Is it a sin to watch certain TV shows?

I’m so torn on this issue…I don’t watch a whole lot of tv, but there are certain shows that I am hooked on - Grey’s Anatomy being one of them…obviously it has many themes that are contradictory to the Church, but I don’t watch the show FOR those themes, and watching those scenes don’t make me doubt my faith or feel any less strongly about the Church’s stance on premarital sex or homosexuality (for example). So, am I sinning by watching shows that condone or somewhat glorify immoral behavior even though it doesn’t cause ME to support or engage in the same immoral behavior?

On that same token, is it a sin to go to movies or watch tv shows or purchase music from singers/ actors who are outspoken about their support of abortion or homosexuality, etc. If so, that pretty much eliminates nearly all secular movies, shows and music…

I go back and forth on this issue a LOT…

It all depend on the individual. If it is a cause of sin for you, don’t watch it. For others it may simply be entertainment. Why must a tv show be considered sinful all the time instead of being taken on an individual basis?:doh2:

haha i might get attacked here but I watch Charmed…yeah I know its silly. Sort of a guilty pleasure. It does not make me want to go out and become a witch and fight demons…which is what they do. I just find it interesting and it helps remind me the difference between reality and fantasy.

I’m also a fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Narnia books by CS Lewis. All have fantasy in them. I don’t find them harmful as long as I know that. Besides the Narnia books have strong Christian themes.

Other tv shows I watch are the Golden Girls, Frasier, House, the History Channel specials, etc. I love Law and Order as well.

They are entertainment only…and if they do have sinful behavior it will just serve as a reminder to you to not perform those behaviors.

One tv show I can’t stomach anymore is Will and Grace…It isn’t even the homosexuality either that bothers me…it is the blatantly selfish behavior and immaturity of the characters. Makes me sick sometimes. They all act like children.

This is a question I have had myself, and I look forward to reading more responses.

Obviously, I don’t have an answer, except to say that as I grow in my faith, I don’t want to watch certain shows anymore that I once enjoyed (e.g. The Simpsons).

I found this to be true. Before I came back to the Church I used to enjoy watching just about anything except blood and gore horror movies. When I came back into full communion with the Church, it was as if someone had flipped some kind of switch. I was no longer interested in watching most of my “favorite” shows and I just stopped watching them. I don’t even miss them.

For some, certain shows could be near occasions of sin, for others they’re just entertainment, and for others they’re just pointless and not worth wasting time on. It’s an individual call I think. I’d just add that if you ever find yourself questioning the value or spiritual danger of a given program then your conscience is probably telling you to let go of that particular show - there’s something not suitable about it for you.


According to Jim = mortal sin

Since when? I’ll have to tune in and find out.

From the 1930s to 1970, the Catholic Church had an organization called The Legion of Decency. The Church recognized the power of the moving image to influence people. It rated movies and even condemned some of them.

I watched the gradual moral decline of movies and TV after The Legion ceased to exist. It was a slow poisoning. People accepted a little bit of sin, thinking “Oh, that’s not so bad,” then a little more and a little more. In the late 1990s, some writers and producers decided NYPD Blue needed profanity and partial nudity.

Grey’s Anatomy is Fornication Hospital.
Two and a Half Men is Two and a Half Perverts.
Brothers and Sisters is Dysfunctional Brothers and Sisters.
And let’s not forget Dexter, that lovable serial killer next door. Oh yeah, just sit your kids down in front of the tube for that.

None of this may matter to non-Christians reading this, but to Christians, it should matter. What you put into your head can have an influence.

And so-called “shock jocks” on the radio? Or so-called comedians like George Carlin saying F every 10 seconds? Think about it.

The so-called Popular Media is filled with sex and profanity. I recommend staying away from most of it.

And speaking for myself, I no longer support any celebrity that is for anything that goes against Church teaching. No, I don’t hate these people. I just realize that they’ve allowed themselves to get involved with causes I don’t agree with.

No one is perfect. God knows, I’m not, but we need to walk toward Christ, not away from Him. The World is constantly distracting us from this ideal.

God bless.

I haven’t found any tv show to be sinful for me so don’t take it away. If it is for you, don’t watch it.

