TV Shows

Is it a sin to watch TV shows that have any of the following: witches, wizards, “soul eating”, sex, excessive violence, occult, immorality, dirty jokes, etc?

With some shows, you have to wonder who they are glorifying…I have never heard of “soul eating”, but that doesn’t sound like anything God would want us to watch.

These days you won’t find anything on TV without those things and you would be stuck watching the cartoon network and even some of those are questionable!:smiley: No, I think it has more to do with how it affects you. If you can watch those things and not let those shows shape you and make you try to go out and imitate it, then it’s okay. :slight_smile:

Cartoon Network is not child appropriate anymore if you want kids stuff go to Boomerang.

For the magic stuff, I think it depends on both the viewer’s maturity level and the way it’s used in the narrative. Though not a Christian show by any means, the anime Soul Eater didn’t bother me because magic is universally evil, “eating” human souls was considered an almost unforgivably evil act, and besides, I understand that these things (insofar as they even exist) are wrong. How much it resembles “real” magic is also a factor, IMO.

Sex- I’d say it depends on a lot of stuff… intent, how graphic it is, and whether it could lead you to lust. I’d avoid it if possible.

Excessive violence- I wouldn’t watch a lot of it, but again, it depends on whether it really is excessive and whether it has negative effects on you. Not all violence is “excessive”. Not all will cause you harm- but watching it nonstop is probably pretty bad for you.

Dirty Jokes- I’d say no, if only because they’re so ubiquitous. If it leads you to sin (say, if you start telling dirty jokes in real life), that’s bad and you shouldn’t be watching.

Immorality- No. It’s almost impossible and dreadfully boring to watch a show full of perfect people. If immorality is shown in a positive light, that’s a different matter, and you need to be careful about it.

Ultimately it’s going to come down to your own personal limits and how the shows affect you. Other than avoiding pornography and a few other terribly bad, usually restricted items, there seem to be no hard and fast rules. I’d just encourage you not to watch anything that doesn’t improve either your mind or your soul in some way.

I would disagree with that remark, but most of the stuff on Cartoon Network isn’t worth watching anyway. Nickelodeon has all the good shows :stuck_out_tongue:

Most are not worth watching. They contain dirty “Language,” “Sexual Situations,” “Nudity or Brief Nudity.”

catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=17124

Just do a wiki search for Moloch. In the 1950s and 1960s, TV reflected our values, today it is a pimp and prostitute, with the majority of the characters falling under the category: the Dysfunctionals.

It has gone from being a welcome guest in our home to dirty, dirty jokes and actors engaging in soft porn.

Peace,
Ed

If it leads you away from your faith, then yes. That’s something only you, God and your Confessor can say.

I would not bother with TV shows like that. What would you get from them.

No.

wizards,

No.

“soul eating”,

No.

sex,

Yes because pornography is sinful.

excessive violence,

Yes.

occult,

No.

immorality,

No.

dirty jokes, etc?

Probably, if it demeans human sexuality.

Dear MyPseudonym,

Cordial greetings and a very good day.

First, thankyou for your question, which shows that you are discerning and rightly concerned regarding the many distracting and demoralizing influences of modern television programmes. The urgent need of the hour is for contemporary Catholics (especially the youth) to recover the moral sensitivity of former generations of the faithful. This will ensure that any morally and culturally unhealthy content will immediately show up on their radar and be rejected before it has opportunity to befoul their soul.

