Catholics and Entertainment Media

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Entertainment Media

Quick Links:  Feature Article: Our Look at EntertainmentPope Benedict Raises Alarm for Evil 

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Adulterers, Murderers, Liars, Perverts, Thieves, Cheats:

Welcome to Our Homes!


Picture this: You and your family are relaxing in your living room and suddenly a foul mouthed adolescent, his father and uncle burst into your home and begin making lewd comments about casual sexual encounters with a semi-nude young woman. Would you be alarmed and quickly rush your young children from the room? Or would you keep watching Two And A Half Men?

Would you invite your children to make friends with an emotionally-stunted middle aged man who dabbles in homosexuality and blasphemy? Or would you keep watching the cartoon show American Dad?

How would you react to finding your family room filled with mutilated bodies of young girls who have been sexually assaulted in ways you could never imagine in your worst nightmares? Wouldn’t you be filled with disgust and rush your family away, hoping against hope that the images didn’t remain with them? Or would you keep watching CSI Miami?

Every time you turn on the television in your home, you run the risk of being inundated with a barrage of media that seductively presents the most morally offensive behaviors as normative for our age. Indeed, it seems that each week another line is crossed and the borders between decency and obscenity are further obliterated. 

Commercials are no better, and are often worse. At least when you watch a television program you have some idea of what’s coming on, what to expect. Not so with commercials, which are designed to seduce in a matter of 15 or 20 seconds. You can pick out those that actively promote unhealthy lifestyles – like this one for Belvedere Vodka which seems to be getting a lot of airplay. (Take a look and try to tally up the multiplicity of unsavory behaviors displayed in the blink of an eye.) Overt sexuality is also inserted into seemingly harmless commercials as well. Pelvic thrusts seem to be almost mandatory. Like in this Kia commercial. Both are “funny.” Both, we think, are little bits your children don’t need to see.

          – continued next column

There is a real danger in your living room – and with televisions now placed throughout the house, it has come into your bedrooms, too.

The assault comes in the form of “family entertainment” – prime time television programming, video games filled with violence, foul language and sexual content. Nearly every American family owns a DVD player and renting movies is now commonplace. Even if you check the ratings, there’s no guarantee that the content won’t go against the grain of the Catholic values you’d like to promote in your home.

I will never forget one particular  evening when my husband and I went to Blockbuster to rent a movie to get our minds off missing our son who had just entered the minor seminary. Not surprisingly, it was difficult to find something that wasn’t crude or offensive. On one of the lower shelves we found one that looked interesting. It was called “Priest.” The case read:

“Father Greg Pilkington arrives in Liverpool parish where hypocrisy reigns among the other priests and the congregation as a whole. In a misguided attempt to improve matters, Father Pilkington visits his parishioners at their homes, only to have them repeatedly reject him.”

What we saw was so completely nauseating it defies description. To make matters worse, the USCCB gave it a rating of A-IV: “limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling” and not the O – morally offensive – that it deserved.

    “We are no longer able to

      hear God. There are too

      many different frequencies   

      filling our ears.”

                       – Pope Benedict XVI

In 1908, Father F.X. Lasance, a well loved Catholic priest and author of many excellent devotional books, advised the readers of “Happiness in Goodness” about the importance of having good books in the home – and the dangers of racy novels. When it was written, 100 years ago, he couldn’t possibly imagine the breadth and depth of the assault on our senses today.

“Oh, it’s just a television show.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re over-reacting.”

If we, as Catholics, are to invite Christ as the unseen Guest into our homes – or if the Blessed Mother were to come for a visit – would you invite either of them to watch television with you?

Junk in. Junk out.

It’s your choice.

Choose well.

Listen to Your (Holy) Father

In his address for World Communications Day, Pope Benedict VI tells us that social communication is the foremost challenge of the Third Millennium. He raises the alarm about media city that we face :appalling possibilities for evil that formerly did not exist.”

Know What You’re Watching

Before You Buy a Ticket or Rent  a DVD Use These Resources

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Movie and video reviews for brief reviews and Catholic ratings for many movies.


While we love and respect our Bishops, we’ve had some problems with their reviews. So have the folks at Catholic World News. Your Excellencies, we know it’s not a modern idea, but please bring back the Legion of Decency!

For Television Programming


The Parents Television Council (PTC) the nation’s most influential advocacy organization protecting children against sex, violence, and profanity in entertainment.

Best of all, the Parents Television Council has links to affiliates, sponsors and the FCC for offending programs so you can make your voice heard.




