Is Watching TV Sinful?

Is Watching TV Sinful?

television“A child 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.

However, 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.

The priest gave the unfortunate and sorrowful child the holy absolution, but could he give it to his parents?

Dear Christian 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!”

By a Catholic Bishop

Examination of conscience for Catholic Parents:

Have you voluntarily exposed yourself to the occasion of sin by sinful curiosity, by watching impure movies, or indecent plays or videos?

Have you listened with willful pleasure to immodest language on TV?

Have you harmed anyone’s soul by giving scandal, destroying this soul by bad example?

Have you, by your wicked words, deeds or bad example, ruined innocent children?

Have you exposed your children to impure temptations resulting from watching TV?

Have you kept a TV in your home knowing it is an occasion of sin for you and your children?

Have you allowed your children to watch TV, especially without your knowledge and consent?

Importance 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.

The power 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.

(…) Since 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 demoralizing effects.

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.  They are capable also of creating prejudices among individuals and misunderstandings among nations, among social classes, among entire races.

The motion 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.

Moreover, 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).

Pope Pius XI: Encyclical Vigilanti Cura, June 29, 1936

The Dangers of Television:

“But 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 home surroundings.

The special 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.

Unless wise 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.”

Pope Pius XII:  Encyclical Miranda Prorsus, (Sept. 8, 1957)  Source

Comment

Increasingly, I meet parents who have stopped using TV except as a means of viewing DVDs.  Is this something all Catholics ought to do? 

Comments (170)

  • Therese

    There seems to be an obsession amongst some “new” “traditionalists” about women wearing trousers. I started attending an SSPX Mass Centre 35 years ago and it was never thought of, let alone an issue. I can’t help thinking that such ideas have more in common with some of the Protestant sects who expect their women to dress in the style of the Amish. Anyone who objects is labelled a crazy feminist or a loony modernist,and “even it we don’t agree, we should obey the priest on this matter”. Pity they’ve got nothing better to worry about.

    I’m not talking about immodest jeans or tight trousers, of course. There is no need to go into specifics – we all know what is modest and what it not. There are some so-called traditionalists who preach that the correct form of address for women is for them to be completely covered from head to foot. Frankly, they give me the creeps.

    August 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm
    • Petrus

      Fantastic comment. Couldn’t agree more.

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      August 6, 2014 at 10:20 pm
  • jobstears

    I agree with Summa, 3LS and McDuff. From what I gather, they do not think watching TV is sinful, they are simply saying, not watching TV is better than watching TV. Not watching TV is preferable to watching TV- if we order things toward perfection- a call from which not one of us is exempt.

    While TV may be not be sinful, it is the most perfect means of introducing and reinforcing the values of the world. One look at the advertisements is proof of that, and it does not matter whether we pay attention to them or not. The message makes an impression on the mind. An adult with a well formed conscience and a disciplined life, may be able to turn off the TV, for obvious reasons this would not hold true for everybody.

    If the SSPX have certain regulations regarding the dress code for women, why is that so outrageous? Parents can always refuse to send their children to the school.

    Whether or not we take up the challenge to throw out our TV sets and change our wardrobes, we can, I imagine, at least respect the decision of those who choose to take the better path.

    August 7, 2014 at 2:51 am
    • Petrus

      Once again the point is missed. I will try and explain my position succinctly and using small words. If only I had the option of visual aides

      It is for us to decide if we watch television and what we wear. I agree there are much better ways to spend time then watching television. The priests have an obligation to warn against immodesty and inappropriate use of TV. They do not have the right to impose these things on us. We are not obliged to give priests our obedience in these matters. The laity are only bound to show obedience to the Faith.

      There really has been some cultish views expressed on this thread. It leads me to believe that we are really quite lucky in this country that we have sensible SSPX priests.

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      August 7, 2014 at 7:39 am
      • Summa

        Once again the point is missed. I will try and explain my position succinctly and using small words. If only I had the option of visual aides

        I stopped reading your post at these words. How demeaning.

        August 7, 2014 at 11:08 am
      • Petrus

        Summa,

        I’m sorry if you found it demeaning. However we can’t keep going round in circles and missing the crucial part of the argument.

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        August 7, 2014 at 11:24 am
      • jobstears

        I was not aware that the priest was imposing anything on the Catholic laity by specifying the regulations/rules the society has for that particular school. If you don’t like what he is saying, disagree all you want, don’t send your children to that school, but don’t try and make your stand the norm for all Catholics. It isn’t.

        And as for missing the point, I think the point of this discussion was whether or not watching TV is sinful. I may have missed it, but I didn’t realize Editor was asking for opinions on whether or not the SSPX are right in their no-TV stand.