Incontrovertably, dear friend, modern television entertainment is awash with mindless gratuitous violence, liberal sprinklings of profanity and shamefully immoral material, all of which is the very antithesis of our most holy religion and the godly pursuit of holiness which it enjoins. Watching media containing morally and culturally unhealthy content is hardly conducive to one’s personal sanctity and to cultivating a more intimate communion with Jesus Christ. Moreover, given our fallen estate and our propensity to sin, can we really be so certain that we will escape spiritually unscathed by our exposure to unwholesome and debased media? As St. Paul says, “Let no man deceive you: evil communications corrupt good manners” (I Cor. 15: 33) and, by perfectly legitimate extention, that applies equally to bad films/tv shows, bad literature, bad music and bad computer games etc. Thus let us not delude ourselves, watching films/tv containing mind polluting material will negatively impact us, at length, by poisoning our minds and demoralizing our lives. Not without reason, therefore, does St. James exhort us to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world” and its many corrupting influences (see St. Jam. 1: 27). Living up to the arduous demands of our most holy faith is a jolly difficult enough task as it is without us making it even more difficult by our viewing unwholesome media which is apt to spot and blemish the soul. Why should we risk becoming densensitized to the exceeding sinfulness of sin by our unwise viewing choices, choices which could, moreover, be a very real inducement to sin? Media of all kinds today is saturated with malicious violence, which all too easily engenders a climate in which uncontrolled anger is seen as acceptable and even glorified. Again, the same media is also permeated with verbal and visual images that only serve to defile the mind and lure men to lust, often resulting in fornication and other vile sins.

Our Church, dear friend, expects the faithful to use their prudential judgment in this matter of TV and film viewing, but this, of course, pre-supposes that a man has a properly-formed conscience and that his moral sensibilities have not been dulled or blunted. If he has exposed himself to media containing an immoderate amount of violence and immorality, then he is very likely to make some catastrophic errors of prudentialjudgment. In short, he will have become polluted by the corruption of the world and will therefore have a radically defective conscience that can no longer discern between what is wholesome and unwholesome and what is acceptable and unacceptable for those who profess godliness. It will be quite evident that he has not heeded St. Paul’s counsel in Phillipians: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (4: 8, added emphasis mine). Needless to say, this would forbid the viewing of culturally unhealthy films and TV programmes containing debasing elements which sadly leave a blot upon the conscience and a stain upon the character, if not immediately then certainly in the long run.

We need, dear friend, to be jolly vigilant today, given the prevalent moral and cultural deterioration in which our lot is cast. Some will respond by playing the ‘scrupulosity’ card, but I would contend that a healthy scrupulosity is indispensable if we are to use our powers of discernment at all and effectively employ our prudential judgment.

God bless and may you be guided to discern the truth in this matter and then act accordingly. Remember, all of the faithful are called to the pursuit of holiness without exception, it is not something for a few ultra spiritual types or Puritan prudes (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, paras. 2013-15). Our film and television choices are bound up with the much broader issue of our personal sanctity and separation from the world, something that is usually overlooked by many contemporary Catholics who have adopted, I am sorry to say, a hand in hand with the world type of religious practice that makes little demand upon them.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait

Pax

If Jesus was sitting next to you…and he is…would you feel comfortable in watching with him?

This is a good test assuming your faith and intellect are well formed.

Dear edwest,

Cordial greetings and a very good day day. Thankyou for that - jolly well said.

You are quite right, dear brother, the films and television programmes of the 50’s and 60’s mostly mirrored the views of society, which itself, whilst not idyllic, was still permeated by Christian values and morality. Whist we certainly need to be cautious of looking back to that age with rose-tinted spectacles (cf. Ecclesiates 7: 10), it would also be equally foolish to be in denial respecting the unprecedented degeneracy in morals that is so evident today. Thus whilst not unwisely crying up the goodness of former times, perhaps we need to urgently “…ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein” (Jer. 6: 16). Owing to the pervasive influence of the Christian consciousness, at least the film makers of the time walked, at least to some extent, in “the good way” and generally did not transgress the boudaries of good taste and decency. That, alas, is no longer the case because there has been, especially since the permissive revolution, a diminuition in the Christian consciousness with a consequent corsening of manners and a dreadful increase in vice and violence.

