Friday, 19 January 2007

Be Radical: Ditch the Telly

It's probably quite obvious by now that your two blogmeisters are a pair of weirdos. Yes, indeed. What proves it is that between us we do not own a single television. Fr Richard has traded his television in for having a whole cinema to himself. The white painted rectangle on the wall of the sitting room at Mother of Grace house is there because the room has been converted into the "Cinema of Grace", showing new culture films to all who take an interest, using DVD player plus projector. Meanwhile, at Newman House, yours truly has got rid of all the technophernalia which filled my old parish sitting room, and I now have no visual media intrusions.

I see that we're not alone. In the latest (online) version of Good News magazine - the in house journal of Charismatic Renewal in this country - the ubiquitous Kristina Cooper says she has ditched her telly too. Here in summary are her reasons (full version here):

  1. TV has become the faithful friend which airbrushes God out.

  2. Watching TV makes me selfish.

  3. God is not very manifest in western TV culture.

  4. Attachment to comfort - eg TV - gets in the way of getting closer to God.

  5. Giving up TV is a personal challenge.

  6. It makes space for God.

At the moment I'm spending a lot of time at home with my mother, as my sister is very ill and is a cause for concern. Being back in a house with television reminds me what I'm missing. Last night I went channel hopping, only to find 'Big Brother' was watching me. No. I had not been transported to a house full of racist loud-mouthed self-obsessives. But they - and endless commentary on them - had been transported into the living room. How could I escape it? One simple answer...the standby button. I find the fact that so many people spend so much time talking about what happens on the television to such an extent that it governs the way they think, governs the agenda for their conversations, and even takes over what they read in the newspapers, is not only nauseating, but very alarming. It's as though people's lives are so boring that they feel the need to live someone else's life - soap star, reality prog do nothing celebrity, latest X-Idol talent vacuum victim - vicariously to make their own more interesting. And if that were not enough, the media ideologues use this gogglebox to promote whatever 'values' or 'anti-values' they have in season. So, it is now impossible to have a news item on extreme weather conditions without the follow on of an indoctrinating item on climate change. Now, I accept that we our selfishness is causing the climate to change, but I find it disturbing that the 'new orthodoxy' being preached at every available opportunity disturbing. What is worse is when every scientific "advance" in, for example, embryology research is followed by heart-tugging scenes of the people with incurable illnesses who will no longer suffer once the law has been pushed even further into the culture of death. Strange that the thousands of embryonic human lives sacrificed on the altar of embryo stem cell 'harvesting' have produced no significant medical advance, except the inflation of the egos of the high priests of play God science.

Yes, it looks like I'm on a rant again...well if the cap fits... So do the decent thing. Ditch the telly. You'll find so much time for other things. Like creating your own New Evangelisation blog. I wonder how many of the saints would have achieved the establishment of new orders in the Church, the renewal of the Church in every age, and their own personal holiness if they had had television wasting their precious wakeful hours. No? Well it's hardly going to bring about your holiness either.


David Palmer said...


Fr Julian Green said...

David you get the prize for the quickest ever comment - I'd hardly posted my final version of this and your Amen came up.

The changing heathen-Pottyaboutjesus said...

That post was top banana Padre, "latest X-Idol talent vacuum victim" FANTASTIC so true so true so true. I'll join u in the ditch the telly campaign, lets bury them all in the garden! THEIR FULL OF SIN he he
Granny :)

Holy Granny said...

they ooze sin all over the living room floor.

Fr Richard Aladics said...

Bob Dylan said:
"What did the television say?
Well, it growled and it boomed,
and it bounced around the room,
an' it never said nothing at all!"

Fr Tim Finigan said...

Wonderful post, Father. I heartily agree with you. Ditched mine 3 years ago.

John Paul said...

Declined the offer to take one to the seminary!! Ditch the TV's!! Yayness!

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr Julian,

We got rid of our TV about 7 years ago, & found after a year no discernable benefits. We re-introduced it & have never looked back.

We love 'antiques roadshow!' & we're not that old, history & discovery channels.
The older girls are watching Brideshead Revisited & Pride & Prejudice, along with Big Brother!

