"Cable" Catholics

I’ve asked this in Apologist Forum but not sure if it will get a reply. What’s your opinion on Catholics and cable TV? To get cable, one must buy a “package”, which includes a number of stations that are / should be objectionable to Catholics. Yet, if we get a package - whether we watch objectionable stations or not - our money pays for it.

So, is it a sin? Is God challenging us (in a way) to choose to go without? I would LOVE to have cable but not have my dollars pay for alot of its content. I can’t name stations, since it might get my post booted, so I’ll just ask - what’s your opinion? Cable pkg. - no cable?

I don’t watch much TV. Because of the trash on it. Occassionally, though, I’ll watch EWTN.

Wasn’t Jesus using a parable about selling all your stuff anyway? Why go without?

I have never had cable in my life.


I would LOVE to be able to watch EWTN. So, I’ve been debating maybe finally subscribing, although like you, I have reservations.

I’ll be curious to see what other posters have to say. :slight_smile:

I’d rather invest the money in a really good computer and internet connection - then you can watch EWTN online to your heart’s content (and some other Catholic/Christian tv channels too) without supporting any dubious media with your money.

That’s an interesting idea, Lily. Can you really watch all of their programming online, or just selected programs?

Sure, EWTN has both live streaming 24/7 (from all the different timezones as well!), and some programs can be viewed as video archives (meaning you watch when you want to and don’t have to wait for it to be broadcast).

I’m pretty sure it’s all of it, though I might be wrong.

Very cool, thanks, Lily. :slight_smile: I’ll have to look into that.

We got rid of cable because it was so disgusting, we didn’t want to support it. EWTN can be supported directly, and seen on computer.

Unfortunately, however, the regular TV is just as bad as cable. I give the public channel a piece of my mind, occasionally, though. They are getting more and more inappropriate, politically and culturally.

Read a book instead. :thumbsup:

I don’t know about whether it’s a sin…if it is probably venial.

We just disconnected ours. We were headed that way financially anyway…but then last Friday, I discovered a channel I didn’t realize we had…and watched too much of it as I figured out what the show was and decided I just didn’t need that kind of thing to even be available to happen. We canceled effective end of this cycle. Should cut our Time Warner bill in half with only our modem and phone.

Also, I have kept the TV off all day/afternoon/evening today. The kids have asked to watch, but I have not allowed them to. And just as I figured…MANY less fights/squabbles and my kids have been playing nicely together all afternoon/evening. We’re getting ready for our prayers and I don’t think there will be any whining about that either! :thumbsup:

I don’t think it would be at all sinful. EWTN is aware of which cable companies carry them, they would know if it were problematic.

Also, I remember seeing an program about the beginnings of EWTN, and how one cable company would broadcast EWTN during the day, and the Playboy channel at night. Mother Angelica thought it was amusing that someone might inadvertently fall asleep watching one kind of woman, and wake up watching Mother Angelica.

After reading so many comments, I’m wondering - didn’t know EWTN could be viewed on internet - but my computer has been acting dreadfully lately. Sticky mouse, programs slower than slow - if they open at all. I don’t know if it’s a virus or what…Opening EWTN or anything televised is bound to be a problem.

And yes, financially, cable would be a problem for me, too. I was thinking of going with a barebones package that just gave internet, phone and TV reception - but I’m worried about WHAT KIND of TV reception. I think if you don’t have a digital TV - it doesn’t matter - screen often has a black frame or borders. Annoyng !

What’s your opinion on Catholics and cable TV?

To get cable, one must buy a “package”, which includes a number of stations that are / should be objectionable to Catholics.

Yet, if we get a package - whether we watch objectionable stations or not - our money pays for it.

As a Catholic, it would be your own moral decision whether to skip Cable TV in order to not support the objectionable stations.

The broad moral principle of the ‘Double Effect’ covers what you are asking about: directing money to corporations that may also peddle immoral goods or entertainment.

There is a section on the Double Effect in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

You could in good conscience as a Catholic boycott Cable TV; but, on the other hand, it is reasonable that you need a source of information and entertainment, and CableTV is is usually the quickest source for both news and entertainment.