I do hope that those who read my above post about According To Jim realize that I was just kidding about it being a mortal sin.

For those who don’t know,* According To Jim* is usual cannon-fodder for those who want to poke fun at televsion, apparently because it is a mediocre sitcom that somehow survives each and every year since its inception.

Some want government control of what we watch. Sounds like Chavez in reverse. The best control is the individual. Otherwise someone could consider an artwork like the creation story in the Sistine Chapel offensive and banned. It may be hard to put up with but censorship is just wrong in either direction.

As Catholics, we need to properly consider the options placed before us. We need to avoid those things that we know are damaging to us, intellectually and spiritually.

Television has changed for the worse and it’s not getting better. Dexter, A TV show about a serial killer who works in a police crime lab. It has profanity, fornication and murder, graphic murder. We need to call these things what they are: immorality tales. Stories that show a very dark side of life, and that teach an immoral lesson.

Even as adults, we need to realize we are not immune to “just stories.” Today, there are movies that even movie reviewers call “violence porn.” Clearly telling us that any enjoyment that might be derived is for those who need increasingly graphic or continuous violence to satisfy what has become, in truth, a dark desire. We have been gradually led down this path, slowly accepting a little more and a little more, like a drug addict. The addiction needs to stop. A great artist and writer recently said, “If we get used to this we could get used to almost anything. I’m not willing to go down that road.”

Don’t go down that road. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Find alternatives for yourself. Things that are good and worthwhile. Don’t just accept what’s in front of you because it’s easier to flip through the channels than to think about what should be. What should be is alive and good and uplifting, both for the mind and spirit.

Ignore the darkness. It only brings out the worst in people.

God bless,

A poll was taken on this back in 2005. It would be interesting to see if the opinions have changed much given the different programming lineups since then.

I can’t watch the "hospital " shows anymore . I thought they were just entertainment . Until , I found myself in the ER . Every time someone left my room I had this sneaking suspicion that they were ’ flirting ’ in the broom closet.

I don’t watch alot of tv anyhow but I will resist anyone’s efforts to take away my options on high and mighty beliefs that a simple tv show causes everyone to sin. It may be a source of sin for one but not for another. Therefore leave it alone. If you find it is a source for you flip it off and watch the Disney channel.

How will you resist?


Things don’t always fall neatly into two categories: sins vs. non-sins.

C. S. Lewis, through Screwtape, said that the Devil has not been able to come up with one pleasure yet. He might try to pass off expensive and time-wasting tedium as pleasures, but real pleasures come from God. All the Devil can do is to corrupt them, by getting us to take them at times, or degrees, or in ways God has forbidden.

Example: There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the taste of good food. That’s a pleasure God provides. But to eat too much (degree and times) becomes the sin of gluttony.

Maybe-ism is not for Catholics. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is one guide, the Bible itself is another. We need to realize that the media is not our friend. That, for the most part, it portrays dysfunctional and sinful behavior as normal and even fun. Our eyes and ears need to be on the uplifting, the good and the non-sinful.

God bless,

By voting against anyone from either the right or the left who wants to restrict what we watch. This is a free country and should remain so. It is no more correct to control the media from the religious right than it is from the socialist left. The only ones who should have the finalsay in what to watch is the individual. Not the government.

The country is made up of various beliefs. The government of the people, for the people and by the people should be accessible for a redress of grievances. The FCC has levied fines when appropriate. Laws are passed that regulate conduct and behavior that are deemed not in the common good. The People decide what the common good is.

As Pope Benedict stated during his visit to the US regarding different belief systems, all should share in seeking the truth. This truth, for Catholics, is not derived from an experiment or by any expert, but is rooted in natural law and Christian faith. It is not imposed upon others but freely given. I do not belong to a left or right political group or ideological system. However, at some point, common sense and common decency will illuminate those images and words that cross the line.

Paris Hilton, for example, is a prostitute. No rephrasing or relabeling of what she does will change that. For this to become commonly accepted “entertainment” is worth fighting against by all who believe in the dignity of the human person. In the end, it will be by the actions of individuals moved by the Holy Spirit of God and not some group of middlemen. It is time to speak up for human dignity.

God bless,

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