What I think does admit of no doubt, dear brother, is that the vast majority of films and television from those decades were, generally speaking, wholesome and even reinforced the moral virtues. The same cannot be said today where it seems that film makers are evermore determined to push the envelope further so as to keep pace with the increasingly depraved tastes of our age. However, what is deeply saddening is that many contemporary Catholics (even those who are otherwise orthodox) have become caught up with the secular drift of our times and have embraced a sort of ‘Catholicism Lite’, which allows them to cling on to *unwholesome worldly pleasures and pastimes. There has also been a tragic loss of the consensus Catholicus *, which has resulted in Catholics not developing a properly formed conscience, which in turn has resulted in some jolly catastrophic errors of prudential judgment, including film and television choices. This is a monumental tragedy, for instead of filling their minds with images and desires that will elevate their thoughts up towards more nobler things (cf. Phillip. 4: 8), they have chosen rather to fill them with the debased elements of culturally and morally unhealthy media. Former generations of Catholics, living in more God-fearing times, would not have succumbed so easily to the godless world, but would have manfully resisted it.
However, as if this was not bad enough, those who have adopted a worldly conformity have a tendency also to mislead others by their vindication of culturally and morally unhealthy media. Thus they become blind leaders of the blind and often cause others to stummble by their unspiritual thinking.

Our Church, dear friend, encourages the faithful to cultivate a properly formed and enlightened conscience in relation to the mass media, for she realizes that they will be wont to make grave errors of prudential judgment without it:

“The means of social communicication (especially the mass media) can give rise to a certain passivity among users, making them less than vigilant consumers of what is said and shown. Users should practice moderation and discipline in their approach to the mass media. * They will want to form enlightened and correct consciences the more easily to resist unwholesome influences*” (CCC, para. 2496, added emphasis mine).

God bless and thankyou for that link. Television used to be termed the ‘Devil’s Tabernacle’, a phrase that is even more relevant than ever!

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait

Pax

Dear Portrait,

Thank you for making the issue crystal clear. I assure you that, while not perfect, there was a time when the appropriate limits our Catholic teachers lovingly taught us were observed. I knew that God knew my thoughts and desires. Even as a boy I could sense it in most of my neighbors. And we had lives where faith and fun were intertwined as we grew up. The media was called a ‘welcome guest in our homes.’ It was clean and wholesome, and while some of it did not interest me, it was devoid of the foul language, partial or brief nudity and sexual situations we see today, not just on TV but also in computer games and other entertainment.

We were taught to avoid the ‘bad kids,’ and were told that if we did associate with them, if they were ever caught with stolen property or anything illegal, the police would have reason to believe we were involved. We were not to bother them, to be polite towards them but not imitate them.

While we honored our mothers and fathers, we also brought our friends home, and they had every right to point out any problems they saw. To guide and warn us that this or that person’s behavior could lead to bad consequences and that we should stay away. So we chose our friends wisely, guided by the wisdom given to us.

We knew about bad language but it was restrained or confined to certain places, and the same for certain immoral activities. Magazines like Playboy were called dirty since they were dirty morally. It did not matter that each issue wrapped itself in a veneer of serious articles, fashions for men, and ads for fine drinks, tobacco and and the cars and other trappings that marked a ‘sophisticated’ ‘modern’ man.

Again, God blended into our daily lives seemlessly, and the media reflected our values. However, those that did not could find only private outlets for the way they wanted to behave and had to make an effort to get their hands on immoral media. While constantly yelling freedom, what they loved began to appear in our neighborhoods with increasing frequency. They lived their ‘alternate lifestyles’ more and more as the years passed. Since we were taught to welcome the stranger, and since they knew they could not go from then till now overnight, they very gradually poisoned us amid our protests. They wanted everything they wanted to be legal, they wanted to silence our protests, by force of law if necessary. What they wanted then was slowly, gradually presented to us as ‘freedom.’ A false, deadly freedom. No matter how many times we said no, they accused us of being backwards, prudes and squares. “All you do is listen to your Pope. Why don’t you think for yourself?” Translation: “Don’t listen to your Pope, listen to us. We have another, better way.” And what was that way?

Live with and have sex with your girlfriend(s).

Smoke dope and use other illegal drugs. We were told they were harmless and/or would ‘expand our minds.’