I happened to watch the incident causing all the trouble. This enabled me to discuss with the older girls the issues of racism etc.

My husband & i like different programmes..Casualty my favourite, & crime programmes his (well he is a Police-officer.)

& what about Anne Widdecombe sorting out The Hoodies last week?

My advice even to large Catholic families & Catholic Priests, is to 'Be Radical; Keep the Telly'

God bless,

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

Lee Gilbert said...

I sat down in front to the TV in 1954 at age 11 and didn't get up until 1973. What a loss! One year it was broken and Mom and Dad didn't have the money to fix it.. We grew much closer as a family. We played board games together. We had long after dinner conversations together. We read books. Then they fixed it and that was the end of that.

So, when our kids were born, we threw it out. It was the single best decsion I ever made as a father. The kids grew up in a prayerful, peaceful, joyful home.

We read the lives of the saints together, the Chronicles of Narnia (and much, much else)and studied catechism together.

Out of their "boredom" came David's triumph over the guitar, Stephanie's artistic prowess, their triumph over their studies. It also saved a LOT of money, since they both got tens of thousands in scholarships. What else was there to do in our home but study? They are now two learned, affable, devout, accomplished young people in their twenties. and my beautiful daughter is showing interest in contemplative life.

Lee Gilbert

Lee Gilbert said...

Once when we were visiting some relatives, the some awful program ws on TV and the father of the family coming into the room said, "We don't watch that kind of program in this house." Behind me, out of his earshot, the second eldest daughter hissed, "I can't wait to get out of this house!"

Incredibly and paradoxically, by issuing the one command, "No TV!" I escaped being a censorious parent. My kids did not constantly hear me saying, "Don't watch this, don't watch that." St. Paul says, "Fathers don't nag your children...." But all throughout the Church fathers *are* nagging their children on this issue, and it is killing us, alienating parents from their children, driving them out of the home and out of the Church. In that good Catholic home, where the kids went to Catholic grade school and high school, Sunday Mass every week, 4 of the 7 left the faith and lived in fornication. The same kind of Catholic upbringing was true in my own parents' home, with 6 of the 8 siblings leaving the faith. TV had EVERYTHING to do with it.

Left out of this account is one death of AIDS, one child by artifical insemination, three lesbians, severe mental illness and hospitalization for two individuals, severe depression and near suicide in three individuals.

Surely I don't lay the blame for all this at the foot of TV? Who could possibly sort out all the causes, but as a never ending stream of anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, demonic propaganda INTO THE HOME TV is unparalleled in history. By its presence it excludes an atmosphere of prayer, the presence of Christ. No, I don't think any of those things would have happened if Jesus Christ and his gospel were not endlessly being contradicted in the bosom of those two otherwise wonderful Catholic families.

In 1949 Pope Pius XII wrote an allocution about TV and Radio in which he cited possible benefits, but as a first principle of discernment he quoted the poet Juvenal, "NOTHING IMPURE IN THE HOME." That slogan is enough to decide the issue in the year 2007. Young couples preparing to marry, new parents at baptisms, parents of young school children should hear it again and again from their priests. Of course, at this point it applies to much more than just TV, but that it applies there is unarguable.

Lee Gilbert

faceman said...

Normally, we only watch movies on TV - we don't even have rabbit ears, much less cable or a dish, so we don't get anything except one fuzzy channel that isn't worth the effort! It's lovely.

We've just had our second baby (Margaret Therese) and I've taken a couple of weeks off. During this time, I've gotten a couple of shows from the library (Dr. Finlay, Brideshead, The Musicman, and some others that aren't as good) and we've spent a good amount of time watching them.

I feel like such a slug! It's just silly, you know, after sitting for an hour or more, knowing that nothing important has been accomplished.

We will continue to watch the occasional movie, but not as frequently as that. And the choices will probably become more refined. The longer we go without TV, the better it gets!

Ben Trovato said...

We have not had a TV for 20 years or more, and have raised our four children in a house without a TV. Our eldest is now sixteen.

