“Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.”
This made me think of the old form of the Act of Contrition, which concludes with the words: “… and I firmly resolve, by the help of Thy Grace, never to offend Thee again, and carefully to avoid the occasion of sin.”
One of the benefits of an old-style Catholic education was that our lessons on the subject of sin included a very practical stress on the necessity of keeping away from occasions of sin. We were – or should have been – quite clear in our minds that this meant not only things or situations, but also people who put us into an avoidable state of temptation toward any kind of sin.
We were specifically warned about being in “bad company”. We were reminded that steering clear of it – and even more, breaking away from such “friends”, would sometimes require courage, and the acceptance of the risk, and very often the reality, of ridicule.
“Bad company” comes in bucketloads from television, from many programmes and perhaps especially from soap operas. The boundary of acceptability in all spheres of morality is pushed back and back by many elements within modern society; and surely not least among these elements are the insidiously corrupting “friends” who arrive in millions of homes every day.
Do Catholic schools continue to educate their pupils on this subject? Do parents know of its importance? How alert are our priests to the dangers, and to their own opportunities?
So many of the victims of this poison do not attend church. I know priests are somewhat constrained to stick to the themes of the Scriptural readings for the day, but if they try I'm sure they could insert a few nuggets of gold into their homilies. It would be wonderful if they could talk to their congregations about it from the pulpit, not necessarily as people needing such guidance themselves, but to encourage them to spread this sound teaching among their families and friends when suitable opportunities arise.