Catholics Media and Culture

Catholics Media and Culture

Quick takes: Real-life angels to protect Tucson mourners; The Catholic Church becomes involved with TV series about exorcism; Ted Williams hits the tabloids; “Kennedys” miniseries nixed

Angels to protect Tucson mourners from Westboro kooks. The anti-gay, anti-Catholic, anti-everybody Westboro Baptist Church wackos are planning to picket the funerals of the victims of the tragic Arizona shooting that killed six and wounded 14 others (including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords). Fortunately, there are real angels out their in the form of area residents who are planning an “angel action” by donning 8-by-10 foot “wings” to shield
mourners from the picketers. Local businesses and residents are reportedly donating the materials
and money to create the “angel wings.” Let’s never forget that there more good people out there than we tend to hear about. Unfortunately, it’s the few nuts who usually garner the media attention. BTW, it should be noted that the Westboro Baptist Church is an independent operation and not affiliated in any way with mainline Baptists.


Discovery Channel and Catholic Church team up for The Exorcist Files. The show will recreate what are said to be be real-life cases of hauntings and demonic possession investigated by the Catholic Church.
IMHO: This show is a bad idea. If the Church is going to become involved in a TV show it should be one that accentuates the many positive aspects of the faith and doesn’t contribute to the stereotype of an institution that promotes fear and superstition. I’m not saying anything directly about the validity of the stories to be featured but talk of devils and possession can be dangerous for unstable minds. There have been way too many news stories about people killing family members they feared were “possessed” to make a Catholic Church-endorsed “reality” series that stokes fear of demonic possession seem like a good idea. The Church would do better, in my view, to use television to promote a positive belief in God and a firm grasp of real-world reality grounded in simple faith, hope, kindness, forgiveness, trust in God’s protection and a love that casts out fear of everything — including devils.


Ted Williams is already tabloid fodder. The homeless man with golden voice who became an internet sensation and MSNBC announcer made the wrong kind of news when an argument with his daughter became a police matter. Let’s hope and pray that this is just a bump in the road toward his continued recovery and healing within his family.   

Kennedy family gets The Kennedys miniseries booted from The History Channel. Who says Catholics have no clout in Hollywood? Of course it helps to be liberal, politically-powerful Catholics. Anyway, don’t blame me. It was reportedly Caroline and Maria (Shriver) who got the show pulled. I’m not part of the clan and don’t have the pull it must take to pull the plug on an expensive eight-part dramatic miniseries. The mega-telefilm is produced by conservative producer Joel Surnow (24). Apparently, a former JFK aide apparently saw the script and deemed it to be “vindictive” and “malicious.” It’s a situation reminiscent of when CBS, under pressure from conservatives, pulled the plug on its controversial TV movie The Reagans in 2003. The movie eventually turned up on CBS’ premium sister Showtime.Though AETN (owner of History) has agreed to allow the producers to shop the film other networks, The Kennedys may have a harder time finding another U.S. cable or broadcast distributor — despite the fact that AETN partners include Disney, NBC Universal and Hearst. It will be interesting to see if it ever makes it to air or goes straight to Netflix. The movie, however, is set to air in Canada on March 6 and in some other countries as well.       

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posted January 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

If you’d left my comment up at least you’d have a comment.

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posted January 13, 2011 at 7:49 am

So let’s try again. You think the RCC should avoid being involved with tv shows that “promote fear and superstition”. And I think, especially now, that’s a good idea for everyone.
But fear and superstition are inherent to the RCC. Fear of Hell is vital to getting a lot of people into those pews. Belief in a god and virgin birth and such are superstition, let’s face it. I know it’s Religiously Incorrect to label a majority religion a “superstition” but in fact it is; it has no firmer foundation than other people’s religions you would happily call superstitions.
I’m barely old enough to remember Bishop Sheen, whom I expect you’d call a positive influence. I suspect my parents watched him out of bemusement. I recall him being entertaining, but not what he said. But behind all that was this superstitious idea of a god saving us from what we “deserve” and what’s more frightening than to be told by those we trust that we deserve to burn in Hell?
And what do you think about that dour old nun on Catholic Cable? I don’t watch her and have Catholic Cable programmed out of my zapper so only in motels do I flash by her, but she looks frightening and I don’t think of her as being very reassuring. Not that I’m biased against dour people or old people or nuns, of course. :)

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