I think the benefits are tangible and very positive - not least that the children enjoy movies far more than other kids as they haven't been de-sensitised to the power of drama...

More about this on my blog.

Fr Julian Green said...

Glad to see this has sparked such a debate. Thanks for the contributions for and against.

Anonymous said...

Re TV,

Again just in its favour. My eldest is studying medicine at ork & is considering being a Medical missionary Doctor with Miles Jesu. The next one was just interviewed at Cambridge. The other 6 girls are similarly chaste. The 2 boys serve at the Oratory, with great reverence. Yesterday after attending evening Mass,Tthe little one, asked could we go back later for Benediction..he is 7 years old.The boys naturally want to be Priests, & have altars set up all over the house. they set up their Mass things..& all of the children read spiritual works.
The older girls read the Imitation of christ, works on St Therese the lives of the saints etc.

I run a Catholic women's Book Club, & my husband is saintly in looking after us all.

I was a bit upset re the post on the TV causing depression 7 mental illness...i suffer from both, & i have to say the year without the TV was one of my most depressed.

I think there is a danger of triumphalism..'We don't have a TV' so we must be so holy, & those with a TV must be prone to all sorts of illnesses...i don't agree personally with either stance.

God bless,

Mrs Jackie parkes MJ

Anonymous said...

Meant to say eldest, studying at


Lee, what do your children do at their friends houses when TV is on?

Just out of interest. Also do you think post-natal depression, bi-polar affective disorder & schizophrenia are caused by watching too much TV? Perhaps people with these illnesses could tell their doctors they don't need their meds, just need to stop watching TV. I think the psychiatrists would not be pleased1

I will pray for the poor person who commited suicide. How awful, they must have felt, & the balance of their mind must have been disturbed. Suicide is not a sin, when you read The Cathechism of the Catholic Church, and someone is severely ill.

'There but for the Grace of God...

God bless,

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

Lee Gilbert said...

Well, Jackie, I am of course delighted to hear of the vocations and the holiness in your family, but I rather think that they are despite the telly and not because of it.

For myself as a young man trying to study up in my room, the
siren song of the TV came up, the sound of laughter or excitement and lured me away from my books. Of course, this is my fault, but it was too bad that there was no refuge for me in that house to get away from it- as I wanted to.

After all, even the alcoholic is free to throw away his bottle, but I was not free to live without television since I was a minor, subject to my parents' rule. I love them and honor their memory, but they were gatekeepers who did not keep the gate- though they did so many other things so well. It absolutely killed us.

Of course, my children did see television in their friends' homes, but by forbidding it in my own home I put teeth in my prayers that the Lord would watch over and protect them when they were elsewhere. In other words,I had done everything in my power to do and could reasonably expect the Lord to step in and protect them. Otherwise, such prayers would have been ludicrous.

We also have had two vocations in our house, one to marriage and one to a cloistered contemplative life. Even at that, my son (who will probably get married) tried Opus Dei for ten years before deciding it was not his vocation.

As for triumphalism, why ever not? It was for all of us a magnificent, glorious, fruitful, everlasting triumph. Heaven will be our trophy, because this knockdown drag out interminable struggle was undertaken in response to clear inspirations of the Holy Spirit and with many graces from the Lord. Keeping the TV would have been disobedience, so it is His triumph.

Consider Our Lord's remarks about scandals and millstones.
Which commandment does television programming not transgress? The news is institutionalized worry; the commercials are incitements to covetousness and greed; the bias of the programming is pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, pro-fornication, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian; it is a paganization of the imagination, with myriad bad examples of every sort burned into the memory and imagination of our young people in a DELIBERATE, largely successful effort to seduce them from Judaeo-Christian values and loyalty to Jesus Christ.

A person would have to say that the secular producers are doing an excellent job of inculcating their values, while we are doing a miserable job of protecting ours. And why? Because of the many difficulties and trials of doing without the comforts and distractions of television.

I congratulate you for having raised such a wonderful family in those circumstances, but it is so unusual that it is not really very helpful as an example. After all, one might safely raise toddlers in a house with pit bulls, but it is not the sort of thing that a person would feel comfortable recommending to others.

