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Movies, Television, Radio (& Other Technology)

It is common in our day for the average home to have a television as the center point of attraction, in addition to radio, computer, Internet, and other technology, which otherwise consumes a large amount of family time. See below for the Catholic Church's past teaching on the subject.


Church Teaching:

  • "Now all may easily discern that the more wonderful the increase of the technique of the cinema, the more dangerous it has become to the hindrance of morals, to religion and to social intercourse itself" Encyclical On Motion Pictures by Pope Pius XI, 1936
  • "Everyone will agree that recreation of body and soul, in the various forms in which this age has made it
    available, is a necessity to those who are wearied by the business and troubles of life, but it must be consonant with the dignity of man and the innocence of morals, and its object must be to excite and stir leisure hours to amusements which injure the principles of morality, dignity and honour, and which give occasion for sin, especially to the young, are surely running a grave risk of impairing their greatness and prestige" Encyclical On Motion Pictures by Pope Pius XI, 1936
  • "All men know how much harm is done by bad films; they sing the praises of lust and desire, and at the same time provide occasions of sin; they seduce the young from the right path; they present life in a false light; they obscure and weaken the wise counsels of attaining perfection; they destroy pure love, the sanctity of matrimony and the intimate needs of family life. They seek moreover to inculcate prejudiced and false opinions among individuals, classes of society and the different nations and peoples" Encyclical On Motion Pictures by Pope Pius XI, 1936
  • "The films are exhibited to spectators who are sitting in darkened theatres, and whose mental faculties and
    spiritual forces are for the most part dormant. We do not have to go far to find these theatres; they are near our houses, our churches and our schools, so that the influence they exercise and the power they wield over our daily life is very great" Encyclical On Motion Pictures by Pope Pius XI, 1936
  • "But alas! this power, in the present state of affairs, is too often used for harm. Wherefore when we consider the ruin caused among youths and children, whose innocence and chastity is endangered in these theatres, We remember that severe word spoken against the corrupters of youth by Jesus Christ: "But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matth. xviii. 6-7)." Encyclical On Motion Pictures by Pope Pius XI, 1936
  • "We therefore give Our solemn admonition to all the Bishops of the Catholic world, in whose nations cinema films are produced, and to you above all, Venerable Brethren, to bring your fatherly influence to bear on the faithful in Christ who take any part in the industry of this art. Let them seriously consider their private duty, and the obligation by which they are bound as sons of the Church, to strive with all their strength that the pictures which they produce, or in the production of which they assist, shall be in conformity with the best principles and with right standards. There are surely many Catholics among the executives, directors, authors and actors who
    take part in this business; it is much to be regretted that their actions do not always conform to their faith
    and their principles. Wherefore it is the duty of the Bishops to admonish such people to make their profession accord with the conscience of good men and followers of Jesus Christ" Encyclical On Motion Pictures by Pope Pius XI, 1936
  • "First the various Bishops should follow the example of the Catholics in the United States of America, and obtain from the faithful in Christ entrusted to them a yearly promise never to frequent such cinema entertainments as offend the truth and principles of Christian doctrine. This pledge and promise can best be obtained in the churches and schools, with the active co-operation of the fathers and mothers of families, who are bound by a peculiar duty in this cause, and of the Catholic Press which can illustrate the importance and value of this sacred promise" Encyclical On Motion Pictures by Pope Pius XI, 1936
  • "The first of these is that there are some countries in which Christian principles and the Catholic religion are
    not given their proper place. Great numbers of the citizens, especially from the ranks of the uneducated, are easily won over by widely published errors, particularly since these are often colored with the appearances of truth. The seductive allurements of vice, which tend to corrupt minds through all sorts of publications, motion pictures, and television performances, are a special menace to unsuspecting young people" Encyclical On Prayers for the Persecuted Church by Pope Pius XII, 1958
  • "Flight and alert vigilance, by which we carefully avoid the occasions of sin, have always been considered by holy men and women as the most effective method of combat in this matter; today however it does not seem that everybody holds the same opinion. Some indeed claim that all Christians, and the clergy in particular, should not be "separated from the world" as in the past, but should be "close to the world;" therefore they should "take the risk" and put their chastity to the test in order to show whether or not they have the strength to resist; therefore, they say, let young clerics see everything so that they may accustom themselves to gaze at everything with equanimity, and thus render themselves immune to all temptations. For this reason they readily grant young
    clerics the liberty to turn their eyes in any direction without the slightest concern for modesty; they may
    attend motion pictures, even those forbidden by ecclesiastical censorship; they may peruse even obscene periodicals; they may read novels which are listed in the Index of forbidden books or prohibited by the Natural Law. All this they allow because today the multitudes are fed by this kind of amusement and publication and because those who are minded to help them should understand their way of thinking and feeling. But it is easily seen that this method of educating and training the clergy to acquire the sanctity proper to their calling is wrong and harmful. For "he that loveth danger shall perish in it;"[Eccli., 111, 27] most appropriate in this connection is the admonition of Augustine: "Do not say that you have a chaste mind if your eyes are unchaste, because an unchaste eye betrays an unchaste heart." Encyclical On Consecrated Virginity by Pope Pius XII, 1954