PTC has an easy tool to end arguments over what to watch and what to avoid (of course the commercial content is always a gamble) Take a look at their ratings for the week or each night. You can print them out as well. We put this page together on Thursday and there was only ONE program that rated a green light!

Take a look at their excellent summaries of the impact of popular media on our culture:

The Alarming Family Hour…

No Place for Children

A content analysis of sex, foul language and violence during network television’s

 Family Hour

Faith in a Box

Entertainment Television and Religion

Video Game Industry Seeks to Buy Influence in Congress

And from John Hopkins Research …

Our Picks for the Best Catholic Entertainment

Action and Drama – Crime and Treachery – Heroism and Sacrifice – Love and Devotion

It’s All Here.

Click on Images to read more or purchase at our partner’s site.


A.D. Picking up where the acclaimed Jesus of Nazareth left off, A.D. vividly recreates the turbulent years following the death of Christ. The earliest experiences of the Christian church after Jesus’ ascension are powerfully dramatized.


A Time for Miracles

St. Elizabeth Seton, America’s first native born saint and a convert to Catholicism overcomes tragic deaths of her young husband and two children, founds the American Sisters of Charity and the first American Catholic schools. A film of unusual strength and beauty.


Miracle of Marcelino – Restored 1955 classic. Our favorite. Impossible to keep a dry eye! Heartwarming film, about a little orphan boy who causes a miracle. Left on the doorstep of a monastery as an infant, Marcelino was raised by the monks. One day he found a special friend in the forbidden attic… hanging on a cross. A friend that would repay Marcelino’s kindness by granting him one heart-felt wish.

King of Kings

Jeffrey Hunter stars in this beautifully filmed life of Christ. Panoramic battle scenes between Roman legions and Judean rebels contrast with the serene faith of Jesus.


Bernadette The life of St. Bernadette, and the eighteen visits of Our Lady, while touring Lourdes and Nevers, France, where Bernadette lived and died. Traditional Marian hymns


Chronicles of Narnia Set (DVD)

Welcome to the world where animals speak, strange creatures roam the land and four children fight an epic battle between good and evil. This marvelous C. S. Lewis classic allegory from the BBC is live action.


Bishop Fulton Sheen Life is Worth Living Set. timeless and powerful messages from his Emmy-winning T.V. series


Bernadette Shot on location, this top quality feature film production of the story of St. Bernadette and the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes.


J. R. R. Tolkien’s Trilogy (DVD) The Hobbit ‘Embark on an epic journey with the hobbit Bilbo Baggins on his memorable sojourn into the enchanted world called Middle Earth in search of the Ring of Power. Fine songs and the outstanding voices of Orson Bean, and Richard Boone


Mary of Nazareth beautiful drama about Our Lady that traces her life as the blessed mother of Jesus, the wife of the humble carpenter, Joseph, and as an inspiring symbol of purity and faith.


The Passion of Bernadette. The sufferings of the little seer following the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes.


Juan Diego True story of the appearance of Our Lady in 1531 to the humble Aztec Indian Juan Diego on the Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. With outstanding animation this film tells of the great miracle Our Lady of Guadalupe performed on the tilma of Juan Diego to convince the Bishop to build a shrine in her honor to help bring the Faith to the Mexican people.


Molokai The amazing story of the Priest who went to work among the lepers, Father Damien.


Miracle Maker With state-of-the-art 3-D clay animation, this outstanding full-length feature film for the whole family makes the life and miracles of Jesus come alive in a new way. Compelling and spiritually rich, this film reveals to the viewer the true meaning of the life of Christ.


Shadowlands The “original” Shadowlands TV drama called “the best film of the year” by the New York Times . It inspired the popular theatrical film of the same name. It put more emphasis on C.S. Lewis’ Christian commitment and his crisis of faith when his wife dies of cancer. Leaves audiences speechless. Staring Claire Bloom and Joss Ackland.

Bernadette Princess of Lourdes It’s February 11, 1858. Three girls from Lourdes, France, gather firewood in front of a grotto. Suddenly one of them, Bernadette Soubirous, 14, drops to the knees, gazes ecstatically at something beautiful only she can see, and starts to pray. Soon the town buzzes: Has Bernadette, poor, sickly, and always behind in school, really seen a Lady from Heaven? The police chief is angry, the pastor busy, and the crowd amused, but Bernadette is calm and brave.