Lee Gilbert

Anonymous said...

HI Lee,

Will have to agree to disagree. At least you had your own room to work in. My children are 4 to a room, so have little conception of quiet, apart from Mass that is, & family prayer.

My eldest achieved 14 A grades with the radio blaring, & the others are similarly high achieving plugged into i-pods!

Do you see where i'm coming from? Ditching TV won't make your kids clever or more holy...not in my experience..

What about considering Miles Jesu, for your adult chidren &
yourself...? It is an ecclesial family of consecrated life, with married, Priests, & consecrated lay-men & women.

My eldest daughter has met a lovely young man, who is showing a great interest in the Church. she has had what we call 'The Catholic Talk!' & he is fine by that...well she is a gorgeous blonde medical student!Marriage as a catholic doctor might be her vocation..hopefully along the lines of St Gianna molla, wife & mother & doctor. She had initially considered the lay-consecrated life as an MJ Epiphany Medical Missionary. Whatever God wills...

Just some more thoughts...

God bless,

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

Lee Gilbert said...

No, of course ditching the telly will not make our kids more clever or holy. However, it will take numerous distractions and temptations out of their way, which would seem to be one of the main responsibilities of modern parents - to create a culture of vocation rather than of distraction in the Catholic home, which is supposed to be, after all, an ecclesiola- a little church.

Endless temptations to lust, greed, materialism, envy, sloth and etc are as inappropriate in a Catholic home as in a Church. Obviously you and your family were the recipents of an extraordinary grace from God, if you were able to raise a good Catholic family in the midst of the emotional, spiritual and intellectual chaos that the media routinely serves up. It reminds me of the Israelites who wandered forty years in the desert with God directly supplying their food and water. Neither their clothes nor their sandals wore out. This had nothing to do with them. It was strictly the mercy of God. More than that, it was an extraordinary grace from God. It is a bad idea to make decisions on the basis of someone else's extraordinary graces, so it is my fervent hope that that no one follows your example in the naive hope that they will easily have the same result.

For the Church as a whole, the culture of distraction is overwhelming us so that our young people no longer have any interior peace and quiet whatever. How can they hear the voice of the Lord calling them to the priesthood or religious life?

There is no vocations crisis, really. There is only a parenting crisis in the Church- easily solved.

For that matter, have you not noticed, young people ( too many of them) no longer even hear the call to married life? It is otherwise in your family, but look around you. I would be very surprised if among your nieces and nephews and cousins and neighbors you do not see many, many examples of young lives twisted, shattered and eviscerated by modern life, the main exponent of which is "the media" - chiefly TV

BTW, "my" room was also shared with three. Different people have different strengths and weaknesses and different temperaments. Just because this or that person can handle their liquor, for example, does not mean thereby that everyone can safely live in the same house with it. My contention is that media addiction is panndemic in our society and in the Church, and it is killing us.

We cannot do with out our televisions; therefore we should throw them out.

Regarding depression and etc, I lived at my mother's home from age 26 to age 33 totally paralyzed psychologically by I knew not what. Now there is a name for it: depression. For the first half of this time I watched incredible amounts of television to distract me, comfort me, take away the pain.
Then one evening as I was about to settle down to watch a BBC presentation of a Dorothy Sayer's mystery, I had a clear inspiration to go to my room and pray. Essentially I said, "Later, Lord." Again, the same grace, more insistently. "Later." Finally, I said, "Lord, if you want me to go to my room and pray, you're doing to have to turn off the TV." That's how mesmerized and interiorly paralyzed I was. It went off that instant ( it was on the fritz, and about once a month, the video would go off, but for it to go off in that instant was more than coincidental). I went to my room and prayed- in fear and trembling. I understood that television was forbidden me.

This was a very great grace. I am of melancholy temperament in the first place, but now some thirty years later I am about the only one of my siblings not on anti-depressants. I was left to face my depression with no escapes. Over the next three years I made my escape. How? 1) By being prayed over numerous times by fellow Catholic charismatics; 2) By reading up on forgiveness, becoming an expert in it really, and forgiving someone in my life who had done me a great deal of harm; 3) by frequent prayer and reception of the sacraments; and finally, 4) by being exorcised by some Pentecostals. What would the psychiatrists think of *that*? Frankly, I don't much care. If I had relied on psychiatrists and pills, I would still be depressed, but you see, I am NOT, glory be to God!

