Is TV to blame?

Anyone else read Fr. Frank Poncelet’s books Television: Prelude to Chaos or Airwaves from Hell or hear about “Our Lady’s Apostolate for No TV” that this priest started?

My wife and I read his very hard-hitting books during Lent while giving up TV. In short, Fr. Poncelet, an airline pilot who became a priest later in life, says, “TV is the greatest cause of immorality, abortion mentality, and soul destruction.” EEG data on how your brain’s critical-thinking left hemisphere shuts down after 30 seconds of watching TV was fascinating.

Fr. Poncelet’s books made us do further research. Actually, there is a whole anti-TV movement out there as evidenced by www.turnoffyourtv.com, for example.

While I would disagree that TV in and of itself is totally intrinsically evil, I would agree that 99% of broadcast TV is sinful to watch nowadays based on the statistics of how often immoral scenes occur every few minutes and how we are not to put ourselves in occasions of sin.

In any event, I do agree 100% with Fr. Poncelet that it is absolutely terrible that the “average” Catholic over a lifetime spends 7 years in front of the TV while on 3/4 of a year in Church! Fittingly, Fr. Poncelet sums it all up with “TV’s 23rd Psalm”:

“The TV is my shepherd, I shall not want. It makes me to lie down on the sofa. It leads me away from the Faith. It destroys my soul. It leads me to the path of sex and violence for the advertiser’s sake. Yea, though I walk in the shadow of Christian responsibilities there will be no interruption, for the TV is with me. It’s cable and remote control, they comfort me. It prepares a commercial for me in the prescence of my worldliness. It anoints my head with humanism and consumerism; My coveting runneth over. Surely laziness and ignorance shal follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell in the house watching TV forever.”

In sum, Fr. Poncelet argues that TV is the cause of nearly all our present-day evils. Do you agree? I look forward especially to any comments from others who have read his books and/or researched this topic.

Thanks and God bless,
John

No, I don’t agree that it is the CAUSE. I believe it to be responsible for the proliferation, celebration, and “normalization” of present-day-evils, but not the cause.

When I reflect on the role that TV played in my childhood, I would say that it attempted, in part, to support morality and the understanding of traditional family life. It could be quite uplifting, with programs intended to portray situations the typical American parent might face. It could bring a family together to watch Bishop Sheen speak on matters of faith and religion. It could instill a love of music in children with programs that featured artists like Barbra Striesand, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, etc.

But that was back when standards were imposed on broadcasters.

Today, I continue to be shocked and appalled every time I turn on the TV. Even the most “innocent” programs or networks seem to be committed to scandalizing the American public. On any given day at any time of day, small children can tune into basic cable (which almost everyone has, if they want to actually see the picture on the screen) and see programs about bisexuals dating eachother, young male models posing for S & M gay porn magazines, unbelievably filthy language and boobs, boobs, boobs, EVERYWHERE.

I believe that TV, and news especially, picks up on fringe perversions, trendy movements, celebrity immorality, political and activist agendas and gives them an inordinate amount of attention and air time. In this way, it bludgeons the public with what it considers newsworthy and “hip”. For those who are impressionable enough to soak it up, it can be hazardous to the soul.

Stop blaming an inanimate object for our problems. Even today tv is used for much good. It brings the whole globe closer together.

I watch EWTN hours upon hours, record the great teaching shows and watch them time and again. The rest of TV is a lot of bread and circuses. On the other hand, MSM = fool control. Don’t waste your time.

how do you know they’re not watching EWTN?

seriously, read G. K. Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy” if you haven’t already. he wrote about how catholicism is the only antidote to the modern world and all its ills.

these problems haven’t changed in the 80 or so years since he published it. and that was long before television was invented.

I hope he doesn’t give tv interviews then:rolleyes:

Considering that adultery, thievery, fornication and overall immorality, were around since the dawn of time–when no tv’s were around–I don’t think they are the cause. God handed Moses the 10 Commandments, long before technology came into play.:wink: I will say though, that tv causes us to sort of become passive, and not participatory, in our actions. Like sponges, we soak up a lot of ‘gunk’ from what the tv is spilling out…and that can be infectious to our minds, and eventually our souls. I would like to give up tv for Lent–is it hard to do? I don’t watch a ton of it, maybe an hour or so per night.

TV is the strongest influence in most lives. When it began, there was a certain amount of decorum. TV Stations had a Standards and Practices Department. In the 1960s, a representitive of this department would appear on TV and assure everyone that the programming was being watched so that it would be suitable for the entire family.