So, it is not a venial or mortal sin to subscribe to Cable Television (I’m talking about the basic cable channels; not the pornographic ones; and you already know that many of the cable channels do contain objectionable content), but if you wanted to, you could boycott Cable TV because of objectionable content on many of the channels.

Cable TV is something you, perhaps (without really analyzing it tonight), **should not ** be supporting financially.

But it is not a venial or mortal sin to subscribe to Cable TV.

Also, yes, you can watch EWTN for free over the internet.

You can also watch the Catholic Television Network of Detroit (CTND) over the internet for free; just go to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s website, or google CTND, and you should be able to find it.

CTND ran a few PBS shows about religion on it and some other show with what, I thought, was a somewhat (once in a while) theologically unorthodox Catholic priest named Father Manning from California. So, EWTN is better. They would show EWTN in the evenings (starting at 8:00pm) on CTND.

I think the Computer Industry already sells “TV Screens” for computers; I don’t think they are as big as TVs, and they are new so they probably are expensive.

If they are not selling them now, but Microsoft and other companies will be selling them in the near future.

Yeah, but if you just want EWTN, you might just want to watch it on the internet which is free too do so.

The main EWTN Talk Shows like EWTN Live, and Sunday Night Live at ewtn.com are watchable for a week in Archive on video; then they are transferred to their Audio section.

Some of EWTN’s older series are available on audio on demand in their Archive, although I did have trouble accessing some of the much older EWTN series audio files (some of the files I think wouldn’t work).

Also, I don’t know how the Cable Industry works, but I do not think the Cable Company pays the cable channels money in order to run their cable channels.

The Cable Company provides the programming and repairs, and you pay them to receive their line up.

The Cable Companies might pay something to the cable channels, but I always thought the cable channels received most of their money through commercial advertising, although in the beginning many of the cable channels were commercial free, so I am not sure (?).

My local Cable Provider always gave CTND the worst channel number, number 2 (the lowest cable), and it almost always the reception was terrible, even unwatchable, unless I videotaped the shows.

Then CTND was switched to their Digital Channels, and, I think, I remember reading in a newspaper article that CTND had poor reception on digital because a retirement home was complaining about the poor reception.

More on the Double Effect:

Three questions determine whether an action with a double effect is moral or immoral.

  1. The first is the question of intention. One can never intend the evil effect (CCC 1752). One’s intention must be only for the good effect. The evil effect must be a regrettable byproduct.
  1. The second is the question of causality. St. Thomas Aquinas articulated the principle that “the end does not justify the means” (CCC 1759). One may never do evil hoping that good may come of it. A bad effect may be the consequence of a morally good act, or it may occur simultaneously along with it, but the anticipated good must never be a result of evil actions. Such acts are never morally licit (CCC 1756).
  1. The third question is of comparable gravity. Is the good being done proportional to the evil consequences of the action? In order to justify taking the action, it must be. When an action has both a good and an evil outcome, the gravity of the two must be weighed against each other. Although “circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil.” Still, they can and do “contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts” (CCC 1754).

By Matthew Newsome, Catholic Answers writer, in This Rock, September, 2006

This is actually a very interesting topic. Let me state for the record that as a historian, my job involves monitoring multiple sources of news daily, both on tv and the internet, PLUS I’m called to comment on historical documentaries from the major networks quite frequently, so I’ve no intentions about eliminating my OWN cable. However, let me discuss some of the things you ARE able to do if you do want to get rid of it, because some are quite amazing.

  1. You can do quite well for yourself if you ditch your regular cable, but add or keep a cable modem connection. You’ll get your video content with the ability to use the web incredibly fast to boot. Not only does EWTN broadcast online, but most of the major national and cable networks offer their shows on-demand online. Even most national and even local news stations post their newscasts online now There are also sites like Hulu that offer classic shows that you can stream and watch completely legally (things like Star Trek, Gilligan’s Island, Andy Griffith, etc.) I just watched the National Geographic special “Inside the Vatican” on Hulu last night in fact. If you have a fast enough connection, you can even watch them in high-def. You can even program your computer to make custom TV stations for you that play ONLY your favorite shows (or parentally approved shows)!