Marriage meant nothing.

Profanity was OK.

Dirty magazines were good.

What was private intimacy between a man and woman was made public and they called it good.

Any form of sexual activity was acceptable.

Decency, modesty, good taste, restraint in speech and behavior? Unacceptable. All behaviors were your “thing.” And no one had any reason to be critical of you “doing your own thing.” Those that did received a strong dose of anger and rebukes. That we were trying to ‘oppress’ them while defending all the things that make civilized people civil and that aid in our walk with God and holiness, while also maintaining a healthy social order.

Like small cracks appearing in a dam, we were concerned but we also acted respectfully, knowing that good existed with bad, but they sought every means they could to enlarge those cracks until the poison began gushing out. As the years passed, they worked unceasingly to create a perverse media that became more and more immoral. At one time, we thought such perverse living and media would be contained. Not so. Their tireless efforts continued. The ultimate goal, to bring out every immoral media and activity and make it a part of our daily lives.

The result was that some of us fell, and then others. In the background, they were also sowing the seeds of discontent within the family and created an atmosphere of fear, mistrust and imaginations. Destroying the family would remove the voices of the parents for the children. Once broken, the children and adults who had committed themselves would be scarred, but the media began to reinforce the idea and call it good. Not only does sin wound us but confusing the true meaning of the primary constitutive element of all societies made us search for ‘happiness’ or some peace or solace in our lives. The media was there to distract us and eventually teach us, that the abnormal was normal. That commitment was uncertain, and only seeking out pleasure remained.

“Among these many paths, the family is the first and the most important. It is a path common to all, yet one which is particular, unique and unrepeatable, just as every individual is unrepeatable; it is a path from which man cannot withdraw. Indeed, a person normally comes into the world within a family, and can be said to owe to the family the very fact of his existing as an individual.” Pope John Paul II

Most TV shows used to be about clean, fun, wholesome entertainment, but today, they have been deformed - refashioned into the image and likeness of those who rejected the truth, and worse yet, declared normative, and that includes computer games and even some cartoons.

But do not lose hope. A revival of Catholic arts and letters is gradually occurring, and these include all the elements that are required, which includes decency, modesty, civility and virtue, and seek to lift us toward the good, holy and right.

Thank you, again.

Peace,
Ed

Dear Porknpie,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. A hearty Amen to your remarks above.

It is, dear friend, fashionable among some contemporary Catholics to argue against this approach as if it were somehow thoroughly unsound and unreliable, but it is, as you quite correctly observe, a good criterion for evaluating whether a particular film or TV programme is culturally healthy and morally permissible. However, it does pre-suppose that a man has a well-formed conscience in the first place and has not given his best affections to the world, for in that case it is most unlikely that he will think of our Lord sitting next to him during his viewing of films/tv programmes.

God bless and thankyou for bringing this tried and trusted method of appraisal to our notice, dear friend. It is something that we should always ask ourselves when in any doubt and it will be wholly reliable provided we have a properly formed conscience and are in earnest regarding the pursuit of holiness.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait

Pax

The faithful have much more moral sensitivity in some respects than earlier generations.

Why should we risk becoming densensitized to the exceeding sinfulness of sin by our unwise viewing choices, choices which could, moreover, be a very real inducement to sin?

No one should watch anything that is an inducement to sin. For many persons, watching characters make immoral decisions is not an inducement to sin.

If he has exposed himself to media containing an immoderate amount of violence and immorality, then he is very likely to make some catastrophic errors of prudentialjudgment.

If “immorality” means pornography, then yes.

Only the insidious would argue that pornography and violence are acceptable. The issue is determining what specifically is problematic. For all your lengthy rants, they contain little actual substance.

**Portrait, in VERY succinct language, please explain how one can determine whether a given program is moral or immoral. That is, what criteria permit a sound judgment of an arbitrary show? **

A narrow and immoral society, yes.

it would also be equally foolish to be in denial respecting the unprecedented degeneracy in morals that is so evident today.

