Monday, January 17, 2011

Louisiana Catholic Priest Declares War Against Cable News

I have followed always good Father Humphries for some time. He is a Priest from the Diocese of Alexandria Louisiana in the charming area of Campti. On his blog he get gives a plea to his parish.

Here is the part I want to focus on (The Bolding is mine)

As most of you know, six people were killed over the last weekend when a obsessed man opened fire at a political rally. A child was killed. A Catholic federal judge - who was a Knight of Columbus - was killed. The politician who was the target of the event survived, but only barely.

In the wake of all of this - rather than somberly pray for the dead or consider our own mortality… Rather than console the grieving or bemoan the other senseless violence which takes place in our world - like abortion, slavery, war, poverty, etc…

Rather than behave like human beings - many of us have taken the opportunity to climb up on our tiny soapboxes and blame everyone from the janitor to the president. People have blames conservative and liberal politicians; they’ve blamed the news media (who are far from innocent); they’ve blamed the victim herself…

What has been lost is the humanity of the situation. This is a tragedy of human life that has been used as an opportunity for personal or political gain. What we have here is a basic lack of human decency. And since we can’t stop the world from being what it has become, let us rather focus on what we can effect - ourselves and our families.

This incident should be proof enough for us that 24 hour news stations have NO PLACE WHATSOEVER in our homes. None of them - none of them! - are worth watching. Surely some are more fair and honest than others. Surely some provide more excellent news than others. But all of them have one clear motive - to make money. The more Americans are angry at the government and one another, the more they will watch. The more Americans feel like a conspiracy has been hatched against them, the more they will watch.

At the end of the day, there is nothing on these stations that is going to effect our lives that we aren’t going to get from the local newspaper.

Lent is coming up in early March and maybe we need a campaign here in Campti - maybe we need to see if we could all survive without turning on the TV for an entire week…

In 1917, Our Lady of Fatima told the three children that Satan would eventually find a way to get a black box into every home that would lead the people away from the Lord… Whether She was speaking of the TV or not, a little quiet may do us all well.

It’s time that we reclaim our humanity. It’s time that we reclaim our civility and our southern manners and stop welcoming unwanted and undesirable guests into our homes. It’s time to say farewell to MSNBC, CNN, ABCNews and FOXNews. It’s time to shut off their anger and their bickering and live the lives that are before us. It’s time for us to draw near to our Lord who will reveal to us whatever we need to know!

I can't get into Father's mind ,but I have followed enough to think he is purposely being a tad dramatic for effect here to make an important point. Let's face to turn off Cable news means we must turn off TON of social media that reflects it. I am pretty confident that Father is not saying to get off twitter forever .

Nor is he really saying that Gannett (who owns the two main Local papers in his area) should be the sole bearer of news to his community.

Maybe he is but I doubt it.

He is though making important points about what the cable news is doing to some degree. But I do think his ultimate point is about making space for quiet and reflection. That is getting harder to harder to get as we are all tuned in 24 /7. The Iphone and Ipad has now made the revolution complete. All this makes it very hard to listen to the Lord.

I am one of the worst sinners in this regard by the way. Which is one reason why I need to make yet another concerted effort to make the Liturgy of the Hours a part of daily life and not just for certain seasons of the Church. Of course taking out time for prayer is just a start. It is not so easy to turn off the clutter like a light switch. I think this is what Father is getting at.

Though it might be controversial to say this , Cable TV news does create an alternative reality that might not mirror real life.

As tragic as the events were this week,I am not sure the Country saw it as a huge crisis. They felt horrible but they seemed to have the common sense on the whole not to bite on the poison. They went on talking College and Pro Football, entertainment, and doing stuff with family. Yet if your house is truly 24/7 days a week cable news you might think otherwise.

I think what Father is talking here is a needed balance. Though Lent seems a little later than usual this year it will be here before you know it. So perhaps we should all heed Father's advice a tad.

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