As the 1960s faded into the 1970s, TV began to deal with subjects that were taboo in the 1950s and 1960s. By the 80s, however, one could watch Sue Ellen drinking straight from the bottle while driving on Dallas. Cable appeared, supposedly, to offer more choices. It made sure to offer porn. As time passed, families were portrayed as increasingly dysfunctional, sexual innuendo was added, and even authority figures like police officers were portrayed in a more sexualized light. This reached a low point on NYPD Blue in the 90s, when it became OK to use profanity and to show partial nudity.

The internet has propelled porn into an always on addiction, just like TV. It is time for Catholics to realize that what was once a welcomed guest in our homes is a dirty, perverted and oversexed monster. Turn it off but not before complaining. Tell the advertisers that shows like Dexter which portray a lovable serial killer are perverse.

God bless,
Ed

As the local TV station is the source of our family income, and has been for decades (dh is a news anchor) I am VERY touchy on this subject. To paraphrase Edward R. Murrow, “TV is a box with lights and wires”; it is how it is used that makes the difference.

Take it from one who knows; the ONLY way to effect change is by supporting good, wholesome programming and to TURN THE CHANNEL from the garbage

I am so tired of the simplistic, knee-jerk “turn off your TV types.” I used to just about blow my top each May when our girls were in Catholic school; one local busybody Catholic school mother orchestrated a “turn off your TV” campaign every year…during the big May ratings period. This can have a chilling effect on local advertising rates the rest of the year and result in job losses, as advertising is the lifeblood of the local stations (national networks, too.) Of course, the Catholic school and school system were MOST eager for positive coverage the rest of the year when they weren’t trying to ruin my husband’s livelihood! Infuriating! Additionally, we are in a hurricane-prone area; I can assure you that it is NOT the newspapers that people turn to in times of disaster, of which we have had several recently.

Parents - monitor your children’s TV viewing, and your own, as well. Don’t watch the trash and then complain that it’s on!

There, I’m done with my rant. :slight_smile:

The only way to effect change is to tell advertisers who sponsor immorality that we object to their susidizing it. For years, creatives demanded the 'right" to “push the envelope.” Executives and program planners were meeting in boardrooms and planning the next immoral assault on the population. Turn it off is only part of the answer. People of good conscience need to accurately and politely point out that TV was not handed over the the perverts sometime in the mid-80s. And movies, arguing for hours with censors about leaving in a profane word or bit of nudity in. That was what they were fighting for.

When the Catholic Legion of Decency exited from the movies in the late 1960s, we soon had Rosemary’s Baby (a woman seduced by the devil), Midnight Cowboy (about a male prostitute), and the list goes on. Their “high art” became pure pornography.

This is definitely the right place to talk about this.

God bless,
Ed

I won’t contact advertisers or the FCC. I like tv just the way it is. Options.

For Catholics, here is what the Church was doing and why:

ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P12MIRAN.HTM

God bless,
Ed

We’ve done it. It’s harder on the kids than on me. We sometimes make an exception for a family movie on a Sunday afternoon, but definately nothing during the week. My kids don’t watch TV 24 hours on a weekend anyway. It helps for me to have some plans or ideas of alternate activities–a walk, board game, etc. We are doing it again this year–join us!! :smiley:

This is very, very true. However, I hate that we can’t watch a sporting event during the afternoon without ‘ads’ for all the upcoming trash shows on the TV that evening. It makes me crazy that on national news the female anchors all seem to wear shirts that show cleavage.

So we turn on the TV for the 1 hour of local news, a few sports events, a very few programs for the kids, and some EWTN. We will watch dvd movies as a family.

But for the past few years we’ve turned off the TV during Lent. Perhaps you can explain to the school principal and the busy-body mother what you explained to us. maybe you or your dh could put together a program teaching the kids how to use media better–how to choose what to watch, how to influence advertisers (rather than having them influence us). I bet they’d love the advertising! LOL

. . . been TV-free for 14 years now.

It’s really not as hard to give up as most folks think.:slight_smile:

Been there, done all that…my husband spends a good deal of time in the schools, both parochial and public. Our girls are now well past school-age (26 and 23) and I no longer have to listen to the anti-TV rants, if they are still going on. (Ironically, this is Catholic Schools Week upcoming, and you can bet that the Catholic Schools Office has been pushing for coverage!)

Excellent suggestions, though. (I always joked that I planned a one-woman picket line in front of the busybody’s husband’s place of employment at some crucial time!)

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