the Old Testament’s Book of Job, has been mainly grappled with over the centuries by learned theologians and philosophers. But in this groundbreaking work, the author is sent on a journey across thousands of miles to speak to Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians like himself

Published April 11 2022
A Life of Contradiction

Queer and Catholic

This superb memoir of a gay, working class boy from Manchester exploring how to reconcile his sexuality with his Catholicism is all the more powerful because of his deep knowledge of and commitment to his faith. Spanning the late 1960s to the present day, Mark Dowd’s Queer and Catholic chronicles a changing attitude to same-sex attraction over more than half a century and is packed with stories in turn funny, deeply moving and spiritually insightful, including: coming out to his parents by talking in his sleep, training to become a Dominican priest before eloping from a religious order with an ex friar, and attending the funeral of his father – accompanied by his father!

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Television program

My Tsunami Journey

Taking as his subject the Indian Ocean tsunami of Christmas 2004, former Dominican Friar Mark Dowd confronts a question that has troubled religious thinkers for centuries: how can belief in a benevolent God be reconciled with natural disaster?
Television program

GOD IS GREEN

What do the world’s faiths have to say about our relationship to creation and inparticular, humanity’s responsibility for the current climate crisis? Is religion a hindrance or a benefit when it comes to confronting the environmental emergency which now confronts the nations of the world?
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CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM

Why has there been such tension and distrust between the descendants of Abraham, the patriarchal figure who is key to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike? Does the sharing of this heritage offer a starting point for dialogue and peace-building in places like the Middle East and beyond. In this three part series, Mark Dowd travels to the Holy Land, to troubled Bosnia and visits Death Row to talk to a man who killed two Asian men after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers.

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OPUS DEI and the DA VINCI CODE

Dan Brown’s international best seller put the Catholic group OPUS DEI firmly in the public spotlight. But how accurate is this depiction? Brown casts them as a bunch of self-flagellating, power-hungry sect members, but in this documentary, Mark Dowd gets rare inside access and paints a picture of an organization that is rather different to the world of The Da Vinci Code.

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QUEER and CATHOLIC

Why are gay men so over-represented in the Catholic priesthood? As all candidates for the priesthood are meant to be celibate and abstain from sexual behaviour, does this present a problem or not? Why does the church still teach that such acts as “objectively disordered?” What does the Church say to LGBT women and men about love, commitment and their human desires for companionship?

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ABUSED and CATHOLIC

Long before Hollywood made “Spotlight” and won Oscars for a film about the story of the sex abuse crisis that imploded in Boston, Mark visited the city in 2002 and made “Abused and Catholic.” This films explores the psychological damage inflicted on victims, hears their stories and talks to angry lifelong Catholics who demand reform and change in the wake of terrible scandal.
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AFTER SUICIDE

It is rare when a family member or friend takes his or her own life, that much thought is given to those around the deceased who have to cope with the aftermath. Complex feelings of guilt, anger and sadness can lead to self-recrimination. No one, it seems, really wants to talk about it.

In this one hour documentary, Mark Dowd explores these themes in frank discussions with those who have been through the pain and grief and comes up with some constructive advice for those who are caught up in post-suicidal grief.

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INSIDE THE VATICAN

Why did Pope Benedict XVI shock the world in February 2013 and resign from the papacy? Mark Dowd looks at the so-called Vati leaks scandal and talks to Vatican insiders in a program that gets beneath the news headlines and reveals the workings of one of the world’s most secretive organizations.

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Part Two

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THE POWER OF MIRACLES

What exactly is a miracle and what is the purpose of prayer when examining stories of cures that defy all scientific and medical logic? In this two part series, Mark visits Italy and talks to those who claim to have witnessed miraculous events. Are they telling the truth or are they deluded??

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SIN and the CONFESSIONAL

What is the sacrament of Confession? Is it more than personal therapy and how do people who participate in this centuries, old tradition combat the charge that automatic forgiveness just encourages people to keep on behaving badly? What does it mean to say a penitent has to be “genuinely contrite?”

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ROMERO: a Saint for the Americas

Who was Oscar Romero? Why was he gunned down in 1980 when saying mass, by a brutal military regime? And why did the Roman Catholic Church take more than thirty five years to recognize his saintly qualities? Mark Dowd visits El Salvador to find out

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CHOOSING LIFE

In this two part series, Mark examines the arguments for and against assisted dying. He meets people on both sides of the argument: Alison, a woman in her late fifties with spina bifida who tried to take her own life and is now grateful that that option was not on the table at the time of her despair. And Edward, who lost both his parents to cruel and painful neurological diseases and who had to listen to his mother’s request to end her own life with the support of her children.

Part One

Part Two

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The Icon Painters of Bethlehem

Mark meets two inspirational young artists from Bethlehem who have been allowed t travel from the West Bank to the UK’s Lichfield Cathedral, to study the art of icon painting.

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A Mother’s Good Friday

In this multiple award-winning programme, Mark talk to Diane Foley, mother of journalist James who was brutally murdered by ISIS in Iraq in August 2014. Diane reflects of the image of Mary at the foot of the Cross in the Resurrection, and citing the music of the Stabat Mater, takes strength and encouragement from the witness of Jesus’ mother who was faithful to him until the hour of his death.
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A God-shaped hole

Is there, at the heart of the human condition, a space where the divine can make us whole? Or is this “pining for God” merely an illusion? Mark talks to a panel of believers and doubters in a fascinating discussion.

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Man’s search for meaning

The life and story of Viktor Frankl, Jewish holocaust survivor who undergoes extreme torment and loss and yet emerges from the concentration camp with a renewed sense of purpose in life. How is this possible? Why do some individual break under intense duress and others not only survive intact, but seem to gather strength and inspiration in the most trying of circumstances?

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The Truth about Pope Francis.

One of the earliest documentaries about Pope Francis after his election in March 2013 to the papacy, which examines charges that, as a senior church figure, he colluded with Argentina’s oppressive military junta between 1976 and 1982. What is the truth behind accusations that he gave up on two Jesuit priests and left them to their fate at the hands of a cruel dictatorship?

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Driving out the Devil

Are people ‘Possessed’ by daemons or is it a case of mental illness that’s being ignored? Mark Dowd meets those who practice exorcism to understand whether the Devil is real, or a figment of the human imagination.

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The Body

In Jesus’ day, looking after the dead body of someone you loved was a very hands-on affair. Why is it, then, that Christians – at least in Britain – are now so squeamish about it? Why do we prefer to leave the job to funeral directors and at best view the body after it’s been laid out and made to look as life-like as possible?

In this Holy Week and Easter podcast, Mark Dowd goes out to find some answers.