To you, to parents everywhere, to the Church I can only say, most succinctly, "Escape escapism; pursue the culture of vocation and make war on the culture of distraction." Where is the megaphone with which I can effectively spread this simple message?

(This concept, the culture of distraction vs the culture of vocation is not original with me, but I found it in Avvenire a few years ago.)

I wish you every happiness and blessing, Jackie, on you and your wonderful family-

Lee Gilbert

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee,

That's some story. So glad you were able to escape your depression. I too am melancholic by nature ( as i might add were some of the saints), but mine began after the birth of my 10th child, Jacinta.I had a further breakdown in 2005, & have been diagnosed with bi-polar affective disorder. take it from me, Lee the doctors & medications were sent by God. In my case i don't think TV had anything to do with it, particularly, as despite what i've been saying i don't watch it!
I certainly was prayed over by numerous people & numerous Masses & prayers were offered for my recovery. In the end it was lithium that did the trick. hat doesn't mean that i didn't believe enough, or wasn't following god's will. I think it is a danger in the Charismatic Movement, that prayed over people ditch their tablets, & end up seriously ill. We can be healed in the church, but dramatic cures are not usual.

Finally, Lee i hope you are not offended, but if i heard voices telling me what to do about the TV, i would take some anti-psychotic medicine!

Stay well & lets pray for each other..

God bless,

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee,

Me again..( i do watch up to an hour a week..just to clarify..since i had said i did previously).

Re being prayed over by Pentecostalists...yikes...the psychiatric option sounds safer to me!


It seems we're well & truly off Fr Julian's great topic, so i won't publically continue on this rant. I think we've both made ourselves clear, but if you want to continue personally feel free to e-mail me at

God bless,


Lee Gilbert said...

Why is an indication that I had an inspiration to go to my room and pray characterized by you as "Hearing voices"? This is followed by the implication that I was psychotic. My guess is that people in the Church receive inspirations all the time, to go to Confession, to repent of some sin, to pursue the priesthood, to give to this cause or that. Is all of this psychosis?

Yes, it's a danger to go off one's meds, and a very great blessing never to go on them in the first place, a blessing which should not be surrendered without a fight.

You say we're off topic, but I wonder. Up until very recently the cure of souls was the business of priests. Now, that function has been largely handed off to the psychiatrist or family counselor. That we accept this so readily seems to me a very good indication of how thoroughly we, including our bishops and priests, have been propagandized.

And what is the chief organ of propaganda responsible for this shift of view- and many other shifts of view in every aspect of our lives? It isn't all TV, of course, but certainly it is a powerful, relentless accessory.

One no longer has recourse to St. Stanislaus Kostka and other saints for deliverance from mental and spiritual anguish, but rather to "professionals" often not even of the faith.

How well this is working out in practice can easily be seen in the States where whole dioceses are going bankrupt because of lawsuits brought by people who were abused by priests who had been given a clean bill of health by the psychiatric establishment.

At the first discovered offense they were sent off to some place in the country with a panel of mental health professionals who after some time certified them as healed. They were then sent back to their dioceses where the same cycle repeated itself three or four times. The bishops had so much faith in psychiatry it is almost touching.

You can bet that exorcism never even discussed. Yet look at Our Lord's ministry. Exorcisms and healings right and left. Modernity rules this out altogether and our minds, which are in fact creations of the mass media, recoil at the whole idea of exorcisms. Yet this was the instrument by which Mary Magdalen- out of whom seven devils were cast-became a saint. A theology book I read many years ago indicated that healings and exorcisms were not merely signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God, but *means* by which the Kingdom came. We simply have no notion of this. If that is true, the implication for our time is clear- if we want the Kingdom to come.

Jackie, I in no way intend any of this to be personal. "Who can know his own soul except the spirit of man which is in him?" If lithium brought you relief, wonderful.