        August 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm
      • Petrus

        Jobstears

        You will see that the focus article is from a SSPX website. The Third Order of the SSPX requires that all members abstain from watching television and some priests of the Society regularly warn against it, so I think it is relevant to join the dots and discuss these matters too.

        No priest, no matter what his position from parish priest to head master of a Catholic school, should be imposing themselves on the daily life of Catholic families on this issue. To have this as a requirement for sending a child to a Catholic school is outrageous. Whether I agree with it or not is really besides the point – they shouldn’t be doing it – end of. This is not a matter of Faith.

        Another thing, Jobstears. It is for the administrator of a blog to intervene and redirect the discussion if it has strayed off topic. Discussing the stance of the SSPX school towards television is certainly not off topic, but even if it was, it is the editor’s place to intervene. It is very bad manners for someone else to do so. By all means, redirect the conversation through educational means.

        I wonder what 3 little shepherds et al thought of Bishop Williamson stating that families shouldn’t watch “The Sound of Music” because it is “pornographic”? I’m assuming because of bishop of the Church said this that she and others would have immediately binned their copy and forbidden their children from ever watching such filth!

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        August 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        I like the Sound of Music. I own a copy of the movie. But it’s at the bottom of the barrel in importance along with tv and fashions. I would never choose (I hope) my right to watch tv or wear a common fashion over a higher good. Even if you disagree with a rule and believe it to be unjust you can still put your pride in your pocket and comply.

        August 7, 2014 at 9:28 pm
      • Petrus

        You still do not understand the nature of lay obedience. The similarities with liberal papolatorists are quite striking.

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        August 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Are you trying to smear me, that is so uncool.
        You can be obedient to a suggestion. You can be obedient to something that is not technically just. You don’t have to but you can do it.

        August 8, 2014 at 1:40 am
      • Andrew Paterson

        Hi!,
        I’ve read most of this thread with mounting incomprehension. As laity we live in the world and that means we have to coexist with others, most of whom think religion is bunk or worse. We owe no duty of obedience to priests, or anyone where this conflicts with conscience. We may take advice where the right path is not clear and where it had significance in that serious matters were at stake. We need to consider advice carefully and humbly in that we may not know everything. However, women wearing trousers should not be considered a spiritual risk – Joan of Arc wore trousers. Balance is key. No-one accepts the excuse “I was following orders” and that sums it up.
        We are in the world and of our time. Oscar Wilde said “fools make fashion, wise men follow it.”
        At school – a selective entry Catholic co-educational grammar school, we studied the the encyclical “On the Christian Education of Youth”. The description of the co-educational approach as “the promiscuous herding together” of the sexes provoked a great deal of mirth and torpedoed the teacher’s efforts to present the text as meaningful. Exaggerated rules and restrictions may have the opposite effect to that intended and will lay one open to unnecessary ridicule. The SSPX is by its nature, by the fact it exists at all, a group of strong-willed people. And in any such group there is the danger of toppling over into unbalanced views.
        As Catholics the example we set should be of striving for a life of Grace, not of setting ourselves apart as oddities. In some ways living in society is harder than living apart in that we have to manage the modern world in a Catholic way that is consistent with the Church that has gone before.

        August 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm
      • Petrus

        Andrew,

        Excellent comment. There is no place in the Catholic Church for extremism.

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        August 7, 2014 at 10:10 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        I’ve seen portraits of Oscar Wilde. He needed to spend some time roaping cattle or something.

        August 8, 2014 at 1:47 am
      • 3littleshepherds

        roping cattle

        August 8, 2014 at 1:47 am
      • Therese

        Jobstears

        The point is that some of these new traditionalists don’t think it’s fine to disagree on this point; they assert that no Catholic worthy of the name would watch TV or wear trousers (the women, that is!). They have absolutely no right to do so, as I’m sure you will agree.

        You are of course correct to say that the SSPX have every right to impose whatever rules they wish to in their schools, just as faithful, Catholics have every right to refuse to send their children to such schools if they disagree with the rules.

        August 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm
      • Petrus

        Therese

        Very good points.

        I would add that the SSPX are a Catholic congregation of priests. Catholic priests should not be adding this stipulation to entry requirements to their school. I would argue that as Catholic priests they do NOT have this right.

        I don’t think this would have happened before the Council so this is another example of people who had no idea of what the Church was really like, trying to recreate a “new traditionalism” based on what they think the Church was like.

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        August 7, 2014 at 6:12 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        You don’t know their intentions, you’re guessing again.

        August 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm
      • Petrus

        Sorry, I can’t comprehend what you mean here. Whatever their intentions are, it doesn’t change the fact that they are over stepping the mark. Good intentions aren’t always enough.

