For this week’s blog, I originally intended to publish a few movie reviews. But in doing my final check, I noticed something: one of the movies had a scene in it in which a girl was immodestly-dressed. It was not a terrible scene by any measure; but it was something that I didn’t want to endorse nevertheless.
And the more I looked, the more I discovered that nearly all the movies on my list contained something that might offend Catholic sensitivities. So I decided not to run the blog.
If I informed the readers what the movie was, some might think that I was being scrupulous: after all, there are certainly worse movies out there. But that is a terrible yardstick to use in justifying behavior; and one we tend to use far too often.
A Dismal Viewpoint
It’s easy to see why. My generation of Catholics has become accustomed to regularly seeing indecent images that previous generations did not.
The truth is that—even if we are taking reasonable precautions to guard our eyes—many of us have seen so many immodest images that comparatively minor cinematic infractions of the sixth and ninth commandments don’t trouble us any longer. For whatever else that is, that’s sad.
It doesn’t help that our society increasingly views manhood and innocence as opposing realities, and most of Hollywood’s celluloid offspring reiterates that dismal viewpoint.
Of course, I’m not the first to notice this. The Pope noticed it too, writing:
“Everyone 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.”
Pretty strong words, right? Oh, I neglected to tell you which pope wrote these words. It was Pope Pius XI.
The year? 1936.
One can only wonder what Pope Pius would think of today’s films.
Be More Discriminating?
Pope Pius’ point was not that we should never watch movies, and that’s not my point, either. But I have a feeling that Pope Pius and I would agree that we must be discriminating—more discriminating—in what we watch.
And I think he would agree with me on another point, namely, that we have become over-reliant on motion pictures for our entertainment. And for our time. Movies and television have become not merely a babysitter for our kids, but a competitor for our affections.
Some people might read this and wonder how they are supposed to spend their time if not watching motion pictures. As is turns out, people used to do other stuff, and they didn’t seem to suffer for it.
We need to read books again. Reading (especially nonfiction reading) is a quaint little habit that has fallen by the wayside. If you’re not a big reader, try something that might get you back into it.
Compose a list of twelve books for the coming year of mercy, and then read one a month over that year. Think you won’t be a better person when you’re done?
Some 14 Family Activities to Try
We need to spend more time with our kids. Some simple family activities could be;
- Go to their basketball and baseball games.
- Take them out for French fries after their practices.
- Take them to the library for books once a week.
- Take them to weekday Masses a few times a month.
- Play Scrabble with them.
- Listen to your children read.
- Say the rosary with them.
- Encourage your kids put on talent shows for the family.
- Eat dinner with them.
- Play charades with your kids.
- Listen to your little girls tell jokes and giggle.
- Bake cookies with them.
- Go lift weights with your boys.
Get to know your children.
We men need to spend more time with our wives, too. I’ve yet to see a romantic comedy that is more romantic or more comedic than our life together. As we get older, it only gets funnier. And more romantic. I don’t think we’re alone in this.
Lisa and I may not spend too much time at the movies, but we’re starring in our own little story in which God is the Director. And so are you.
Greater than any movie is the life you are living right now.
Go live it.