No matter what I’m watching, reading, or listening to, I have always enjoyed applying my own values and experiences to the situation in the story. Ever since joining the Catholic Church, I have to admit, the way I watch TV has completely changed. I can’t even begin to count how many times conversations about our faith have been started based on something that happened on TV. If anything, it has caused me to dig deeper into the Catholic faith and learn more. So, It’s time to break out your Bible, Catechism, and look up some Pope Quotes. Let’s see how Catholic teaching effects what we watch.
Everybody Loves Raymond
Season 2 Episode 23: “The Garage Sale”
I’ll start with one of TV’s most well known Catholic families. Are they good Catholics? Probably not up to me. The Barones are having a garage sale, and Ray gets upset when he finds out that his wife is selling all their baby stuff. This is one of my favorite episodes, and here’s why: it’s is nice to see a male character say he wants more children. Usually, it’s the wife that wants more kids, much to the husband’s chagrin. But here, Raymond wants to stay open, and that makes me happy.
Season 3 Episode 6: “Halloween Candy”
Why would I suggest this episode when it involves a Catholic family that is using condoms? Because it’s hysterical, that’s why. This is what happens when you use condoms instead of NFP. Your dad mistakes your condoms for candy on Halloween and gives them out to the neighborhood kids. Super awkward.
Season 6 Episode 7: “The Couch”
This is the first time I can remember abortion coming up on TV. Elaine lets Jerry know that she does not support businesses that are pro-life. In fact, she refers to pro-lifers as “fanatical.” The best part of the show is when Jerry tells Elaine to confront a restaurant owner about his stance on abortion. Next thing you know, people are cheering on the owner while some are storming out. Give it a watch. See what you think.
Season 4 Episode 3: “Snip”
Phil and Claire are jealous of their childless friends because they are able to travel and live their lives as they please. So, they decide a vasectomy is the way to go so they can start enjoying their life without kids ASAP. When Phil goes in to his appointment and starts to freak out a little (I think I would too, for many reasons). Either way, by the end of the show they decide they love their family and this is their life. Maybe more kids wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Season 6 Episode 6: “Secrets And Flies”
When a woman is murdered, the investigation leads them to a group called Project Sunflower. Project Sunflower is a “pro-life” organization which finds available surrogate mothers for abandoned frozen embryos. There’s a very interesting conversation between the detective and the woman running the Sunflower organization. Also, feel free to look up the Church’s teaching on in vitro fertilization and what to do with the embryos (specifically the documents Donum Vitae and Dignitas Personae).
Season 6 Episode 2: “My Best Friend’s Baby’s Baby and My Baby’s Baby”
One couple is about to have their first child, while another couple is trying to figure what to do about their unplanned pregnancy. The tone of the episode seems to treat abortion as if it is no big deal. It’s not offensive, but a little uncomfortable. Jesus makes an awesome cameo letting them know that abortion is not an option. By the end, they decide to keep the baby based on the joy of their friends becoming new parents.
16 And Pregnant
“No Easy Decision” Special with Dr. Drew
I hated watching this. I felt terrible for the teen mom that had chosen to have an abortion. The most annoying part is that her boyfriend is sitting there wearing a Rosary like it’s a fashion accessory. Then, while the girl is expressing real emotion and sorrow for her decision, Dr. Drew starts telling her how she is supposed to feel and that she did the right thing. I would suggest watching this just so we know what we in the pro-life movement are up against.
Season 6 Episode 4: “The Tyrant”
So there you are. You have a tyrannical dictator that has unjustly killed people, and you are in charge of his health. Later, you find out that he has plans to kill more people in the name of “ethnic cleansing.” Is it up to you to kill him or let him die based on what he may or may not do in the future? Can you justify this homicide to potentially save the lives of countless innocent people? HMMMMM…
Season 3 Episode 11: “Angel of Death”
I loved watching this show. They hit on every issue imaginable. Unfortunately the writers always seemed to be on the opposite side of what I believe as a Catholic. That doesn’t mean the show wasn’t entertaining, though. The main character, Alan is brought to New Orleans to defend a doctor that euthanized 5 patients that would have suffered and died “horrible deaths” during hurricane Katrina if she had allowed them to live. Should that ever be up to us? This show is masterful at putting together arguments that make you rethink things a little.
The Walking Dead
Season 2 Episodes 6&7: “Secrets” & “Pretty Much Already Dead”
In my opinion, everyone that has any kind of interest in any type of “life” issues should be watching this show. Believe it or not, the zombie genre might be the greatest of all because there is no theme or subject that can’t be presented in the zombie universe. I recommend watching the entire series from the beginning, but if not, these two episodes together are pretty important as far as respect life issues are concerned. Yes, I know it’s fictional and a tad gory, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. These two episodes deal with abortion, infidelity, and that age-old question…are zombies really dead or are they just sick? This is jaw dropping stuff that will get you thinking. Literally. Jaws fall off.
“It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized. Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of the most precious and essential goods of society, such as democracy and peace.”
-Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae (1995), no. 101