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        August 7, 2014 at 10:07 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Have you ever read what was taught about morals before Vatican 2? Just read old movie condemnations. I think the Bishop’s condemned the movie “Gone With The Wind” when it came out in the 1930’s! You wouldn’t believe what Catholics were not allowed to watch.

        August 8, 2014 at 1:33 am
      • jobstears

        Therese,

        I agree with you, nobody has the right to say wearing trousers makes you less Catholic. In fact, I don’t see why wearing trousers is even an issue.

        I know a young Catholic marine who (wears trousers!) and keeps the Lenten fast like a monk!

        August 8, 2014 at 2:07 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      Jobstears,

      What is outrageous about the SSPX rule about women not wearing trousers is that it is putting girls off attending the chapels.

      August 7, 2014 at 6:33 pm
      • jobstears

        Margaret Mary,

        I fully appreciate the inconvenience of the no-trousers rule. Frankly, I don’t see how a pair of decent trousers can be worse than a slinky dress or a mini skirt. While there are women who are put off attending SSPX chapels (if we had a chapel here, I can assure you my relatives would not be flocking to it!), there are those who are tired of the NO and the mess in the Church and would be willing to make the sacrifice.

        To demand that the SSPX soften or change their policies, sounds alarmingly like the pick-and-choose mentality rampant in the Church today. The cry of how ‘inflexible’ and ‘rigid’ the Church is and how good people are being turned off Catholicism because the Church refuses to ‘get with the times’, is a common one. Are we perhaps, being guilty of the same reasoning when we would like to see the SSPX change their rules? This is not intended as a criticism, it is an honest query.

        August 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm
      • Petrus

        Jobstears,

        The point is not whether the SSPX should “soften their stance”, but rather why they have such a daft stance in the first place. Preach about modesty by all means, but don’t over step the mark and introduce a dress code. These few priests who insist on enforcing this rule should remember the maxim “all that the Church allows”. The SSPX isn’t a private club that’s free to do what it likes. It’s part of the Catholic Church and should behave that way.

        For many of this it’s a non issue because the SSPX priests we have wouldn’t dream of enforcing these daft rules.

        Sent from my iPhone

        August 7, 2014 at 7:54 pm
      • editor

        Jobstears,

        I have always respected the dress code of the SSPX in their chapels and never wear trousers at all to Mass. That’s one thing. I don’t think many people would have a problem with the dress code if it applied only in the Society chapels. The problem is, that – as Therese has so beautifully described in her post of 7 August at 8.01pm – a minority of SSPX clergy and laity consider the issue to be one which defines a Catholic woman. We are recommended to read and listen to (when she gives talks) Colleen Hammond, from the USA, who urges us all to wear flesh coloured knitted tights. That’s the extent of the madness on this particular issue.

        No thanks.

        August 7, 2014 at 8:42 pm
      • Petrus

        Editor,

        Drat! I will now need to take back the flesh coloured knitted tights I’ve bought you for Christmas!

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        August 7, 2014 at 8:43 pm
      • Therese

        Margaret Mary

        The answer the new traditionalists would give to your point is that these girls have been corrupted by the spirit of the age and the “feminazis” and therefore entirely lack the Catholic spirit; they would therefore not be fit to attend a Catholic chapel. Complete subjection to these rules is mandatory, and a good Catholic woman should have no problem with this; as women we should be subject to these new laws, as we lack the wherewithal to think clearly about these matters.

        The very fact that we, as women, are taking exception to these rules, is evidence of our worldy corruption and unfemininety.

        .

        August 7, 2014 at 8:01 pm
      • editor

        Therese,

        Exactly. You have captured the literally unholy spirit of the “new traditionalists” in a nutshell. Well said.

        August 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm
  • jobstears

    Petrus,

    I was not intervening or attempting to redirect anything- I was simply replying to your comment that “once again the point was missed”….

    As for “To have this as a requirement for sending a child to a Catholic school is outrageous”, if the SSPX took over my school and made those demands it might be, but since this is their school, and since their requirements are not sinful, and since their requirements are geared toward a higher good, it ought not to pose a huge problem to those who want to send their children to that school. This is not a matter of Faith, agreed, that is why we are free to disagree with them while respecting their right to set their own rules for their school.

    August 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm
    • editor

      Jobstears,

      You are correct in that the Society priests are free to set their own rules for the school. But, I have never heard of a school that required the parents to live by certain rules at home, as the Society in England – certainly in recent times – has done (I’m not sure if these rules still apply.) Thus, they cannot be surprised if, by requiring that mothers of children applying to the school don’t wear trousers at home and don’t have a TV set in their home, they put people off who would otherwise have sent their offspring to the school. I know for a fact that some have changed their minds and decided not to apply for the school when learning of these requirements. I am speaking of the situation as reported to me some years ago. I’ve no idea if things are still the same. Since I’ve not heard to the contrary, I’m presuming there’s been no change.