Snow in August ‘Set in Brooklyn against Jackie Robinson’s heroic exploits in 1947, this film tells the tale of a fatherless Catholic boy who is endangered after witnessing a violent crime, and forms an unlikely friendship with a Jewish Rabbi who is a refugee of war.


One Man’s Hero ‘The true story of the St. Patrick Battalion, a group of Irish soldiers enlisted to fight in the Mexican-American War. When they are persecuted for their Catholic faith by the U.S. Army, fellow compatriot Sergeant John Riley leads them in a desperate escape across the border into enemy territory, where they must convince a rebel leader to let them fight against the US to protect their religious beliefs.


Francis Xavier and the Samurai’s Lost Treasure Francis Xavier and The Samurai’s Lost Treasure captures the true spirit of a daring man who braved the pearl coasts and jungles of India, and the forbidding castles of Japan, in amazing adventures of courage and faith. ‘


Tears from Heaven Modern times has witnessed an unprecedented phenomenon of eyewitness accounts of statues and icons weeping tears of water, oil and even blood. This captivating documentary examines these events and gives fascinating commentary from experts on the meaning of this mysterious phonemena which baffles scientists and defies the laws of nature.


Padre Pio: Miracle Man This movie captures the Capuchin friar’s intense faith and devotion, and deep spiritual concern for others, as well as his great compassion for the sick and suffering. It reveals the amazing details and events in Padre Pio’s life as a boy and throughout his 50 years as a friar, dramatizing the frequent attacks of the Devil on him, as well as the persecution he suffered at the hands of people, including those in the church.


The Day the Sun Danced As good as any Disney animation, this film accurately portrays the story of Our Lady’s appearances to the three children in 1917. From the angel’s appearance to the Miracle of the Sun, the full story is so captivatingly presented that young viewers will want to watch it again and again.


Lost Gospels or False Gospels? Christians and many non-Christians have long accepted Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John “the four gospels of the New Testament” as the only reliable accounts of the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. Recent media stories and certain best-selling books have alerted the public to alternative writings about Jesus, leading many people”including many believers”to wonder why we should consider only the four New Testament gospels as gospel truth


Saint Francis Filmed on location in Assisi and other actual locations where St. Francis lived and died, this feature film vividly tells the story of this greatly beloved saint from childhood through his death. Beautifully filmed with outstanding cinematography and fine acting talent, this film stars Italian actor Raoul Bova as Francis and was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Michele Soavi. Captured by the enemy as a soldier and put in prison, he has a life changing experience that inspires him after being freed to abandon his riches and dedicate his life to living the Gospel in simplicity, poverty and charity towards all.



Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ ‘The Academy Award-winning epic is brought to life in this full-length animated film. Charlton Heston reprises his famous role by providing the film narration and the voice of Judah Ben-Hur, a Judean prince who escapes slavery to embark on an adventure of discovery and enlightenment. From a sea battle and chariot race to the dramatic events of Christ’s life and death, this beautiful film is a tale of faith and forgiveness.’


How Jesus Died A compelling documentary that presents comprehensive medical, forensic and historical facts of the suffering and crucifixion of Our Lord. Four renowned experts explore all aspects of the passion and death of Jesus using high-tech graphics, paintings and dramatic re-enactments to bring you a greater appreciation of the love and suffering of our Savior


Saint Patrick The dramatic life of the legendary Irish hero and saint. Kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish raiders, Patrick escapes after six years, only to return to the turbulent country as a missionary to preach the faith. Armed with great courage, convictions and unwavering faith that Christianity could liberate Ireland, we see how his mission altered the course of history

My Secret Friend  This unique film done, with brilliant animation, tells the story of how one girl’s Guardian Angel became very real to her in a time of trouble and danger. With songs, suspense and heartwarming emotion, this story offers an unforgettable lesson about heaven’s special gift to each of us: our very own Angel.

Jesus and the Shroud of Turin This film reveals new evidence to debunk the skeptical modern scientists and shows convincing evidence of the authenticity of the Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. It presents an in-depth study of the Shroud and its incredible history as one of the most celebrated religious artifacts in the world.


