Church opinion on secular movies?

I have been struggling lately with the question of whether watching movies and reading books that don’t lead me to God or leave me with a sense of faith, hope and charity, is good for me and whether it’s the holiest thing to do? I’m not meaning anything explicit, but even just things like the Hunger Games.

I’m not wanting personal opinion - I’ve spent hours thinking over this and have many people I can ask - but I’m wondering if anyone knows of any Church Documents (or Papal letters etc) that mention this or advise us in any way? Even if there are some saints quotes that talk about it would be good.

Thanks guys,
God bless you

You can see pretty much anything … under a Christian viewpoint.

I avoid most modern secular movies, books, and music like the plague. If you think it is not benefiting your relationship with God, DROP IT! Oh but I’m not sure on the churches opinion.

The USCCB actually has a film rating guide.

And this website is good for discerning whether or not you should go see a movie. It gives each movie an Overall Recommendability grade, stars for Artistic/Entertainment Value, points for moral/spiritual value, and age appropriateness.

So you would never watch a sports event, do a sudoku puzzle, or the like? Don’t people in the religious life once in a while take a break?

What about videogames and books with violence and sexual content? Is it sinful to read/play them? I am not talking about content that is solely about arousal or violence, but I mean those works that include them. Suppose you were watching an action movie and suddenly gore or a sex scene appears…?

I asked the apologists but haven’t got a reply yet.

Never heard of any official document outlining the consumption of films, literature and media. Considering a person’s reaction (if any) to such entities are pretty much individual, it is up to you to determine whether they are healthy hobbies to have in your life.

If they are not pornographic or otherwise extremely problematic (e.g. explicitly blasphemous, etc.) and not a near occasion of sin for you, you are fine.

I read and watch what I want I do not pay much attention to the churches ratings.

There is in fact a church document on “social communications” including movies. Here it is for your edification:

I do not know what to do with this.

wow i wont advise you regarding the ratings but be carefull about reading and watching anything. Many books and film are not to be watched, be carefull.

I can’t support this view point. God didn’t ask you to be a hermit he asked you to live a christian life on this planet. Just because its not about or related to God or is amoral ( and I mean that in its literal sense) doesn’t make it Evil.

Example: The bugs bunny show, it has senseless humor and does nothing to build faith but is harmless by most peoples standards and it is. But by the standards you put forward its not befitting viewing.

This is a good example of an Amoral show.

Depends on context. I’ll play Mass effect series but I don’t play it for the sex shots but for the entire arc. Anything that pointlessly glorifies sex or violence in one or the other misses the mark with me and remains unplayed.

Sex and violence are part of life and provide depth to actions and motivations. These things can provide life lessons as they are apart of life.

I wouldn’t show such things to children by a long shot but I think the elder generation forget that the children that grew up with Mario are now adults so there are now adult video games.

This is to be blunt foolish. You’d be surprised what things are bad for you to the point or causing corruption.

A good example of this is Harry Potter. Sure at first glance its for kids until you get into the content.

A main character whose sole motivation is to gain power for revenges sake. He bends the rules for the ‘greater good’. He learns even dark arts of magic to use ‘if he has too’. Everyone sees him as a hero in the universe he inhabits and little questioning of his methods come into play. On top of that he is frequently rewarded.

And finally there is a level of violence unfitting the age cap its set for.

See yes one must guard your heart but there is a vast difference from fear of God and Terror of God. You can’t be afraid to function in the world God put you in frankly for a reason.
On the other hand there is walking with sinners to be an example and wallowing in the mud-hole with them. Jesus ate with sinners but he didn’t go to crime dens and have a beer with the local ‘mob’ family where the prostitutes were.

But before we get to derailed here I have heard that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responds to movies and literature that catch their eye as well as the conclave of Exorcists in Rome.

Last time I checked, he does what he does because Voldy is pretty much Satan and Hitler incarnate. Revenge? Hardly. If anything, the worst you can say about Harry is he’s a poor sap forced with a lot of emotional baggage.

As for ‘dark arts’, that is much suspect. Magic in fantasy comes in many layers and even the most innocent spell can be used immorally (and vice-versa). As far as I know, the darkest things in Harry’s spell arsenal are the Unforgivable Curses and by themselves, the spells are merely dangerous and not necessarily evil. I’ve been a fantasy nerd for ten years and from my experience, spells that have been labeled ‘dark magic’ or ‘evil’ turn out to be really just too dangerous for people with soft backbone (moral and otherwise) to use responsibly.

I’m not here to argue Harry potter. Its condemned by the church as is and arguing about it will just derail the thread.

Yeah well you opened that can of worms and I’m not about to let you walk away with the mess you left with it. Besides, it’s related to the topic at hand. You have no excuse.

Umm actually I don’t think Harry Potter is ‘condemned by the Church’! There is no explicit direct condemnation by the Pope or magisterium. Perhaps individual bishops or priests have condemned it though.
BTW here’s an awesome blog about magic in Harry Potter and how to ‘rate’ it - very interesting!

Anyway, Inter Mirifica was what I was looking for - thanks!

God bless!

I said Rome denounced it. That should be more then enough for you. I’m not trying to ‘walk away from the mess’. the Mess is already settled. Head exorcists said don’t watch it, don’t read it.

He kinda out ranks me in the church and he would be exactly the kind of person to know.

When the head exorcists of Rome condemns something you would be foolish to ignore. as mentioned above.

Anyway like I was saying does the church take notice of these things? Sure sometimes. Mostly its not worth their time.

My point was they do, not often but Rome does.

Jesus outranks him. Jesus said hell will not prevail against our church.

Head exorcist says smoke of Satan has entered the Church. Schismatic traditionalists cite same exorcists to decry Vatican II.

Thus, I conclude. Exorcist =/= reliable source.

The term magic itself is really just so dubious and subject to unavoidable relativism that it’s impossible to make sweeping statements about it.

Stage illusions are called magic.
Brand names contain the word magic.
Marketing pitches use the word to describe conveniences of infomercial products.

As far as fantasy is concerned, even the system is a ridiculous contrast of our own. The blog defines magic in the way the church defines the occult. There’s no arguing that such ‘magic’ is simply superstitious scams playing with demonic forces.

On the other hand, put yourself in your typical fantasy realm and magic becomes the thing I use to blast you out the window or blow up your classroom because you and your delinquent friends aren’t paying attention dagnabbit. BP

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