      It has to be said that it is a very small minority of priests who worry about the trousers issue. Frankly, it’s plain silly. Fashions change (we covered this in the newsletter quite recently) and even the one and only cardinal who commented on the then new fashion of women wearing trousers said that the issue was “not to be exaggerated.” He also made the point that trousers on women are sometimes more modest than some types of skirts. As for the “No TV in the home” rule – is not this interference in family life? Who runs the home – the parents or the priest? Of course priests must preach the principles of modesty and purity and warn of the dangers of TV but not impose a blanket ban. We might as well head out to your part of the world and join the Amish!

      August 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm
      • Petrus

        Editor,

        That’s a good point. Setting rules for the school – fine. However, to insist on rules for home life too is over stepping the mark.

        Sent from my iPhone

        August 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm
      • jobstears

        I agree, Editor, worrying about the trousers issue is silly. I was very disappointed to hear the SSPX require women to observe the no-trousers rule all the time.

        I’ve skimmed through Collen Hammond’s book- maybe being an ex model, she may have a better chance of getting people to listen to her! But that is not a book I would recommend to those looking for guidelines. 😀 I don’t believe modesty can be separated from purity. When one is, the other will be found.

        The no TV in the home – rule for those who want to attend the school, I do not see as interference (sorry, there goes my pay check!) in family life. They are, after all, not imposing this ban on all Catholics. Just for those who choose to send their children to their school.

        August 8, 2014 at 6:21 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        This whole thing would be a non-story if the school had made the parents sign a paper stating that they agreed to come to the parish hall once a month for a free steak dinner and that men were required to give up wearing neck ties. In fact there would be no talk of extremism, schism, over stepping their boundaries, or calling the priests “crackpots”. Just don’t ask someone to do something that’s not pleasurable! I think it’s okay for women to wear modest pants and I think it’s okay to watch wholesome tv, but I admire the families who give them up entirely, especially if it is done as a sacrifice to send children to a good school. Oftentimes, we are very soft when it comes to the conversion of our own family members. We want the priest to treat them oh so tenderly, we want them to really like the priest and not be put off by any “extreme” views. One problem is that with this attitude we can easily become enablers. My faith will always be in the priests who overcome human respect and who try, even if sometimes a bit harshly, to detach people from the things of the earth.

        August 10, 2014 at 7:20 pm
      • Petrus

        I’m sorry, 3littleshepherds, but this is a crazy post. After all that has been said on this issue, including a detailed discussion on lay obedience, I can’t believe that you are still writing what you are writing.

        It seems to me that you still don’t understand the role of a priest and the nature of the lay vocation in the Church.

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        August 10, 2014 at 7:40 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        I think you attack the priests while not supplying any facts. Why did they ask people to sign? What’s their side? Instead of being generous and thinking that the priests were trying to find a way to prevent other students from being scandalized you have to go and criticize the heck out of them.

        August 10, 2014 at 8:47 pm
      • Petrus

        3littleshepherds,

        Personally, I don’t think there’s any justification for it.

        Listen, I’ve said that I don’t have television coming into my house. I have a television set for DVDs and I watch one or two things on the Internet, so I’m well aware of the dangers of excessive and inappropriate TV and I’ve taken steps to address this. I’ve already said too that my wife doesn’t wear trousers. So, it’s not about being unwilling to give something up. I think it’s wrong to make this into something it’s not, which is what certain priests do.

        Now, I will say no more about it because your stance on this is just wrong and does come dangerously close to heresy.

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        August 10, 2014 at 8:59 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Your stance leaves no room for pious obedience. Do you actually think that someone like St. Jean Vianney would respect your right to keep a tv in your house? Honestly, fess up. Really? No way!
        He even denounced bars and saloons and gave the owners money to leave town. I guess you think he should have left people alone, let them go to saloons if they wanted?

        August 10, 2014 at 10:15 pm
      • Petrus

        Explain to us all what you mean by pious obedience….

        I tell you what I think, I think you are very similar to a papolatorist. It’s so true that the extreme right and the extreme left are often very similar. What I DO know is that there is no place for extremism in the Catholic Church. Your stance, 3littleshepherds, makes you part of the problem in the Church today – not part of the solution.