My argument is that- on the whole- our fellow Catholics are far quicker to run to the mental health professionals and the pharmacist than to avail themselves of the truly powerful remedies the Church offers, and this because they have been seduced by the endless propaganda and attitudes pouring out of the mass media by the hour. It is safe to say, I think, that by and large we no longer have the mind of Christ when it comes to dealing with psychic anguish. We have the mind of the world. It is a mind easily absorbed by plunking ourselves down in front of the telly and watching hour after hour, day after day, year after year till we no longer are aware of the treasures of grace and healing at our disposal.

What the proper place of psychiatric meds such as lithium may be, I wouldn't venture to say,except perhaps that it seems to me they should be a last resort- as they evidently were in your case. The Catholic faith and its priests have a very complete armamentarium of sacraments, sacramentals, prayers and patron saints which we may one day rediscover of inestimable value in the cure of bodies and souls, once we throw off the worldly, largely useless propaganda in which all our minds have been pickled.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee,

If you break your leg, do you go to your Parish Priest to fix it?

I had a 'broken head' & whilst the Support & prayers of The Oratorians in my case, was invaluable i was never told that i didn't need to see the doctors.

Strangely, after Jacinta was born & i was very ill, my GP came to the house & asked could we pray the Rosary! She is a Catholic convert, so at my bleakest, God sent medical & spiritual help.

I know many anti-medication people who suffer unecessarily for years, putting their families through torments, that could be solved with a pill.

I do remember my spiritual director speaking from the pulpit, about how for many The sacraments & Confession in particular, can aid good mental & spiritual health, which it most definitely does, & possibly tackling causes of depression, such as hurts & resentments, might alleviate depression, & be all that is needed.

I do agree re excorcisms & the like, although my bi-polar affective disorder is hardly likely to be caused by an evil spirit, in the same way, neither would a broken leg.

Recently it crossed my mind, is that what Catholics with mental health problems need is a designated Priest expert, or Chaplain. That's not to say that my own Priests aren't helpful, since they are incredibly so. But it was just a thought of mine.

If i was to discontinue my lithium, & rely on Our Lord, i would probably end up in the local mental hospital. You see it's a bit like that story where the man was waiting to be rescued, & the ship, the helicopter etc were sent but he eventually drowned. If god has sent me a good Catholic doctor, medications, that work it would be foolish to reject them.

For sure you can have inspirations, i often find them in my meditations, & if that's what you are prompted to do, do it.

I find i'm more cautious these days, & tend to check them out with my spiritual director...

Re Depressive illness & other mental illnesses, all i can say, like St Therese 'Lord, i didn't know it was possible to suffer so much'. The depths the human soul can reach are unbelievably deep..i didn't think i would ever recover.

I'm happy to talk about this in the hope it may help someone similarly suffering, because there is a tendency, for the uneducated to say, 'pull yourself together' or 'you musn't be praying enough or in the right way'. So unbelevably hurtful.

Interestingly you sometimes allude to alcoholism. For 20 years we carted my sister, to this healing Mass, that Charismatic Priest, phoned the excorcist Priest in the diocese, went on pilgrimage, moved in with, moved out, begged, prayed a bit more get the picture. Nothing worked till she saw the psychiatrist, got her depression correctly treated, stopped drinking & went to AA. She has been sober 3 years.For sure the 12 steps are a great programme ie surrender to God..i myself have worked them, but any underlying mental illness must also be treated.

Like your analogy to me, my family is 'holy' despite watching TV, i think you are luckky in being depression & meds free..whilst the rest of your family aren't. 'm sure they are not all evil..

God bless,


Anonymous said...

Hi Lee,

Me again. Just wanted to explain how often religion & mental illness collide. By this i mean i know dozens of mentally ill people who get carried away..religiously. For example one friend, thinks he is Jesus when he has delusions. n anti-psychotic stops that so he is back to being Angelo. Others might think they have a 'special' mission to save the world..& might empty their bank accounts & give the money to the poor. I know a lady who gave away thousands. Again anti-psychotic medication restored her good sense.