First, it is not unprecedented. Second, it is occurring in only certain realms of morality; the current generation is much more moral in many ways than the generation of the 1950s.

at least the film makers of the time walked, at least to some extent, in “the good way” and generally did not transgress the boudaries of good taste and decency.

That does not mean that the 1950s pressed up against the boundaries. It is possibly for something to be more complex than a show in the 50s and yet be permissible.

What I think does admit of no doubt, dear brother, is that the vast majority of films and television from those decades were, generally speaking, wholesome and even reinforced the moral virtues.

That does not mean that those films are the only permissible films.

However, what is deeply saddening is that many contemporary Catholics (even those who are otherwise orthodox) have become caught up with the secular drift of our times and have embraced a sort of ‘Catholicism Lite’, which allows them to cling on to *unwholesome *worldly pleasures and pastimes.

And who are these Catholics? How are they identified, specifically?

There has also been a tragic loss of the* consensus Catholicus *, which has resulted in Catholics not developing a properly formed conscience, which in turn has resulted in some jolly catastrophic errors of prudential judgment, including film and television choices.

On both extremes, yes.

**Portrait, in VERY succinct language, please explain how one can determine whether a given program is moral or immoral. That is, what criteria permit a sound judgment of an arbitrary show? **

I hope that you can understand how your posts are not useful. Obviously the Church condemns pornography and gratuitous violence. You are not adding anything new to the discussion or helping anyone, because you are so incredibly vague. Please be more specific. Mention specific movies, specific TV shows, what content specifically is problematic. Since you yourself have a well-formed conscience and the rest of us Catholics are simply victims of a godless modern age and are slaves to base instincts, enlighten us instead of simply burning a straw man that could stand in for anything.

:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

it was devoid of the foul language, partial or brief nudity and sexual situations we see today,

There are still plenty of shows that do not contain foul language or nudity. Hearing foul language, and using foul language, is not even intrinsically sinful.

not just on TV but also in computer games and other entertainment where truth, justice and heroism, along with cartoon-like fun, were presented.

They are presented today as well. They will simply not be spoon-fed to you. And works of art can still elevate us to God without telling us to worship Him. A beautiful landscape or a drama that highlights conflicts between moral systems can still bring us closer to God, even if He does not appear in them.

We were taught to avoid the ‘bad kids,’ and were told that if we did associate with them, if they were ever caught with stolen property or anything illegal, the police would have reason to believe we were involved. We were not to bother them, to be polite towards them but not imitate them.

Children are still taught this. :rolleyes:

LOL! If Jesus were a guest in my home in His physical body I wouldn’t turn the TV on at all! :smiley: Or if I did it would stay on the EWTN channel and I would hide the remote. ;):smiley:

Portrait is, as usual, 100% correct and backed up by the teaching of the church. I find the posts quite easy to understand and some of the most helpful to the discussion. A joy to read, actually. After every one of these discussions I sense a little more of the ‘world’ going away in my life. Thanks be to God, and the Holy Ghost working through the postings of Ed, Portrait, and some others! I’m still not to the point where I have disposed of my Black Sabbath albums, but…hopefully there is still time. :thumbsup:

F.A.O. Baelor

Dear Baelor,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. Thankyou for your response.

First, it is important, dear brother, that we distinguish between a zealous affirmation of an orthodox faith and a worldly conformity. It is sadly possible for a man to be a staunch ‘conservative’ in his religion and yet at the same time be very earth-bound in his thinking and manner of life. This, I fiirmly believe, is the problem that you have today and why the moral sensibilities of many modern Catholics are dulled and blunted. Therefore their moral sensitivity is woefully wanting and because they lack a properly formed conscience they are prone to make some jolly bad choices as regards their film/tv viewing. This could not have been said of Catholics living in the Fifties or even Sixties because the influence of the Christian consciousness was still a force to be recknoned with.

