came to confession one day and accused himself of having serious
temptations against the angelical virtue, perhaps even of having
given in, by thoughts and, who knows, maybe in actions.
the priest sought the cause of such a misfortune: "So, do
you have television at home?" he asked. The child had to
admit it and that he did watch the cursed box, sometimes behind
his parents' back, sometimes with them, as a family, and that
was the cause of his temptations.
gave the unfortunate and sorrowful child the holy absolution,
but could he give it to his parents?
parents, are you CONSCIOUS of your terrible responsibility? Do
you realize that due to the weakness of accepting and of keeping
at home that tool, a source of corruption of minds and souls,
you are the cause of unsuspected damages to innocent souls? Because
of your cowardice, souls, tender and pure, are stained by the
infamous sin? These children will stand up at the last judgment
and will accuse you of having been the cause of their damnation....
Let us remember
the Saviour's grave words: "He that shall scandalise one
of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him
that a millstone should be hanged about his neck and that he should
be drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matt.XVIII,6).
Do you understand,
by this sad example, what is an occasion of sin? Our catechism
teaches us that we must avoid not only sin, but also the occasion
of sin and that it is as grievous to put ourselves (or to put
others) in the occasion of sin as it is to commit the sin itself,
when we know by experience that we will fall into that sin. (...).
Let us suppress
courageously all the occasions of sin for ourselves and for those
under our care. Let us determine at this time to get rid of the
dirty box. Give it back to your dealer and let there be no more
mention of it. Instead, you should re-establish the nice family
oratory, you should enthrone the statue of the Sacred Heart of
Jesus and that of Our Blessed Lady. And long live Jesus Who will
have freed you from a nasty slavery!”
a Catholic Bishop
of conscience for Catholic Parents:
you voluntarily exposed yourself to the occasion of sin by sinful
curiosity, by watching impure movies, or indecent plays or videos?
you listened with willful pleasure to immodest language on TV?
you harmed anyone's soul by giving scandal, destroying this soul
by bad example?
you, by your wicked words, deeds or bad example, ruined innocent
you exposed your children to impure temptations resulting from
you kept a TV in your home knowing it is an occasion of sin for
you and your children?
you allowed your children to watch TV, especially without your
knowledge and consent?
and Power of Motion Pictures:
As long ago
as 1936, Pope Pius XI, warned of the dangers of the cinema. "It
admits of no discussion that the motion picture has achieved these
last years a position of universal importance among modern means
of diversion. There is no need to point out the fact that millions
of people go to the motion pictures every day; that motion picture
theatres are being viewed in ever increasing number in civilized
and semi-civilized countries; that the motion picture has become
the most popular form of diversion which is offered for the leisure
moment not only of the rich but of all classes of society.
At the same
time, there does not exist today a means of influencing the masses
more potent than the cinema. The reason for this is to be sought
in the very nature of the motion pictures projected upon the screen,
in their popularity and in the circumstances which accompany them.
of the motion picture consists in this, that it speaks by means
of vivid and concrete imagery which the mind takes in with enjoyment
and without fatigue. Even the crudest and most primitive minds
which have neither the capacity nor the desire to make the efforts
necessary for abstraction or deductive reasoning are captivated
by the cinema. In place of the effort which reading or listening
demands, there is the continued pleasure of a succession of concrete
and, so to speak, living pictures.
then the cinema, being like the school of life itself, which,
for good or for evil, teaches the majority of men more effectively
than abstract reasoning, it must be elevated to conformity with
the aims of a Christian conscience and saved from depraving and
knows what damage is done to the soul by bad motion pictures.
They are occasions of sin; they seduce young people along
the ways of evil by glorifying the passions; they show life under
a false light; they cloud ideals; they destroy pure love, respect
for marriage, affection for the family. They are capable also
of creating prejudices among individuals and misunderstandings
among nations, among social classes, among entire races.
picture is viewed by people who are seated in a dark theatre and
whose faculties, mental, physical and often spiritual, are relaxed.
One does not need to go far in search of these theatres: they
are close to the home, to the Church and to the school and they
thus bring the cinema into the very centre of popular life.
the acting out of the plot is done by men and women selected for
their artistic ability and for all those natural gifts and the
employment of those expedients which can become, for youth particularly,
instruments of seduction. Further, the motion picture has enlisted
in its service luxurious appointments, pleasing music, the vigour
of realism, every form of whim and fancy. For this very reason,
it attracts and fascinates particularly the young, the adolescent
and even the child. Thus at the very age when the moral sense
is being formed and when the notions and sentiments of justice
and rectitude, of duty and obligation and of ideals of life are
being developed, the motion picture with its direct propaganda
assumes a position of commanding influence.
It is unfortunate
that, in the present state of affairs, this influence is frequently
exerted for evil. So much so that when one thinks of the havoc
wrought in the souls of youth and of childhood, of the loss of
innocence so often suffered in the motion picture theatres, there
comes to mind the terrible condemnation pronounced by Our Lord
upon the corruptors of little ones: "whosoever shall scandalize
one of these little ones who believe in Me, it were better for
him that a mill stone be hanged about his neck and that he be
drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matt. XVIII, 6).
XI: Encyclical Vigilanti Cura, June 29, 1936
television, besides the element it shares in common with the other
two inventions We have spoken of for the spreading of information,
has a power and efficacy of its own. Through the medium of television
viewers are enabled to see and hear far-distant events at the
very moment at which they are taking place and in this way the
illusion is created that they are actually present and taking
part in them. This sense of intimacy is greatly enhanced by the
power which television has of giving pleasure within the family
circle is to be reckoned its most important feature (...). If
there is any truth at all in that text: 'a little leaven currupteth
the whole lump' and if the physical development of young people
can be arrested by an infectious germ and prevented from reaching
full maturity, how much more havoc can be wrought upon the nerve-centres
of their religious life by some insidious element in their education
sapping their moral vitality! It is a matter of common experience
that children are frequently able to resist the violent onset
of diseases in the world at large, whereas they have no strength
to avoid the disease that is latent in the home. It is wrong,
therefore, to endanger in any way the sanctity of the home and
the Church who as her right and duty demand, has always striven
with all her power to prevent these sacred portals from being
violated under any pretext by the evils television shows.
counsels exert an immediate restraining influence on the use of
this art, the damage will be done; a damage which will affect
not merely individuals, but the whole of human society - and indeed
it is not an easy matter to assess the amount of damage that may
already have been caused."
XII: Encyclical Miranda Prorsus,
leaflet may be reproduced freely.
A ‘sampler’ of approximately 15 assorted leaflets
may be obtained from:
Catholic Wisdom Publications
P. O. Box 4120, Makati City, Philippines