As I read the latest comments on The Catholic Messenger’s current EWTN furor, I’m thankful to see less vitriol and more encouragement toward a conciliatory attitude for all concerned.
I’m also struck by certain assumptions about the nature of electronic media and our relationships to those media.
First, may we not watch, listen and read everything we watch, listen or read with Christian eyes, ears, minds and hearts? While I rarely watch EWTN, I am generally drawn to programming that treats faith seriously, whether in overtly Catholic or other contexts. Those shows are as likely to disturb as they are to comfort. They almost always invite me to probe my own heart and life.
I do not suggest that my favorite television shows, radio programs or books are in any way preferable or superior to EWTN’s offerings. I simply point out that other expressions of Christian, and specifically Catholic, faith are present across the network spectrum.
Finally, I question the apparent assumption that media, especially in television’s ubiquitous form, is necessary at all to our faith. I wonder if our attitudes toward television, as well as other media, can easily become idolatrous.
I often find the tendency in my own life of faith to read about God, or otherwise process faith-related information, rather than spend time in direct relationship to God. TV, whether EWTN or other programming, is never a valid substitute for prayer in my experience or in the active pursuit of relationships with those around us. We might all benefit this Lent from less time in front of the TV and more time in active engagement with Christ and each other.