        Sent from my iPhone

        August 10, 2014 at 10:19 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Obedience done out of piety toward the priest not because he has a strict right to it but because he has the good of our soul in mind.
         “If a priest is determined not to lose his soul,” St. Jean Vianney exclaimed, “so soon as any disorder arises in the parish, he must trample underfoot all human considerations as well as the fear of the contempt and hatred of his people. He must not allow anything to bar his way in the discharge of duty, even were he certain of being murdered on coming down from the pulpit. A pastor who wants to do his duty must keep his sword in hand at all times. Did not St. Paul himself write to the faithful of Corinth: ‘I most gladly will spend and be spent myself for your souls, although loving you more, I be loved less.’”
        It isn’t wise to second guess a priest without knowing the circumstances.

        August 10, 2014 at 11:17 pm
      • editor

        This is a reply to 3LittleShepherds, 11.17pm post on 10 August.

        You keep writing about obedience to priests in matters such as women’s dress and TV where there is no requirement for us to obey. You then quote the Cure D’Ars on “disorder” in the parish. But there is no disorder arising from people exercising their right to choose how to dress and watch TV if they wish, always with Catholic principles of modesty and purity in mind. So you create a false dichotomy there.

        It is by setting up a series of straw men that you are defending a tiny minority of SSPX priests who try to impose their own personal will in these matters. They are wrong to do so. We are not “attacking” them – no names have been mentioned, for example, and nor should they be (and will be deleted if this happens).

        Only vowed religious are obliged to formal obedience. We are not. Nor are we asked to switch off our intelligence and thwart our free will when there is no requirement, in natural or Church law so to do.

        I note you speak about there being a “culture” difference between us but I’m afraid it’s more than that, 3LittleShepherds. You are seeking to argue that religious obedience or “pious” obedience is required of us in any matter where we may hold a different opinion from our priest. That is the Protestant view of Catholic priests, that they are power-mongers seeking to lord it over the faithful. Not the case. We should respect the priesthood, as we respect the papacy, but in neither case should we conduct ourselves in a servile spirit of blind obedience. That is to insult God, who gave us our intelligence and free will.

        I am certain that God will honour the intentions of someone who, in good faith and ignorance, does exercise such blind obedience towards priests, but it is certainly not the Catholic way.

        August 11, 2014 at 9:54 am
      • Andrew Paterson

        “My faith will always be in the priests who overcome human respect and who try, even if sometimes a bit harshly, to detach people from the things of the earth.”
        This seems to be veering dangerously close to heresy. The things of this earth are not evil. They are part of the Creation. I’m guessing that you refer to bad things. However, one must be very careful about condemning stuff as it is generally misuse of stuff that is bad.

        August 10, 2014 at 8:36 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        You are supposed to be detached towards the things of the earth. Do you know what detachment means? It doesn’t mean condemnation.

        August 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm
      • editor

        3LittleShepherds,

        Detachment means not being more attached to people or material things than to God. Not even to specific spiritual devotions. Nothing should be more important to us than God and His holy will. That’s all it means.

        It does NOT mean that if an individual priest decides Corn Flakes are bad for us that we stop eating Corn Flakes. What we do is continue to eat the Corn Flakes and add that poor misguided priest’s soul to our daily rosary 😀

        Remember,Our Lord was scathing in his condemnation of the religious leaders of his day – not for enforcing God’s law, but for adding minute details to it and thereby adding to the burden of the conscientious souls entrusted to their care.

        It’s no use saying that those people would have earned grace by obeying – that is not the point. I can’t insist that YOU observe penances that I may impose on myself. That is not only thoughtless and uncharitable but it’s a darn cheek and not remotely pleasing to God. It’s actually a form of pride.

        We may choose to practise penances, such as keeping the heating off in winter or going without chocolate, to name but two that I don’t practise 😀

        That’s fine. But we must NOT make anyone else feel that they ought to do the same. That is expressly forbidden in the Gospel where we’re instructed not to even let anyone else guess that we are doing penance; instead we are to wash our face and smile at the world, so that “our Father who knows all that is done in secret” will reward us. Otherwise, Our Lord says, we are acting like the hypocrites, putting on a face to be admired, in which case we will have had our reward, see Matthew 6: 16ff

        I’m totally detached from my entire wardrobe – always seeking to renew it 😀 – and I am so detached from the TV that I seldom see it. But since there’s no legal or moral law that requires me to dispose of it, I’m keeping it. Just in case the History channel ever re-runs that excellent documentary on Fatima…. not to mention Columbo and Miss Marple… 😀

        I’m also well enough educated in my Faith not to confuse roles in life, whether that be the roles of men and women (as the feminists do) or the roles of laity and clergy (as both the Modernists and some “traditional” Catholics do, each in their own misguided, for different reasons, way.)

        Now, there is no way I am going to be able to answer all of the comments you’ve posted on this thread since my last visit so I just want to add one more thing which you mention in another comment about referring to parts of the human body. You mention that “breasts” is not crude. And you are right. It’s not. Nor is any part of the human body “crude” per se.