Unfortunately, immorality is portrayed in modern cinema as something that is very desirable and thrilling and it does this precisely because it is intent on making its appeal to man’s baser instincts and passions. Indeed, dear brother, this is why film makers are always seeking to push the envelope that little bit further. Fallen know only too well what resonates with fallen men and what will give good box-office returns. Films depicting scenes of immorality and graphic violence sadly sell with today’s cinema goers who have been desensitized by a constant stream of culturally and morally unwholesome media since the Sixties.

It would, dear brother, be a grave mistake to narrowly confine immorality to pornography only. Film sequences, for example, which show men and women engaging in acts of fornication and adultery, even when such scenes do not necessarily show explicit sexual activity, are still unwholesome and inappropriate for those who profess Christ’s holy religion. Then there is the whole issue of scantily dressed men and women, often engaging in passionate kissing and caressing. How does viewing such unwholesome content square with a biblical passage such as Phillipians 4: 8? Is such indecent material conducive to the earnest pursuit of holiness or is it rather calculated to incite unchaste and sensual thoughts?

If, dear brother, the violence in a film or television show is infrequent and occurs only when it is central to the plot then it does have a place, provided it is not graphic or brutal. Incidently, the actor British actor, Christopher Lee (of Hammer Horror fame) has often said that what makes a film frightening is not so much what the audience sees as what it does not see, or what is implied and left to the imagination. Today’s cinematic productions keep nothing back and are are just too visceral, prefering instead to concentrate attention on thrilling shoot outs and/or sexually suggestive scenes and dialogue. peppered with profanity. Thus a film to be morally permissible does not necessarily have to reinforce the moral virtues, though so much the better if it does, but it must not violate good taste and decency. It must not make us want to look away because we feel uncomfortable about what we are viewing.

The 1950’s, dear brother, was decidedly not an immoral decade, certainly not here in the UK where I reside. There was an absence of the moral degeneracy that is so prevalent both here and Stateside and life was generally characterised by moral rectitude, which is, alas, no longer the case. “Narrow”, yes certainly when judged by the standards of today’s libertarianism and amoral society, but more God-fearing and therefore more happier when judged from the perspective of an authentically Catholic worldview.

In what way do you believe, dear brother, that today’s generation is “much more moral in many ways than the generation of the 1950’s”? Forgive me, but I find that postion wholly unsustainable, given our sex saturated society and the consequent immorality which is so very rampant. Thankfully, 1950’s Britain or America did not have the representation of gross obscenities and violence on film, television or in literature, for the simple reason that that society then was still informed by a robust Christian consciousness. Please read edwest’s posts above as they are written by a chap who actually lived during those times and so can speak from first hand experience as to how things really were.

Of course not only films from the 50’s are morally permissible, but it is a fact that there has been a steady decline in films that are morally permissible since the sexual revolution of the Sixties. Would any man really stop to deny this?

There are conservative Catholics who subscibe to an orthodox faith but who have, nevertheless, adopted a hand in hand with the world approach to the practice of their religion. They appear to be more common in America, but less so in the UK, where liberalism tends to hold sway. From what I understand they are usually converts from Protestant Evangelicalism who seem to associate any talk of sanctity and separation from the godless world with being a joyless prigg or Puritanism.

Baelor, these discussions only underscore the importance of cultivating a properly formed conscience informed by Sacred Scripture and the moral sense of the faithful throughout the ages. It is only by doing this that we will be able to truly discern what media is morally permissible; strict discipline is certainly required of us and as devout Catholics we “will want to form enlightened and correct consciences the more easily to resist unwholesome influences” (CCC, para. 2496).

God bless and goodbye for now.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait

Pax:tiphat:

Dear Armour of Light,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. Thankyou for your very kind words which are so very encouraging to me.

God bless, dear friend, and may you be encouraged in your own pursuit of holiness as you strive daily to “make your calling and election certain”. May the rest of your life be pure and holy so that at the last you may come to His eternal joy, even the beatific vision of God in Christ.

Warmest good wishes,

Portrait

Pax:tiphat:

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