Then you have those who are psychotically depressed, who think they are like St John of the Cross ( although i must admit a lot of depression is 'like' the dark night of the soul), & that their depression is a spiritual desolation. of course it 'feels' like that, & this is where careful spiritual direction is needed. Is one having a mystical experience or are they just ill?

The close collaboration of ones confessor & psychiatrist, would be helpful in these cases.

It is possible for a depression to disappear of its own accord, & maybe that is what happened to you. It's also possible in mild to moderate depression, to eat & exercise right. But for the severe, disabling chemically unbalanced type medical treatment is life-saving.

I read recently re St Therese that without her great faith in God, suicide would have seemed a sensible option. She of course suffered a great depression towards the end of her life.

Padre Pio, was once prescribed antidepressants...

People with diabetes take insulin, do you think they should go 7 say a few more prayers instead?

My illness is genetically based, with at least 3 previous generations suffering in the same way, & 2 of my daughters so far, taking different stabilisers. if they were your kids would you go & get them prayed over or take them to the GP?

You raise some important issues..& OK perhaps? the americans are too quick to run to the 'shrink', or perhaps we could use the sacraments more...but...the devastation of untreated mental illness is horrible to see.

Catholics must never be made to feel second-class if they have mental illnesses. Rather it is to them that Jesus first comes, as often they are marginalised, discriminated against, homeless, drug or alcohol addicted, & then to top it all they feel because of the judgementalism of the 'so holy & perfect Catholics' that even the Church thinks its their fault!

I'm lucky, i have a supportive family, Church, priests, doctors, faith family, education...etcbut pity those without all this.

I have lots of friends who have come from Kosovo, who are receiving psychiatric treatment. The traumas they have undergone need skilled help. They do go to Mass as well..don't they need to see the doctors either?

Take care Lee,

Keep an open mind!

God bless,

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

Lee Gilbert said...

Institutionalized Worry: The News

{Written in 1981. The news programs went on endlessly
about Sadat, about a possible invasion of Poland,
about interest rates. Johnny Carson was the David
Letterman of his time. Now the Worry is about Iraq, Global Warming, the Burst of the Housing Bubble- where the "news" consists of endless hand wringing, but precious few new facts)

When you come back from a vacation to the North Woods,
your vacation ends when you pick up your first
newspaper. Once again, you have shouldered your
endless, international responsibilities. Your
precise function? To worry. Having satisfied your
curiosity that Russia has not yet invaded Poland, and
that the banks are still open, you can peer anxiously
into the future and wonder about interest rates,
rising crime rates and whether California will fall
into the sea.

When tension rises to its old levels, you can reach
for a beer and put on Monday Night Football. A man
with these responsibilities owes himself some
relaxation. And, of course, having gone through that
kind of day, with your body tensed up and your mind
full of beer commercials, prayer is a bit difficult,
to say the least.

Is there a divine command that we must know what is
going on in the world? Did Marconi come down the
mountain with Moses? Some people talk as if knowing
what is going on in the world is obligatory. It
isn't. It consumes time. It consumes, to a
remarkable degree, emotional energy. If all the time
and energy spent worrying over a possible invasion of
Poland had been spent in prayer before God, Russia
would have repented in dust and ashes about six months
ago. If we didn't have these forms of
institutionalized worry to tense us up, we probably
wouldn't need the soaps, the Eight O'clock movie and
Johnny Carson to help us unwind.

Things that are really newsworthy and of universal
interest we literally cannot avoid knowing, even if we
avoid the mass media completely. Then why waste our
time in front of the TV learning what is going on in
the world instead of kneeling in our rooms *being*
what is going on in the world? If current events is
our thing, then let's change them by prayer, not
contribute our own bit of despair and worry.

I say let others be our unpaid informants. We will
always know what is going on in the world, and it is
remarkable how much news can be reduced to one liners
such as, "Sadat has been killed." That says it all,
doesn't it?

What will happen now? No one except the Lord knows
for sure, but that will not prevent numberless
commentators from spending the God-given hours and
minutes of your life worrying you over what might
happen now in the Middle East. But the Lord says, "Do
not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will have
troubles enough of its own. Sufficient for the day
are the troubles thereof" (Mt. 6:34).