        However, prior to Vatican II it was routine in schools (at least my all girls school) for mention to be made of modesty, not just in dress, but also in speech.

        We were taught to avoid speaking of our bodies in an explicit way, because our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Ghost and so should be treated with some delicacy in speech. Out of that modesty of speech, arises modesty of dress. Nobody said we shouldn’t wear this or that, but only that we should dress with care, mindful of male psychology and Judgement Day… something to that effect… 😀

        I hope this clarifies things somewhat, as I think we are now at the stage of going round in circles on this, and for no good reason really. I’m sure if we were to meet round the coffee table for coffee and chocolate biscuits, we’d all agree in the end. We’d have to. Otherwise, we’d run out of chocolate biscuits 😯 😯 😯

        August 10, 2014 at 10:39 pm
      • Petrus

        Editor,

        I think we would all need to watch some television!

        August 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm
      • editor

        Petrus,

        You supply the coffee and chocolate biscuits and I’ll supply the TV!

        August 10, 2014 at 10:55 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        I will quit because you and mostly Petrus keep misinterpreting what I’ve said. I thought twice about ever comme ting in the first place. I knew you were really biased and I was sure to get walloped. I find it to be a real culture clash.
        I did have one regret and that was I responded too harshly to nICKY. If I had thought for a moment I would have known that Tommy, who has a warm soul, wouldn’t talk about the Mass like that.
        I meant everything else! And would stick with my opinion dispite all of Petrus’ conniptions.

        August 10, 2014 at 11:52 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Reply to Editor at 9:54am
        Please don’t misinterpret my posts again. I did not say you had to be obedient, should be blindly obedient, or anything of the sort anywhere in any of my post ever. I said if the priest doesn’t have a strict right to obedience one can be obedient. The priest is not wrong to ask people to give hp tv if he knows it causes problems in the school. I would give it up. I would encourage others to do so. People give up all sorts of things that their priests have told them to. They always have.
        Fighting for something like tv when it’s
        programming is in a big part from the sewer is one strange crusade for a Catholic. Far better is the priest who fights against it and maybe helps a family to give it up.

        August 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm
      • Petrus

        Thankfully this isn’t a problem for us in this country as our traditional priests are sensible.

        Sent from my iPhone

        August 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm
      • editor

        3LittleShepherds,

        I apologise sincerely for having upset you. I hope you don’t think I would deliberately misinterpret your comments but I apologise for having apparently done so.

        Let’s leave it there.

        August 11, 2014 at 5:52 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Andrew Paterson,

        This explains detachment:

        “Example makes it clear that man is destroyed by his own free choice: for out of love for some worldly thing he throws himself into fire, is drowned in the sea and gives himself into captivity. Let us suppose that someone’s house or field has caught fire. The person who wanted to save himself fled without anything as soon as he noticed the fire, leaving everything in it and concerned only with his own life. But someone else thought he would take some of the goods with him, so he stayed behind to collect them; and as he was taking them the fire, which had already overwhelmed the house, caught him as well and burnt him. In this way, through his attachment to some transient thing, he was destroyed in the fire by his own free choice. Again, two men were shipwrecked. One of them, wanting to save himself, stripped off his clothes and threw himself into the water; and in this way he was able to save his life. The other, wanting to save his clothes as well, was drowned, destroying himself for the sake of a slight gain. Or again, let us suppose that news of an attack by an enemy was announced. One man, as soon as he heard the news, fled as fast as his feet would carry him, without a thought for his possessions. Another, either because he distrusted the news, or because he wanted to take with him some of his goods, waited until later, and when the enemy arrived he was caught. Thus, through his lack of alertness and his attachment to worldly things, he lost body and soul by his own free choice.” St. Symeon Metaphrastis

        August 10, 2014 at 10:35 pm
      • editor

        3LittleShepherds,

        What you describe is undue attachment to worldly goods. That is sinful. What is NOT sinful is to choose to wear certain clothing (assuming modesty) and watching TV, even if your priest doesn’t want you to. I’m not attached to anything in my wardrobe or to my TV as I’ve explained above but I will not bin them just because a priest thinks I ought to do so.

        We’re not talking about the majority of priests. Frankly, I have a feeling that the majority of priests see all of this as a (laughable) non-issue. So, let’s stop going round in circles with it. Pointless. Don’t let’s make a dogma out of an opinion. And a minority opinion at that.