  2. Now… if your computer has a really good graphic card and an HDMI output, you can run your computer into your HDTV, and voila, you can watch all of your shows for just the cost of your monthly connection. Not everything will be in high def, but you’ll be surprised how much is. That big screen connection is also fun if you have a particular favorite videogame, like Roller Coaster Tycoon. For $20, manage an amusement park, build your own roller coaster designs, and then try them out in high def! Wonderful fun!

  3. Memory is cheap. Some hard drives are over a terabyte now! With the right software, you can turn your computer into a Tivo and record your streaming shows, in case they AREN’T on demand and you want to watch them later.

  4. If you’re really a cinema fan, hook the computer up to the lights in your room remotely. Your computer can turn on your surround sound system, automatically play recent trailers from the internet for you, just like in the theaters, and dim the lights when your DVD starts! And lest you think all of this costs an arm and a leg, you could probably build a really satisfactory home theater, tv, computer, surround sound, remote lights, and all for $3000-$4000. My brother did it, and not only does it provide some great family nights or opportunities to have friends over, but he uses it for work with a webcam so he can teleconference with business partners in Asia. Technology, used properly can really be wonderful nowadays.

Thanks, to Dwyer and Rolltide, for the very informative replies.

  1. I’m one who tends to see things in black and white (not TV but theoretically). I’d like to find the loophole that will let me get some cable package but fear that ‘loophole’ is just like evil sneaking its way in to justify, etc., if you know what I mean. (Still I’m near having a breakdown without TV now. TV was my only companion, and I think losing it has actually put me over the edge combined with other problems. The converter box hooked up to one TV is “okay” but tonight I noticed bad reception on one channel - REALLY bad - and wish I didn’t have to “childproof” my TV - just pay for a package that was “trashproof”. It doesn’t have to be EWTN - I’d enjoy an old movie channel actually. Even though we don’t watch objectionable programming / stations - we’re paying for them. That’s the rub. “The Customer is Always Right” attitude - just doesn’t exist anymore.

  2. Some of the high-tech suggestions are way beyond me and my wallet. I’m at a point right now where I budget to buy only the bare necessities even when it comes to groceries, so you can imagine my panic when a monthly cable bill had to be considered. Can’t afford to upgrade computer, which is overdue, but I would be happy just to have a TV screen that doesn’t hiss and snow.

I ask for so little and in a way - feel my “companion” has been sort of stolen / taken for ransom…I can get it back - for a price. But that price is so morally wrong - and I can’t understand why more Christians (let alone Catholics) haven’t spoken out - not just by not viewing the objectionable stations - but demanding packages that provide a choice. (How often do we hear “pro-choice”? - so long as it’s THEIR choice.)

Thanks for the input…Still trying - but losing it big time without my TV.

I mainly have cable for two reasons

  1. to watch EWTN and sporting events

  2. So I can have cable internet because is faster then internet thru the phone

Cable connection brings the possibility of more bad input than all of cable tv, yet we all subscribe to it. It makes this forum possible. I think it’s a matter of what we do with cable tv or internet, based on what’s in our hearts. Libraries, movie theaters, movie production companies that make both bad and good films–we can’t control all/any of them, and I see a direct parallel in the question of having cable in our homes. I mean, our government’s programs including SSI give our tax dollars to people of all persuasions and sins. Every single grocery store in this country sells periodicals that contain material not suitable for faith-filled people. What are we to do?

My vote is, be in the world but not of it. God doesn’t want us hiding our lights under bushel baskets, or living in mountaintop communes living the pure life. If we can support networks like EWTN on the major cable broadcasters, it would help getting the message across that there is a great market for both Catholic and wholesome media.

Just my 2 cents. God be with us all.

This may be a stupid question, but does any of the money you pay for your cable bill actually go to those stations or programs that are producing bad shows? Isn’t the money used to pay for Cable wires, maintenance, the staff at the cable company, etc.? Would the Cable company actually shell out money to TV stations? That doesn’t sound like something they would do.

Even cable channels have commercials, and isn’t it that advertising revenue that pays for the questionable programs? Except perhaps in the case of the movie channels like HBO which you would have to pay extra for anyway as they aren’t part of the normal package.

Any Comcast employees out there to shed some light on this? :shrug: :wink:

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