Some people say we can't hide our heads in the sand.
Why can't we? The desert fathers did. They left the
cities of the Middle East by the thousands and tens of
thousands to live in the desert alone with God. They
left the noises of the city so they could hear the
voice of God. Perhaps we too, if we cut off the mass
media, would begin to hear, after a time, the voice of
God speaking to us, consoling, strengthening,
instructing and inspiring us.

Then we could preach from the housetops what we heard
whispered in darkness, and the world would change.
The kingdom of God comes down from heaven into a man,
and into the world through his preaching. It comes
down into a man praying in his room, with the door
closed, in the perfect tranquillity and silence of his
heart. It is a heart cleansed of all temptations to
worry and interior noise. He minds the things that are
above and not the things that are below, and so
fulfills a divine command. He pleases God.

On the whole the world is an orderly and beautiful
place. It is the nature of news organizations to
report exceptions to this order, and even to seek them
out. It is a nightly meditation on disorder,
violence, confrontation, murder, war, mishap and
mayhem. But the Lord says, "Whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things
are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
things lovely, whatsoever things are of good report,
think on these things" (Philippians 4:8). *That* is
the divine command, and it is not the function of news
departments to help us fulfill it.

There is no need to allow ourselves to be worried and
to have our faith undermined every blessed day of our
lives, especially since this cuts sharply into our
prayer lives. If we give ourselves to prayer and
trust in God to inform us about developments we need
to know about, we may be sure that He will do that.
"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice… Have
no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God.
And may the peace of God which surpasses all
understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ
Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7).

Anonymous said...

Amen to that!


Susan a member of L`Arche said...

Mum died a few years back. The last few days she was in hospital. What I noticed was that many people were dying alone while the telly played Law and Order or CSI or other such programmes.

When we knew that mum was dying the first thing I did was turn off the telly. Then we prayed the psalms together that we had memorised as children.

Mum didn`t want to die. I read the gospel of Jesus in the garden. Immediately mum relaxed.

In the final 36 hours or so I sang all the songs we had sung together as children. In between we would pray a psalm. I would review tha names of mum`s children, their families, the grandchildren and great grandchildren, where they were and what they were doing. And sometimes I reviewed all of the kinds of work mum had done, the gift her life had been to so many over her 82 years. And then we would sit together in silence.

Mum died very peacefully.

I am now bedridden myself and spend my days alone with my helper dog Thor praying the rosary, the divine office and assisting at the internet mass. The presence of these prayer resources on the internet helps me immensely. Sometimes I watch a DVD. Recently I have seen Into Great Silence (which always centers me in prayer), A Man for All Seasons (St Thomas Moore), Becket (St Thomas a Becket) and The Song of Bernadette. These DVD`s do inspire me. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Though I am bedridden and can do nothing about it there is, I believe a whole ministry to be in Nursing homes and hospitals and turn off the TV while a person is dying and to accompany each dying person in their final hours with tenderness and prayer, helping the person prepare to offer their life to Jesus.

Wouldn`t this ministry be a lot like that of the Missionary`s of Charity of Mother Theresa»

It would be a ministry to the poorest of the poor in North America. When a person is dying alone and abandoned in Nursing Homes to turn off the TV and be with the person in prayer letting the persons need and desire to be with G-d lead us in ministreing to each person. What an incredible harvest for the kingdom of G-d! And a ministry other retired seniors, young people and even children and disabled people could do: Once a priest has been notified to celebrate the sacrament of healing and it appears that the person will die alone without family a volunteer could go and spend the last hours of dying person`s life being together, praying and assisting the person`s last journey on earth into the heart of G-d.

Once I was able to be there for a woman dying with AIDs in a hospice. No one even knew her name. We spent the last week of her life together. I had once learned Russian and it seemed to me that her own language may have been Ukrainian. I asked a friend of mine from a Ukrainian family to come one day and speak with her and sing some Ukrainian songs. She knew we were with her.

So many souls in North America die alone to TV crime shows. How can we as church help each one to journey home into the heart of G-d.