        August 10, 2014 at 10:51 pm
  • Andrew Paterson

    I’ve made a comment, but it seems to have gone to entirely the wrong place…

    August 7, 2014 at 10:11 pm
  • 3littleshepherds

    I was always taught that modest pants were not subjectively sinful because our culture had accepted them. I was taught that pagans and worldly people know at least that they have to keep their bottoms and breasts covered and that for the most part they are ignorant about modesty so not guilty. But as for the Faithful, modesty requirements were not only connected to how much we were covered so as not to cause impure sins but it includes dressing in a dignified way because we are the temples of the Holy Ghost. This was always taught as far as I know. Some priests might give emphasis to the traditional clothing of women, which was always a dress for thousands of years, because it is a symbol of who she is traditionally. They think this symbol is important to counter the attacks against Catholic women, wives, mothers, single women who dedicate their lives to helping the Church and also all women of goodwill who agree with the traditional role. I don’t know if a dress is a powerful symbol that the devil hates, but some think it is. It’s an opinion but it has nothing to do with Amish or schism or being anti woman.

    August 7, 2014 at 10:25 pm
    • Petrus

      I think this is a noble opinion. Personally, I prefer woman in skirts (I know that must sound so odd). My wife doesn’t wear trousers because she likes skirts and she thinks they are more feminine. My wee girl has never worn trousers and we won’t buy her trousers. If she chooses to wear them when she’s older then that’s entirely her choice.

      However, I keep this to myself. It’s an opinion. The dress code in the SSPX churches is fine. However, there is a small minority of priests who will over step the mark and give the impression that you can’t be a good Catholic unless you abide by this rule constantly. Thankfully, these crackpots are in the minority.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      August 7, 2014 at 10:36 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Also if you wanted to send a child to a good school and they made you sign a paper with stipulations for parents like tv and dress, I would think breaking it would like breaking a simple promise, and not a sin, of course. People sign rosary pledges but breaking it is not a sin. You should try but it isn’t a vow or something.

        August 8, 2014 at 1:23 am
      • 3littleshepherds

        Calling priests “crackpots”? An example of what is wrong with your attitude on this subject.

        August 10, 2014 at 6:36 pm
      • Petrus

        Can Catholic priests be crackpots? You better believe it!

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

        August 10, 2014 at 6:37 pm
      • editor

        Petrus

        “My wife doesn’t wear trousers because she likes skirts and she thinks they are more feminine.”

        That’s because she starts out as a tall, slim, glamorous lady. Give the rest of us a break!

        August 10, 2014 at 8:12 pm
      • Petrus

        Editor,

        Yes that’s right…..5 years ago!

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

        August 10, 2014 at 8:16 pm
    • Andrew Paterson

      Which is why Scotsmen wear kilts…but seriously, “modest pants were not subjectively sinful because our culture had accepted them”?
      Our culture has accepted abortion on demand.
      And, “for the most part they are ignorant about modesty so not guilty.”? That is possibly one of the most condescending remarks I have come across. You should not equate nudity with immodesty or forgive both as the result of “ignorance”. Modesty is a state of mind as is prurience. It is the same mistake missionaries made when visiting the South Seas for the first time. Were you taught by a missionary by any chance?
      I would also guess that being a temple of the Holy Ghost rules out fancy dress parties?
      I do not mean to be flip or hurtful but the views you express are entirely strange to me although I was brought up via a strictly orthodox Catholic schooling (pre Vatican2) that also encouraged independent thinking.

      August 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Most women in the world today don’t know what modesty is. They may commit objective mortal sins but they can’t commit
        subjective mortal sins if they don’t understand. Most understand they have to cover their bottoms and breasts.

        August 8, 2014 at 1:17 am
      • Therese

        3LittleShepherds

        “Most understand that they have to cover their bottoms and breasts.”

        Ah, if only that were true. Perhaps in America; not, I assure you, in Britain.

        August 8, 2014 at 7:27 am
      • 3littleshepherds

        What is a fancy dress party? Is that a costume party? I’ve heard of costume parties but I have no experience. What do you mean, are they silly?
        I’m a post Vatican II baby, but my parents were older when I was born. We were always taught that as Catholics we were not to get tattoos, dress immodestly, nor talk like sailors.

        Wearing pants has absolutely nothing to do with abortion.

        August 8, 2014 at 5:56 am
      • Andrew Paterson

        Thanks for your response. I did not explain my thought fully. My point is that because something is accepted in our culture does not make it right, nor acceptable either to Catholics or God.
        My example was the killling of unborn children. This is acceptable in our culture and, for the moment, irreversible. Another example is that all the lamb, beef and chicken that is sold in British supermarkets is halal, which means that it has been sacrificed to Allah. Our “culture” accepts this, although it is clearly unacceptable to Christians who recognise one God. We need to be careful about what we accept on the basis that the rest of society finds it acceptable. We need to discern between the superficial and trivial such as women in trousers, and the serious stuff, like abortion, and the stealthy Islamisation of the West.