Maria Goretti The story of Saint Maria Goretti is retold in this beautifully made new film from Italy. It tells of the plight of the poor laborers of the time, struggling to survive in a swampy area with rampant malaria and extreme poverty. Luigi and Assunta Goretti keep their faith despite the hardship, and instill in their children a deep love for God. Their daughter Maria especially is devout. But tragedy strikes more than once: sickness and death affects the Goretti family, and then their young neighbor Alessandro does the unthinkable-‘


Children, Behold Your Mother

This video is for all who want to help young children come to know and love their heavenly Lord in the company of His Blessed Mother. Fr. Antoine Thomas leads a group of mini-meditations on Jesus and how to respond to Him while praying the Rosary. Beautiful piano music and drawings of Jesus’ life serve as a lovely complement in this video that children will want to watch again and again.’


The Passion of the ChristDefinitive Version This deluxe two-disc DVD of the epic film by Mel Gibson is a great addition to any Catholic’s movie collection. Featuring a behind-the-scenes documentary, another documentary on the life of Christ, deleted scenes, two versions of The Passion, commentary from Gibson and the writers, production art and trailers, historic images of Christ, and much more! ‘


The Miracle of Saint Therese This is the acclaimed dramatic feature film made in France in 1960 that tells the story of the life of Therese of Lisieux from childhood through her death as a Carmelite nun at age 24.

I Was There This animated feature superbly conveys three all-important messages: Our Lord’s amazing, sacrificial love for us; His all-sufficient atonement for our sins; and His Real Presence in the celebration of the Eucharist. Children travel to Calvary and see Jesus on the cross, dying for the sins of the world. A captivating presentation for families and catechetical purposes.

Hell This compelling film uses Scripture, Tradition and some of the most influential voices in Catholic apologetics to discover the truth about authentic Church teaching on this essential, but often misunderstood doctrine. Separating fact from fiction, this broadcast answers crucial questions regarding the existence of Hell, and the impenetrable mystery of what lies beyond.


A new drama on the life of Blessed Sister Faustina, based upon her experiences recorded in her spiritual diary. She received from Our Lord the visions of Divine Mercy early this century. A beautiful, artistic portrayal of her mystical life in high quality cinema.


 Jesus I Trust in You 

In this enlightening DVD presentation, Fr. Calloway shares how St. Faustina embraced a spiritual life based on deep humility, purity of intention, and loving obedience to the will of God in imitation of the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He tells the story of the message of Divine Mercy that she received from our Lord in the 1930s, and how this message of has spread through her writings for the great benefit of souls!


Saint Rita Famous as the patron of hopeless situations, St. Rita of Cascia is immortalized in this wonderful, deeply moving film about this beautiful woman who lived in Italy in the 14th century. Starring Victoria Belvedere and Martin Crewes, this powerful story combines high drama, great love, deep betrayal, senseless tragedy, profound forgiveness and strong faith as it tells the story of this brave and loyal woman who married her knight, helped him overcome his dark past and convert to faith, happily bore him two childern, and later endures immense pain as she loses everything in her life. She finds peace and new hope through generosity of a nearby convent of sisters, and with their help she develops a deep union with Christ that greatly inspires all who near her.


St. John Bosco: Mission to Love Flavio Insinna gives a winning performance as John (Don) Bosco, the great priest and educator of youth from the tough streets of Turin, Italy. Beautifully filmed in Italy, this epic movie dramatizes the many challenges that Don Bosco had to overcome from this childhood through founding his religious order, the Salesians, for helping educate boys. Growing up without a father gave him compassion for the many orphans that he cared for, while he faced persecution from both secular society and the Church as he fought to build a place to house and educate the homeless, outcast youth of Turin. His deep faith, creative imagination and profound charity shine through in this wonderful film.


Saint Anthony

The first major feature length drama on the life of St. Anthony of Padua, one of the most popular saints in Christian history. Made in Italy with top-notch acting talent, and superb cinematography, this is an outstanding film on the inspiring life of St. Anthony. It presents Anthony as a strong and appealing person who sacrificed wealth, popularity and looks for the Kingdom of God. It beautifully portrays the power of his preaching, the holiness of his life, his love for the poor and oppressed, and the wonders of his miracles.

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Christine Hirschfeld

I never intended to run a Catholic antiquities and book business. Not in a million years. As a cradle Catholic, I grew up in a house that was filled with Catholic images and sacramentals not to mention an abundance of excellent books provided by family members who worked in publishing houses famous for their Catholic catalogues. The beautiful images and concepts presented in those books certainly had their effect in enhancing my identity as a Catholic. As the years passed, even in the midst of very un-Catholic settings, I became a repository for my friends’ Catholic “found objects.” Eventually, I had a family of my own. We’re a small family. There are just three of us. And two of us were born with the “junk collecting gene.” Garage sales attracted us like a magnet.
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