  • "It is unquestionably necessary, then, to repudiate the behavior of those who, from excessive indulgence, tolerate films which, for all their technical excellence, offend right morals, or which, though they seem on the surface to conform to the principles of morality, contain something contrary to Catholic belief." Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "Repeating the timely instructions that Our Predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, gave in his Encyclical Vigilanti cura, We earnestly desire that Christians be not only carefully warned on this subject as often as possible, but that they personally fulfill the grave obligation of acquainting themselves with and faithfully obeying the decisions handed down by ecclesiastical authorities on matters concerning motion pictures. Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "We must also warn vigorously against the display of commercial posters which ensnare or give scandal even though, as sometimes happens, the films which they publicize are irreproachable. "Who can estimate the harm such advertisements have done to souls, especially of the young, the number of base and impure feelings they have aroused, the extent to which they have contributed to the corruption of public morals, with serious prejudice to the well-being of the state itself?" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "For distribution cannot, in any sense, be regarded as a mere technical function of business since films, as We have often stated, are not simply articles for sale, but also -- and this is far more important -- food for the mind and, as it were, a means of spiritual and moral training for the public. As a result, those who release and those who distribute films share to the same degree the praise or blame for the good or evil that results from their showing" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "We therefore, with a father's interest, admonish Catholic directors and producers not to permit films to be made which are opposed to the faith or Christian morals. But if -- which God forbid -- this should happen, it is the duty of the bishops to admonish them and, if necessary, to impose appropriate sanctions" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "To conclude these instructions on motion pictures, We urge government officials not to lend support, on any account, to the production or distribution of films of low caliber, but to lay down suitable regulations to help provide decent, commendable motion pictures (particularly when they are intended for youth). Since such large sums are being spent on public education, public authorities should also direct their attention to giving reasonable assistance in this matter, which is essentially a part of education" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "Those who listen to the radio are duty bound to discriminate carefully and intelligently among the various programs, which should not be allowed to enter the house pell-mell, but should be given the same thoughtful and prudent invitation that you would extend to a friend. It would be wrong to admit acquaintances indiscriminately into your house. So too, the radio programs you admit should be such as encourage truth and goodness and will not distract members of the family from the fulfillment of their duties to individuals or society. They should, rather, give them strength to carry out these obligations properly, and, in the case of children and youths, they should work no harm, but assist and further the sound training being given by teachers and parents" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "Parish priests should warn their flocks that they are forbidden by divine law to listen to radio programs which are dangerous to their faith or morals. They should exhort those engaged in the training of youth to be on the watch and to instill religious principles with regard to the use of radio sets installed in the home. Moreover, it is the duty of the bishops to call on the faithful to refrain from listening to stations which defend matters formally opposed to the Catholic faith" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "It is obvious, of course -- as We declared a few years ago -- that to watch a Mass on television is not the same as being actually present at the Divine sacrifice, as is required on Sundays and holy days. 150. However, religious ceremonies seen on television contribute greatly to strengthening the faith and renewing the fervor of all those who, for some reason, cannot be actually present. Consequently, We are convinced that We may wholeheartedly commend programs of this kind" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "Everyone knows well that children can often avoid an epidemic so long as the disease is outside their own home, but cannot escape it when it lurks within the home itself. It is an evil thing to bring the sanctity of the home into danger. The Church, therefore, as her right and duty demand, has always striven with all her resources to prevent these sacred portals suffering violence, under any pretext, from evil television shows. It is one of television's advantages that it induces both old and young to remain at home; it can have, as a result, considerable influence in strengthening the bonds of loyalty and love within the family circle, provided the screen displays nothing which is contrary to those same virtues of loyalty and chaste love" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "In this matter, then, prudence and vigilant care are especially demanded of those who use television. Due
    moderation in its use, prudence in allowing children to watch it according to their different ages, a balanced
    judgment based on what has been seen before, and finally exclusion of children from what are in any sense improper spectacles: all these are duties which weigh heavily on parents and on all engaged in education" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957
  • "An awareness of their role as educators will often demand that parents give clear example to their offspring and also bid them deny themselves some programs they would like to see, even though this may entail some personal sacrifice. But who will regard the burden on parents as too heavy when the supreme good of the children is at stake?" Encyclical On The Communications Field: Motion Pictures, Radio, Television, by Pope Pius XII, 1957


Summary

It is clear that all Catholics must steer clear of today's technology where it may teach contrary to Catholic faith and morals in any way, or where it's use may be an occasion of sin. This obviously includes newer technology such as computer and Internet use. As we can see from past Church teaching above, Catholics who fail to take this seriously, especially with children under their charge, are committing a serious sin!

 

 

 

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