        August 8, 2014 at 9:30 am
      • 3littleshepherds

        I was taught by priests that wearing modest pants is not subjectively sinful because our culture has excepted them. People are not scandalized. I believe that women could be arrested in France in the early twentieth century for wearing pants on the street.

        August 10, 2014 at 6:18 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Accepted them.

        August 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm
    • editor

      3LittleShepherds,

      Your post of 7 August, 10.25. illustrates perfectly what is wrong with all the fuss about women wearing trousers.

      You see, at one time, no woman would ever speak of body parts explicitly as you have done. At one time, 3LittleShepherds might have said something like, “I was taught that pagans and worldly people know at least that they have to keep the personal parts of their bodies covered” – something like that without naming the body parts. Modesty (of speech) aids purity (of heart and soul).

      Modesty and purity are what count. Details of what to wear should be left to the individual, as the Church has always done.

      August 8, 2014 at 11:05 am
      • Therese

        Editor

        I’m so glad you made this point! I have often found (and I do stress that I do not refer to 3LittleShepherds) that the new traditionalists go into graphic detail about why they don’t like women wearing trousers, which is why such conversations often become – in my opinion – unwholesome and prurient. I thought I was perhaps being too old-fashioned and “repressed” in my thinking and language. Thank you for underscoring the correct terms that Catholics should use and for helping me to clarify this in my mind.

        August 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm
      • 3littleshepherds

        Editor,
        “You see, at one time, no woman would ever speak of body parts explicitly as you have done.”
        I was quoting from a study by a Catholic priest, I just didn’t think putting quotes around it was necessary. “Breast” is not a vulgar impure term anyway, it’s a clinical term.

        August 10, 2014 at 6:26 pm
  • Athanasius

    Andrew Paterson,

    How quickly that “independent thinking” turned radical, especially in the theologians who masterminded the conciliar reformation!

    August 8, 2014 at 1:09 am
    • Andrew Paterson

      Thanks for your response.
      It certainly did. The old ways are the best. Unfortunately, younger people have no knowledge of the old ways.
      Therese. You have a point. There was certainly a sense of “how far can we go?”

      August 8, 2014 at 7:51 am
  • Therese

    Athanius

    Yes indeed; but the alternative to independent thinking is not blind obedience to the whims and strictures of individual priests. It was not independent thinking that led the laity into accepting the “changes” brought about by VII, but blind obedience.

    August 8, 2014 at 7:22 am
    • editor

      Therese,

      Exactly. It is trying to instil some independent thinking where it is perfectly permissible, that is virtually impossible these days with papolatrists all over the place, screaming “disobedience” and “schism” at every turn.

      So, well said. Nail firmly banged on head!

      August 8, 2014 at 11:07 am
  • Summa

    I prefer that women and men dress with modesty. I also prefer that they stick to the clothes of their sex, unless out of necessity. St Thomas Aquinas makes reference to this. So if a woman was engaged in particular purpose that for necessity meant trousers, then so be it.
    I believe that this is the volition behind the exhortation by some priests for women to wear skirts rather than trousers. I do not believe that it originates otherwise.
    Dress for God.

    August 8, 2014 at 11:43 pm
    • Fidelis

      There was a really good article in Catholic Truth not very long ago where they took you through the history of fashion and showed that there has never been a time when there was such a thing as “men’s” and “women’s” dress. Our Lady and Our Lord both wore long flowing robes and during history the only difference was in the jewellery, belts etc that was worn with the robes. In medieval times the men wore below the knee length tunics and tights. Fashions keep changing which is why the Church doesn’t tell us what we are to wear, just preaches modesty. I don’t understand why people get hung up on this. I wear both trousers and skirts. It’s no big deal.

      August 9, 2014 at 9:38 am
      • Summa

        I suppose fashions have, do and will change, but you can only really say something is ‘x’ when measured against the standard of the day. So when I say I prefer women to wear skirts, it is because I judge that to be the feminine standard in our culture.
        What is for sure, if a lady decided to wear trousers to Mass, I wouldn’t get too bothered about it or to use your phrase ‘hung up’. As long as it was modest, then that is fine.
        And I don’t scan the attire of the congregation. I try and concentrate on the Mass and make sure the weans are behaving. 🙂

        August 9, 2014 at 10:03 am
      • Margaret Mary

        Summa,

        I think that’s a very fair position to hold. Trousers for women is now such a normal part of the culture in the western world that to treat it as abnormal seems really weird to young people. Also, Asian women wearing the trouser suits they wear are very modest. I can’t see any issue at all. Most women today wear both skirts and trousers. I know I do.

        August 9, 2014 at 11:53 am
  • Summa

    Just read this article and well, it made sense to me.

    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/morality/modesty/womanc.htm

    August 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm

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